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yogurt cups
broken belts and ceiling fans
jars with nice lids
and flower pots stacked higher than a man

old tires, extra insulation
a marble slab and splintered chairs

dusty, dirty, beyond repair

Is this easily replaced if I need it later? 

Growing up, we always had boxes, bags, and piles of stuff that other people would have thrown away. Stashed in the garage, basement, and closets, they were there as a safeguard against wanting and not having. They were a testament to thriftiness, a repository of what-ifs, a tumbled, jangled, jungle of possibility.

They were never used.

Decades later, after my parents’ divorce and as my mother prepared to downsize from my childhood home, we helped her to release the remnants of my father’s hoarding. 

Harder to heave out of my life is the well learned lesson of scarcity. The voice that whispers “I might need this,” “I’ll regret getting rid of this,” and, more insidiously, “the future is an uncertain and scary place.”

The truth of it, though, is that we live surrounded by abundance. In a historical context, we are all richer in material goods than our ancestors could have dreamed. The second-hand market is a river of goods flowing past, all we have to do is dip our hands in, toss it some dollars, and we can replace pretty much anything. And if it’s not available second hand? It can probably be bought new.

This question is for the blenders, the 5 sets of dishes, the books you used to read, the extra this and that and those other things. If it can be easily replaced and you’re not using it, let it go. If you need it again in the future, it will be there waiting.