Currently I am in the process of shifting to a new house, only difference is that this one is not rented but my own house. Therefore I am clearing out household junk accumulated over the last 40 years or so. The circumstances were such that we either lived in government accommodation or rented houses of various sizes and shapes. There were a total of 31 house shifts (some in the same station and others from one place to another) so far in my life and due to the peculiarity of a each house, different type of furnishings and furniture was required. Added to it, the Indian syndrome of “Love with old things” the household baggage kept on increasing from merely 4 boxes to over 70 packages. Since I was now shifting to my own house, it was high time that I cleared the junk and kept the essential stuff; hopefully this should be my last shift before I hang my boots from the planet Earth.
I have been able to get rid of vast junk after a consistent hard work of last one month, thereby reducing my possessions to merely 15 packages; this should be enough for two of us. The entire exercise was back-breaking one and also involved disposal of items by various means like simply giving away to needy, selling to garbage collectors कबाड़ी , garage sale, burning of old files and papers and so on. The vast dump of household stuff got collected over a period of years due to the fact that I did not have enough time to resort to regular disposal of unwanted things coupled with very short notice on transfers. The following were the constituents of my “Prized Treasure”.
A. Many boxes full of school books of my Children who now have their own grown up school going kids. My own old files and professional study material which had to be burnt due to security reason (that itself was a big exercise and an interesting tale as some suitable place had to be found for this operation without creating a fire hazard and causing curiosity to people who may happen to watch).
B. Old clothes of self and wife ranging from 30 year’s vintage till recent which would not fit us. Clothes of our children of various ages. Most of these were given in charity and some were just thrown in the garbage dump.
C. A box full of old and expired medicines, their disposal was a big problem.
D. Vintage music systems, audio cassettes and players, old telephone sets, outdated electronic devices; there were hardly any takers for these devices.
E. Many old mementos, as one keeps getting them at various points of life and career e.g on every transfer, sports competition, life events like birthday, anniversaries etc. One is in dilemma to decide which one to retain and which one to discard (due to emotional value) and how to dispose off as most have the name inscribed on it.
G. The packages in the form of huge wooden boxes disposal of which becomes an issue.
H. Large number of flower pots many of which are damaged and cracked. Had to be given away to any one who wanted.
I. Vintage type of kitchen ware and utensils like traditional brass and copper ware (some given by my ancestors and hardly of any utility) fortunately some of these could be still sold in pawn shops in India.
J. Old curtains of previous houses occupied as all were of assorted sizes due to the different size and shape of windows and doors. None of these would fit my new home due to type of doors and windows.
K. Old furniture which was worn out and would not in any case mesh with the layout of the new house.
L. Paintings and photographs, a big issue as many were of old style and would not look nice at new place. Discarding is also difficult due to emotional value.
M. Air Conditioners and Old electrical appliances, The configuration and provision at the new house (Only Split and no windows) rendered my most of the possessions useless and disposal at throwaway price was the answer.
N. Heap of old shoes, some still in good shape. Wife would not let go any with good high heals.
I could go on and on with the list, so I would try to conclude it by saying that regular junk disposal is a must for every household as one should not postpone this exercise to a later on time. I realized it now that I am retired and have no help available. Earlier during my Military service, one had the luxury of having some Helpers who were simply told to pack up for a transfer/posting . These guys would never sort out ‘Wheat from the Chaff’ and packed up everything and thus it kept on increasing my household inventory. I now wish to make myself light and therefore this arduous exercise had to be undertaken. Philosophically one should be as light as possible so that only essentials and a few memories should be left as one’s legacy as famous Indian poet Mirza Galib puts it.
“चंद तस्वीरें बुतां, चंद हसीनों के खुतूत ,
बाद मरने के मेरे घर से यह सामान निकला .”
” Some memorable photographs of lovable people and some letters,
that is all which was found in my house on my departure.”
Have a nice Sunday,