To keep or not to keep, that is the question. 

Everyone I know says they have too much stuff. Our personal possessions can multiply to the point they own us, we don’t own them. Then we must take control and make room so we can have space to breathe again.

It must be the time for it, because I noticed that the Christmas decoration aisles in some stores now hold plastic storage boxes. It is on everyone’s mind after receiving more stuff at Christmas. Now room must be made for all of that, and so other things have to go.

For some people, it is easier to let go of it than others. We Baby Boomers had parents who suffered through the Depression. They hung on to things since they knew what it was to do without. Even if they got something new, they kept the old in case it might be needed later. From paper bags to old socks, they saved it all.  

Some of us have inherited this inclination to hang onto stuff. Why else are my closets and cabinets bulging with clothes, shoes, unused kitchen implements, etc., etc. It is like pulling teeth for me to throw away anything.  Some of my excuses are, “It is still good; I might use it; I might need it,” and so on. Well, if I haven’t used it in years, am I ever going to? And is it worth the space it is taking up? 

I did some research on this pack-rat phenomenon. One article from the HuffPost website says that if you haven’t used an article in one year, then get rid of it. Wonder what they would say about some of my 20 year old T-shirts?

They say to do what they call, “The Trash Bag Tango.” You take two trash bags and walk around your home and put things to donate in one bag and things to throw away in the other. They say to do this every day for a while and you will notice a difference. Don’t know if this would work for me. You have to be willing to put stuff in the bags.

Of course, most of you have heard of the “hanger” trick for your clothes. You place all the hangers facing the wrong way (back to front) and then as you wear an article of clothing, you put the hanger facing the correct way. After several months, you are able to see what you wear the most, and those are what you keep.  I don’t know if it works; I have never tried it. You see, my clothes are crammed in so tightly, I don’t have room to put the hanger in a different way. 

This time I resolve to do it right. I will keep only my favorite clothes and get rid of all the old, tired outfits that haven’t seen the light of day in forever. I will throw out old underwear and ancient towels and sheets.  Cooking utensils that have hibernated on my shelves a long time now will be rooted out. 

You think? Well the urge to purge is there, but how far that will go is yet to be seen. Wish me luck.


A former longtime Baytown resident, now lives in Mont Belvieu. Contact her at, Attention: Ginger Stripling.

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