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05.03.2004

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cull, baby, cull: kitchen edition
by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2 3 4

If you're a die-hard packrat, you're probably plugging your ears with your fingers and singing tra-la-la right now. The mere mention of the word cull gets your heart racing in fear, as your mind starts spinning out rationalizations in an automatic defense mechanism to protect your precious voluminous stuff.

But quit worrying. Really. I'm not going to tell you to pitch your beloved collection of tiki mugs or vintage cookbooks or Wolverine action figures because hey, I'm not going to part with mine either. The weird little things that no one but you loves are exactly what make your space distinctly, wonderfully yours -- and if they take up space, so be it. In my own stuff-packed home, I figure that's space well spent, even if it means my pad never quite looks as pristinely perfect as the minimalist pads I drool over in decorating magazines.

But let's face it: there's the good kind of useless stuff, the stuff that makes us smile and laugh and bask in the glow of nostalgia, and then there's the kind that serves no other function than to take up space. The sort of stuff that's just there because we've forgotten it exists (as it turned out to be useless), or because it was a present (that we didn't like), or because we're just plain incapable of making a decision regarding what else to do with it, now that stuff's just junk. And the longer you put off doing something about it, the more junk you'll have, until one day in the not-too-distant future, you're one of those scary people who has to dig out a path to the door each morning because your pad is overflowing with mountains of stuff that you can't even remember acquiring in the first place. Don't be that guy: get a handle on your junk now.

In theory, culling should be easy. You toss the useless, the broken, the dated, the hopelessly hideous, and keep the rest. You make this a seasonal process if you're really on top of things, a yearly one more likely; at the very least, you perform the process each time you make the move to a new set of digs. But if weeding's such a cinch, why are so many of us still cramming our closets full to the point where opening them becomes a genuine safety hazard?

keep on skedaddling

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