Tossing ‘stuff’ – even junk mail – is tough for pack rats

Published 2:59 am Saturday, January 12, 2019

I admit it. I am a hopeless pack rat. During the past month, I have spent time in my recliner recuperating from an illness. There is a tall stack of newspapers, several magazines, unopened junk mail, and loose paper on the end table next to the recliner. It seems to me that stuff on the end table multiplied right under my eyes every day.

I am overwhelmed with paper. It carries over various places in the house. Sometimes it even comes to rest on a kitchen cabinet. It moves on to my office where it spills over from the desk by my computer onto a little rolling table. Then it edges its way upward right beside the computer. The wastebasket groans from its paper load.

When I sit down at my computer to write, I need to shuffle several loads. I try to ignore that when I type, newspapers, several books, sheets of paper and assorted junk mail attempt to close in on me.

I have read tips on how to avoid such a dilemma. No matter. I still always lose the battle.

If junk mail turns up in your mailbox, you can be sure there is an envelope with details on how to win a sweepstakes. Upon looking over one particular stack, two of those appeared. That pile proved so frustrating, I closed my eyes and dropped the whole bunch in the wastebasket, only to find that everything tumbled to the floor. The wastebasket was already jammed full. People who spend time tearing out little squares and pasting them in designated spots to return to the sweepstakes company would be horrified to take such a risk.

I wish I was as brave in handling newspapers that come to my door. I could never trash one without at least scanning it. More than likely it has some news I need to know. It does not matter how old it is. If a yellowing one shows up, it gets equal attention.

Goodness, that other junk mail! It is addressed to me, so I cannot let it go unattended. There might be something I need to order. More than likely though, most of those envelopes contain requests for donations. They waste their money sending me address labels, various stickers, greeting cards and note pads. Some send more extravagant gifts, offered I suppose, to make me feel guilty if I do not contribute. I toss a lot of that kind of mail into a bunch to look at later. These, of course, are always in the piles that seem to reproduce daily.

It is the same with books. It starts with just a couple on a bedside table. Given a week, almost a dozen has built a stack.

So you see, I must stay ever on guard. If I am not vigilant, I will be overcome with books and papers and smothered by ink. Pardon me while I tackle that end table so I can make my way back to my recliner.

Nina Keenam is a former newspaper reporter.