Heorot Johnsons II is in need of a strong purging and I’m not talking about the bones and ashes of countless feasts (which no one seems to bother cleaning up) but the junk. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections are hoarders; they don’t throw out anything. When Heorot Johnsons I burned down, it took with it all things accumulated from The Time of Legends. I thought this fresh start would see the end of their pack-rat activities but HJ II filled up quickly with all sorts of rubbish gathered on raids and garage sales. When I ask why they bother to keep rusty suits of armor and charge cords from discarded cellphones, they shrug and say they are holding onto everything ‘just in case’. Oh the pain.

“Just in case” is the bugbear at the bottom everyone’s stuff. This weekend, while rummaging around drawers looking for scissors, I came across several touch-tone phones, books we will never read again, countless VHS tapes etc. All of it I had forgotten about, which tells me something. In our closets are items of clothing neither one of us will wear. Why do we bother holding onto this? “Just in case we need it” of course. The likelihood of needing again a green landline touchtone phone or a Sony Walkman is slim at best. I say out with it, out with it all. If an item is neither necessary nor cherished, than it is what we call in classic Freudian psychoanalytical terms junk.

When I have a patient dealing with OCD or hoarding problems, I tell them about the ’20/20′ rule.* If the hoarded item can be replaced for less than twenty dollars or it can be bought by driving less than twenty miles, then out it goes. It turns out somebody made a study of this, and the number of times one actually has to replace a thrown-out item is (wait for it) 5x every twenty years.

More ticklish and challenging are the items considered ‘sentimental”. It is not the item itself but the memory that is important. Take a picture of everything, put it in an album, and get rid of the actual items. Keep the ones that are vital but you can discard your grown children’s kindergarten artwork.

Other than when the mead-hall burns down around you, the only time you are really forced to take a hard look at your possessions is during a move. Anyone who has ever moved knows it is better to clear out the crap now rather than box it and move it with you. Why not do this now? I wish my parents had done so. Dealing with all their things after Mother died was a long pain-in-the-butt endeavor. Brother #3 still has boxes of Mother’s knick-knacks and dishes in his basement no one wants.

I’ve decided 2022 is the year of ‘The Great Purge’ here at La Casa de Spo. I’ve started bringing things to Goodwill or throwing things out. Craig’s list can get some things to people who may actually want things like old VHS tapes. I won’t go so far as burning down the house, tempting as it is at times. I will start with little things like that fat folder of take-away menus** and work myself up to Grandmother’s Hammond organ which hasn’t been played in over twenty years as it does not work. This is going to feel good.

*This isn’t so much a ‘rule’ as a guideline; the 20 number varies depending on the patient.

**All restaurants have their menus online now. Try to tell as many people as you can in town.