I haven’t done one of these in a long while, so I thought I would give it a go…….

What makes these curious things about the house noteworthy isn’t their peculiarity or rarity but why on earth are they here? The answer is simple: I keep thinking they are going to be useful someday and to throw out things rankles my Midwest upbringing to hold onto perfectly good things. Mind! I am doing on my daily throw something out quest. I am doing very well with this thank you very much. I’ve managed to get rid of the ‘useless objects” but the ‘useful objects’ remain and these can be ticklish. Let’s look at some of them shall we; hopefully you will be amused.

Paper napkins. Every time I order ‘to-go’ items they come with enough paper napkins to wipe the faces of a large family. I use maybe one or two, and the other 5-10 napkins I put in away for later use. As a consequence, one cannot open a drawer or glove compartment or a briefcase without finding 2-3 inches-thick wads of brown or white paper napkins. They are like tribbles minus their charms, and like tribbles they keep coming. Once in a while there is a spill and they come in handy, but this doesn’t happen very often so I have enough paper to mop up a major meltdown. I probably should gather them all up in a wheelbarrow and toss them out. It’s not that I will miss them; more are coming in all the time.

Kitchen gadgets. I like the Kundo-concept of keeping things around if they are practical or lovely.* This doesn’t easily work for the contents of kitchen drawers which are full up with gadgets. Often they are in good shape, having not been used much – or at all. Sometimes I don’t know how they got there. The pineapple corer, the potato scrub brush (its handle in the form of a potato), the shrimp deveiner (looking slightly scurrilous) ought to be packed up to Goodwill or some place like it. Someone points out they are doing no harm being there so why discard them? They could be handy some day – and this is coming from a man allergic to shrimp! No harm I suppose other than the sight of several sets of unused martini olive skewers causes psychological harm to see them. Oh the horror.

Garden tools. When we moved from Michigan to Arizona I could not abide the thought of leaving behind all my garden tools even thought I intuitively knew they weren’t going to be useful in the desert. For twenty years they have sat in the garage, waiting for Godot or someone like him. This includes plastic tomato tents and other frost-protecting devices to allow gardens to grow earlier than the last frost. I suppose I hold onto them on the long shot of living to retirement and moving away from Zone 10 to Zone 5 (or someplace like it) and they can be useful again. The cost of schlepping them probably is more than just buying new things as needed. I managed to let go of the snow shovel a few years ago, although I’ve kept the wind-shield ice scraper and the pea cage (which no one in their right mind would try to grow here).

Knickknacks. The majority of useless things about the house fall into the common category of ‘knickknacks’. This vague but menacing category consists of things that aren’t rubbish nor broken but sort of there – sometimes for so long no one remembers how they got there in the first place. They are sometimes remembered as souvenirs from long ago trips or gifts from people so out of touch you wonder what happened to them. Like the pineapple corer, these don’t do any harm other than clutter up the counters and make the task of dusting more difficult. It feels wrong to throw them out yet I don’t see anyone buying them at Goodwill either.** They stay up out of habit and custom and probably will do so until I die and someone gets rid of them as they have no sentimental value then.

Oh to be living in Chicago! Then, anything put into the alley by the rubbish bin was quickly taken up by someone and Bob’s your uncle. I often wondered what the pickers did with it all but I was grateful they did and all power to them to sell them off.

I think I will start with the paper napkins. These at can go into the paper recycling bins as work. I think this counts as paper, yes?

So, what curious useless things are squatting in your maison nowadays?

*Spouses are exception.

**No harm trying. I could box them up and surreptitiously drop them off on Mr. Goodwill’s doorstep late at night. They probably have video cameras for such shenanigans too.