With the support of my beautiful bride of over 32 years, I was able to retire recently. While she continues to work, there are no more 10-hour working days for me. God bless this woman.

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, my volunteering plans have been temporarily changed. Even after my vaccination, I am still a little afraid of this wretched disease, so I am at home a lot.

Of course, that’s not all bad. I’ve learned to be calm as my wife works from home on certain days. Quiet is okay because I’ve found things that keep me busy. The dirty dishes do not stay in the sink. The dishwasher is emptied and filled immediately. The coffee pot is always set up for the next day. There is no longer a pile of clean clothes on a chair waiting to be folded. The flowerbed is now practically weed-free. I am very happy that my first vegetable garden is doing well.

However, during this quiet time, I have found that there are many things in our home. What exactly is stuff? Even the dictionary is confused about the definition. But we have it.

There are things in closets, in the attic, and in the utility room. We’re not like the hoarders on TV. However, we have things that we don’t use. So why keep it?

What I really missed during this COVID-19 pandemic is regular contact with dear friends and relatives. Hope to see them a lot more as this pandemic subsides. But how can we miss things that we haven’t used in years and honestly didn’t know they were in our house?

I think I found something else that concerns me. But that’s easier said than done.

The first rule to get rid of things is to consult your significant other. I discovered this the hard way.

What stuff should we get rid of? And who do we give it to?

How should we decide if our things are good enough to donate? Would anyone really want a commemorative monopoly game in a fancy metal box? What about the electric indoor Char-B-Que?

There’s no way I can get rid of the nylon disco shirt I’ve had since the 70’s. I think it was $ 35 when I took LSU and made $ 1.60 an hour.

But how much new wrapping paper is too much? (I think we used to give a lot of presents.) How many jerry cans do I need? (These were all bought during a power outage to run a generator). What about that beautiful hand-painted platter that is used to serve appetizers at parties? It was never used because it was too beautiful!

What to do with all that stuff

I think I’ll start painting our house and leave that stuff alone. It will be easier.

For the moment it is being kept out of sight. The goal now is not to accumulate new things.

I realize that we have the rest of our (hopefully long) lives to get rid of our old stuff. Otherwise there will be an interesting real estate sale at the end of our time on this earth. Hope someone needs a piece of aluminum side panel from a 1957 Chevrolet.

– Koch lives in Baton Rouge

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