Writer’s Block: Cleaning up the clutter from the home

Hagen-Eric-140x140
Staff Writer
I cover the cities of Andover, Blaine and Ramsey. I have worked at ABC Newspapers since August 2007.

It’s getting close to the time of the year when most people do their spring cleaning.

Eric Hagen
Eric Hagen

There’s something refreshing about decluttering the house and cleaning up areas that have been neglected in the winter.

My wife and I are getting an early start and cleaning house on a larger scale because we are starting to shop for a new home.

Anyone who has watched HGTV understands the importance of highlighting the open space of your home and not cluttering it up with stuff. We’ve watched enough of these shows that we understood we would have a lot of work to do, but it’s amazing how much one collects over the years and how difficult it can be to decide whether to keep or scrap items you’ve held onto for many years.

While it can be exhausting, I’ve always enjoyed going through old file cabinets and drawers to see what treasures lay inside.

Perhaps the most interesting was an old folder of press releases, press clippings, artists renderings and layouts about the proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium in Blaine. The Northern Lights development that besides a stadium would have included shopping, offices and park spaces around wetlands was on the southwest corner of 109th and Lexington avenues right off Interstate 35W.

I found photos I have not looked at in years including pictures of a friend’s wedding in Scotland, a trip to Mount Rushmore, me playing the snare drum in the University of Minnesota marching band and men’s basketball pep band, camping trips, high school graduation and many pictures of friends I grew up with.

There was a couple of Star Wars toys still in the package of Emperor Palpatine and a TIE Fighter. I got these sometime in the 1990s or early 2000s so well after the original trilogy came out. I’m doubting they are worth anything, but I’m keeping them just in case.

I’ve tried to shred old papers that are more than three years old, but there were some credit card statements from 2005 that I forgot about.

I keep a lot of old newspapers and magazines highlighting stories of international or national importance or that are personally interesting to me. These are things I’ll never want to throw away, even the article announcing Tim Brewster as the new Gophers football coach, because it’s interesting to look back on an event with some historical perspective.

I’m by no means a hoarder. My home is not overflowing with junk and there’s no vermin running around the trash. I’ve never watched the reality television show Hoarders because I have no desire to see excessive build-up of junk unless they are selling it.

But it was just enough stuff to feel overwhelmed. My wife and I rented a storage unit and we have been bringing items to Goodwill so that has obviously made a big difference. We spent last weekend cleaning and I painted the kitchen. I also had to work Saturday morning, so it was not a weekend to relax but it’s nice to get these big projects out of the way.

Honestly, these are things I should have taken care of earlier, but I am a procrastinator when it comes to most household chores beyond the basic cleaning.

The hardest thing for me to throw away is gifts, but if it’s something you have not used in more than two years it is probably best to just get rid of it.

The things I want to keep most are the pictures and videos of your friends and family and the memories you’ve shared together whether it was a vacation or a birthday party. These are my greatest treasures.

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