The Purge [He Said]

“It would be embarrassing trying to explain what an appetizer is to someone from a starving country. “Yeah, the appetizer—that’s the food we eat before we have our food. No, no, you’re thinking of dessert—that’s food we have after we have our food. We eat tons of food. Sometimes there’s so much we just stick it in a bag and bring it home. Then we throw it out the next day. Maybe give it to the dog.”
Jim Gaffigan, Food: A Love Story

I couldn’t help thinking about that old Jim Gaffigan comedy bit about appetizers as we hauled bag after bag of excess clothes, toys, appliances, and decor out to the porch to be picked up by a charity.  How did we get so much stuff?


One of our purges of excess stuff leading up to departure

We were just about two weeks away from leaving for a year and turning our house over to house sitters and had spent a week going through every closet, cupboard and drawer as well as the basement, trying to re-capture some space from the clutter.  And, like appetizers, I would be ashamed to explain The Purge to someone from an impoverished country.  “This box is just old humidifiers that never quite lived up to their Amazon reviews and/or were too hard to clean.  There’s a vacuum cleaner in there somewhere that still sort of works, but is too much of a pain to fix, so we just bought a new one.  Here, want this blender?  It was replaced by a fancy NutriBullet a year ago and has sat on top of the fridge collecting dust ever since.”

The kids are not fans of The Purge.  I spent a half-hour dismantling our 3 year-old’s crib/toddler bed in order to sell it with her standing next to me crying and begging me to put it back together.  We found that the best times for purging the kids’ old toys and stuffed animals were between 9 and 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays – when they both were in school.  As long as they didn’t see “Kiki” their long-forgotten stuffed kitty going into the trash bag, they will never miss it.  It is clear that the next year will be about learning to embrace change.

One thing is for sure, where we will be living come June folks typically don’t have basements or 3 car garages (OK, maybe Roger Federer does, but he’s kinda special).  And, I’m told you can’t get Amazon Prime’s two day delivery – BARBARIANS!  Yet, despite these downfalls, Switzerland was ranked as the happiest country in the world by National Geographic in 2015.  I can’t wait to find out their secret – and no, pot is not legal there.


3 thoughts on “The Purge [He Said]

  1. I’ve got to do the same kind of purging to our Culver City house…. when I retire, whenever that is! I’m intimidated by 21 years and five kids passing through!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s true! We accumulate too much stuff! Before we went on our 2 year expat assignment to Norway we completely emptied of house of all belongings. It was exhausting and nauseating to sort through so many things. We had 5 categories: rubbish dump, charity, longterm storage, small airfreight container or luggage. While in Norway we sold our house in Australia and now we are preparing to return to Australia, no jobs, no home, no school for our children but not much stuff either so at least we are travelling into the next phase relatively lightly. Let’s see whether our PhDs make it easier or harder for us to get new jobs!


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