Taxonomy of Possessions

What with all this cleaning and organizing going on, I was thinking of taxonomy of possessions.


item that has no worth or value, but has somehow eluded being thrown out.
Examples: expired coupon, old catalog.


item that may have no intrinsic value, and might not be used often if ever, but serves as a mnemonic link to a specific person, event, or time period.
Examples: concert ticket, handmade mug.


item that does not come into common use, but has the potential to be useful at some point.
Examples: drill press, necktie.


item that is used perhaps frequently, perhaps uncommonly, but belongs to a grouping of similar items.
Examples: book, DVD.


item used on a regular basis.
Examples: laptop computer, toothbrush.

So looking at those, Junk can obviously be tossed.

Artifacts are a bit trickier, since my memory can be swiss-cheesey sometimes, a symbol or reminder of some sort might be the only trigger that will remind me an event even happened. Probably the best thing to do with artifacts is to digitize paper ones, and dispose of the originals, or at least consolidate them into scrapbooks. Non-paper artifacts are tougher to deal with.

Potential also covers old stuff which I don’t use anymore, but keep around in case I *might* use it for some project in the future. My old gadgets fall into this potential category. The best thing for potential items is an honest assessment of if they will really be used. I can look at old PDAs, MP3 players, laptops, and cameras and say “you know, really, I’m not going to use these for anything.” If that’s the case, it’s time to give them away or sell them on eBay. Or, if they are of kinda questionable quality, like the old rusty outdoor grill or the weird voicemail system, throw ’em out.

Collection items are a matter of preference. I happen to like to have shelves full of books, DVDs, and video games. Do I need them? Not really. But every once and a while I like to return to them, and it’s sort of comforting to know they are there, since some aren’t easily available anymore. Kinda like my own personal library. I think financial records also fall into this category.

Useful items, obviously, are for keeping. As zen-like as one may be, one would find it difficult to brush one’s teeth without toothbrush or toothpaste.

Please Destroy the Environment

We were in the process of throwing junk into the dumpster, when it occurred to us that some items might not be allowed, so we checked the list. CRTs they would take, but might charge extra for. Ok. Paints and household cleaners were not allowed.

Hmm. So that leaves us with around 8 cans of paint and a large container of scented Tide, which I bought accidentally (I usually get unscented) and the scent makes me nauseous.

I guess since Tide goes down the drain during normal use, it’s safe to pour down the drain, probably in small doses so as not to overflow the drain with suds.

I called up the Worcester Department of Works to find out how to dispose of paint.

Latex paint: use newspapers or a drying agent (commercial paint drying powder, or kitty litter) to dry the paint, then dispose of the cans in standard Worcester bags. Ok. Not so bad.

Oil paint: this is considered hazardous waste, so cannot be disposed of.


Well, you can dispose of it, but only once a year. This year it was July 2nd. So if you miss that one day, you have to wait a whole year to get another shot at it. And that day is not advertised, so unless you know to ask, and know WHO to ask, you wouldn’t even know when your one shot at it was.

So I can’t dispose of it in a rented dumpster, and the City won’t take it. I look on Lowe’s site – they sell oil-based paint, but don’t offer any disposal method.

So essentially, the only options seems to be: dispose of the paint illegally, or hire a hazmat team for who knows how much money to dispose of it.

Now, I *think* all the paint we have is latex, so it’s probably not an issue, but look at the message being sent here.

Oil-based paint is, I gather, a toxic substance harmful to the environment. But rather than make it EASY to dispose of it in an ecologically responsible manner, the government makes is nearly impossible to dispose of, and private companies have no incentive to dispose of it, even if they sell it.

It’s no wonder people dump waste material like this illegally – they are essentially given no choice.

Full to the brim

We originally got the dumpster for 2 weeks, but it only took 3 days to completely fill it.

If it wasn’t so expensive ($400) I’d say we should get a dumpster more often.

I have a pile of stuff in the living room that I need to go through and give away/sell.

Item #1 up for grabs:

Nomad II MG MP3 Player. Once considered high-end, now considered a toy. I it has 64MB of built-in storage, and you can put a 128MB SmartMedia card in it, for a grand total of 192MB of storage.

Not much, but enough to fit 4 or 5 albums on it, more if you compress them at lower quality. A good first MP3 player for a kid, perhaps.

It looks cool, and lights up blue. Ooo, blue lights. Sexy.

I have the MP3 player, docking station, and probably all the manuals and original packaging.

Anyway, let me know if you want it.


I’m tired and my back hurts.

My back probably hurts from lifting something incorrectly yesterday. I tried to be careful to lift with my legs, but might have lifted something with my back without noticing.

Not sure why I’m so tired… I went to bed around 12:30, then woke up at 4 feeling woozy and dehydrated. I drank some water and went back to bed, and got up at 8:15 and stumbled off to work.

Now that all the big stuff is in the dumpster (except my filing cabinets, which will go tonight) I think I will start in on sorting through stuff to give away or sell. I have a ton of old gadgets, some worthless, some decent, almost all should be in working condition, and for a lot of them I have all the original packaging. Yeah, I’m a packrat.

This weekend I’m going to Maine with Sarah to visit my mom for her birthday. We’re leaving Friday night, and Adam is talking about having the dumpster taken back this weekend, so that only gives me tonight and tomorrow night to purge any larger items.

So watch this space for stuff I’m giving away or selling cheap!
First come, first served!