A while back, I could walk my basement, front to back, and not get injured. I had done a really good job of organizing it. But I, too, suffer from America’s greatest affliction. I buy too much stuff, and the basement becomes the catch-all for it.

I admit it! I cannot pass up a bargain. Especially if it’s stuff for the house, like building materials. And worst of all, I use the logic that since the majority of things I acquire are to fix up the house or to be utilized within the basement, once everything gets installed or put into its proper place, the basement will be neat and clean. But guess what? I can’t get the basement in order until I get all the clutter out of it. So I’m in a catch-22.

I momentarily thought about getting a storage unit. I see it’s one of the fastest-growing business sectors in America. Everywhere you go, old buildings or new buildings are being utilized as storage facilities. And people, because they don’t want to get rid of their stuff, are willing to pay a hundred bucks or more a month to store the treasure troves piled in it.

I’ll admit to being fiscally conservative (aka cheap). The thought of giving somebody $1,200 a year or more to put my stuff in a small room that I have to travel to, and lug the stuff from here to there, is not appealing. Besides, I actually have a storage room in my own basement, but it’s filled with stuff. I can’t even walk into it. So I’m going to have to get that room in order, in order to determine what stuff I need to keep, what stuff I need to give away, and what stuff needs to go into the garbage.

I was telling a friend the other day that I had acquired all the clear plastic storage bins I needed in order to hold all the Christmas decorations I put out last year. Then it dawned on me. Within the next 8 to 10 weeks, I’ll be putting Christmas decorations out again. OMG!

What is it with Americans that we don’t want to throw things away? And why do we hold onto things year after year that we don’t even use? I know the rule of thumb for clothing is: if you didn’t wear it this year and you didn’t wear it last year, it’s probably time to get rid of it. Yet we hold onto clothes that don’t fit or are out of fashion. Some of the stuff I have, I bought in my early 20s with thoughts about entertaining. But that is not my persona. I rarely host any kind of party. So why do I collect serving trays, and all sorts of other paraphernalia to host a party when I rarely party?

Truthfully, my logic is, “If I need it, I have it.” And that’s the reason I have so much stuff. From Goodwill, to garage sales, estate sales, and clearance items at the stores, I’ve acquired so many things that I’ll have should I need it. The problem is, the older I get, the less I’m going to need it. So I’m going to challenge myself to begin shedding all the stuff I have accumulated.