I was in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for a combined total of about 10 years. One particular arts and crafts project that was not uncommon to do, was making a "Round Tuit". Basically, this is what you did:
- Cut out a disc about 4" in diameter. Use cardboard, wood, whatever.
- Paint it and decorate it however you wanted
- On one face of the disc, paint the word "TUIT", or "IT IT" (which is two "IT"s).
- Finally, put a hole near one end of the disc and string some yarn or thin rope through it, so that you can hang it like a medallion.
You have now made a round "TUIT".
And what's the point of this knick-knack, you might ask? Well normally when you have something to do, it's easy to procrastinate it by saying "I'll get around to it." But now you DID in fact get a "round tuit", and thus you have no excuse for procrastination.
"A round two-it"? GET IT?!? Oh golly gee Howdy Doody, that one's a knee-slapper!
OK, OK, before you send me hate mail, let me explain. My real point in bringing up this silly item is that "I'll get around to it" is a common excuse used for keeping clutter. And boy, have I been guilty of this. Fortunately I recognized this last year and was able to get rid of a lot of stuff. And this time, I'll have to be mindful of my "round-to-it" rationalizations again.
So...did I make myself a "round tuit" disc? Hell no. I never ended up having to make one even when I was in Boy Scouts. Do the things actually work? Somehow I doubt it.
However, here is a mantra which so far HAS been effective for me:
"If there's something that I say I will 'get around to someday', and I've been saying that to myself for over 10 years, then chances are good that I'm simply NEVER going to get around to it."
- Rereading certain books. Yes, I know many of you hold books in sacred regard. I know many of you out there who practically live by the motto of "The one who dies owning the most books, wins!" And yes, there's that feeling that getting rid of books makes us feel like we're burning the Library of Alexandria.
But sometimes you just have to face the facts. I had to be honest with myself and ask: Am I EVER going to reread my high school copies of Old Man and the Sea or The Great Gatsby? Honestly? The answer is...NO! I love reading, but come on. If I haven't done it by now, then I'd just as well get rid of these books. I already have books stacked horizontally next to my bookcases because I've run out of room. Hell, I don't think I could even get through The Great Gatsby if I was stuck on a desert island with it.
And here's another fact to face: if I'm going away on a trip or some place where I'll want to bring a book, then I'll want to bring one of the 20 books I bought in the past month that I haven't read yet, not Catcher in the Rye. Sorry, Salinger.
So what to do used books? Well you can try selling them, but it would probably take a long time, and you wouldn't get much money. You can however donate them to certain places (thrift stores, used book stores, books-for-prisoners drives) and get a tax write-off. So that's what I did. Just get a receipt and save it in a safe place for next April. (On a side note, I'll probably do a separate blog on tax write-offs.) I also mailed a bunch of them, along with a few toys I had lying around, to a mother I know who has kids. A book has much better use in the hands of a bright 8 year-old than it does collecting dust in a crate for 8 years.
- Old hardware. I had an Apple IIc, an Atari 2600, Atari 7800, a "pocket" computer from Tascam, an individual electronic TRON game, and a few other old pieces of electrical gaming systems and other computer hardware from the 80s. I have some friends who are indeed collectors of this sort of thing. Granted I'm certainly a collector of many things, but old computer hardware simply isn't one of them. Yet, there was always that idea of "Wouldn't it be great to plug this in again?" Well, I do love old computer games and writing little programs, but most of what I could do on any of these device I could now do on my current PC, thanks to software game ROMs and what not. So I got rid of the Apple stuf for embarassingly cheap, eBayed the 7800 to some guy in Brazil, GAVE away the 2600 for free on Craigslist (after seeing 10 other Atari 2600 offers, I figured "The hell with it; somebody just take this damn thing off my hands"), etc. I managed to sell more of the software in eBay (still having the original boxes certainly helped the value).
I can come up with more examples, but that's it for now. Gotta go.