Friday night topic: Stuff management

I spent a Saturday not long ago doing something kind of remarkable, in a way: unpacking my books from college and grad school and putting them into a new bookshelf we'd bought. Those books made several moves with us into new apartments and houses, sitting around in boxes in the garage and storage room until that fateful Saturday. After ten long years in storage, the books were on a shelf again, available for browsing and reference.

Now, I'm not a total pack rat. I've thrown out at least as many books as I've kept, probably many more. But whoever you are, there are probably some things you'd rather not toss into the trash. Trouble is, we can easily collect so much junk these days, it's nearly impossible to find a way to keep it all at least somewhat sensibly organized.

Some folks, of course, don't even try.

I'm not wired that way, so I'm left wondering what to do with it all. CD jewel cases, old books, some crazy tool I bought for a home repair job I may need again in five years, the multitude of plastic toys my kids have accumulated over time, a hex screw we might someday need for a bunk bed. Where should it all go?

The question of the evening is: How do you manage your stuff? What do you throw out, and what do you keep? Do you keep old boxes and manuals for telephones, motherboards, cameras, and the like? Where do you store things? How do you find them again? Does any of this work well, or is it always a struggle? Does the rest of your family foil your attempts at organization? Should we just take 90% of what we own out into a field somewhere and burn it? Discuss.

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