Labor Day weekend gives Americans across the country a three-day weekend to rest, travel and celebrate our freedom to labor.
Our jobs increased by two million people in 2017 and have continued to climb in 2018. Hourly wages have seen gains and the stock market has seen 20 months of phenomenal growth. Employers across the country need workers and job seekers have options.
Not everyone will travel on Labor Day and I would like to suggest an activity of labor that will be mentally good for you and your entire family. Clean out your closet, basement, attic and garage. For years Americans cram their “stuff” into closets, basements, attics and garages. After all of these are filled to capacity we build storage barns in our yards. Next, we rent storage units to store more stuff. Have you noticed how many storage units are being built almost everywhere? They are a big business. People who own storage units make big money because there is such a demand for them. The richest man in Kentucky is in the storage space business. We are talking about a state that has been rich in coal, natural gas and bourbon whiskey. Thus, this gives you an idea how many people are storing up stuff.
I inherited my mom and dad’s old house. It was my home place growing up and it has been a delight. However after 11 years I’m still throwing stuff away. My family took what they wanted years ago, and a lot of clothes and things were given away or divided up but still yet there was lots of things that Mom, and Dad in particular, had stored up over the years. Just two weekends ago I cleaned out another old building of old tools to give and throw away.
My wife’s parents recently passed and left a house of four bedrooms, and a basement and garage filled with 76 years of stuff. We gave away, had yard sales, divided and divided among family and gave away more and literally had to throw a lot of things in the trash. The family sold this house so it had to be emptied. Emptying a house of an entire life of collected items is hard work but emotionally draining. Every item, picture, garment, old gun, piece of china etc. have memories and it’s tough to just throw it in the dumpster.
Why do we collect and store so much “stuff?” Most of it is socked away in a closet or space and hardly used. We unpacked a large basement space of tools, old furniture and more that had not been touched in many years. Why do we do this? Because we think we might want or need it? Maybe the children will want it? Or, maybe the grandchildren will want it? It’s amazing how very little of our things our children want. Most of them want their own stuff and seldom want the old. Some people do of course but by and large more is thrown and given away than handed down and used by future generations. Often, so much of the stuff we save is junk, so who wants to take our junk to their house and store it in their basement?
Do yourself and your family a favor. Start cleaning out your storage spaces now and give it away yourself. You’ll know where it’s going. Do your giving while you are living then you know where it’s going. Haul the junk to the dump. Have a yard sale and whatever you have left you will know more about what it is and where to find it. Plus, when you are dead and gone your children will be able to rest on Labor Day and not spend their weekend cleaning out all your old clothes and old stuff that you didn’t take care of yourself.
There is something really nice about having a closet where you can really see and know what is in that closet. Or it’s nice having a garage or an attic where most of it has been cleaned out and organized and only contains what you really need. When you get it done sit back and drink a cold glass of lemonade and give thanks for the things you have and the labor that provided the “stuff” you really need and enjoy.
Glenn Mollette is the author of 12 books. His column is read in 50 states.