Take a little trip north of Manteca to 2323 Lovelace Road.
It is there where you will find an above ground archeological dig.
King Tut — even though he hailed from a time if someone were to have walked around with an iPhone with activated 5G access they would have been viewed as a being greater than a god — wouldn’t want any of the 21st (and 20th) century stuff that you will find there buried within a mile of his tomb.
We’re talking about the Lovelace Transfer station that on a weekend has more drive-up traffic than In-n-Out Burger at high noon on a Saturday.
During the week most of the trucks and such that pull up to the scales are from construction firms with debris or go to guys like Vince Haro that give you a square deal for an honest day’s work for one-day yard cleanups. But on the weekend the real eye opening stuff comes through by the truckload.
Yes, there are old appliances, mattresses, paint, broken down furniture and such. There are even the occasional scraps from do-it-yourself home renovation projects. But most of it can be classified as unadulterated waste. By that I mean its stuff we hang onto for no rationale reason except to say to ourselves we may need it one day, it is worth more than a dollar if we place it on a yard sale that we never get around to having, or it has sentimental value. If you talk to people, a surprising amount is stuff that people asked them whether they could store it for a while that ended up for 5 years or more in a garage, shed or basement before the person that was left holding it realized their “friend” or relative was simply using them to avoid a trip to the dump or to save money having the city or some entrepreneur haul it away.
We seem to have two problems. We collect too much stuff that becomes junk and we don’t know when to let go until we either have an epiphany, we move into another place, or we die.
It is apparently built into the DNA of many of us to not horde as much as to not waste. That sounds completely twisted since in clear headed moments most of us would believe accumulating stuff that we no longer use or that we might put to good use if we get around to figuring what use that might be is insane.
But if that wasn’t a natural thing for us to do, there would not be so many mini storages in the world. Yes, I get that there are people who truly do use mini storage for short term use when they may be working overseas, deployed by the military, moving between places, or need it for business storage.
I’ve even come across smaller mini-storage complexes in areas like Pine Grove in Calaveras County where people rent spaces to store items they comb yard sales and such for so they can resell them. The space — and areas immediately next to the storage units — double as weekend flea markets for reselling the stuff. I’m not making this up. At the complex I’m referring to where no less than 10 people were doing exactly that one of the entrepreneurs said it was almost a weekly thing with them. It’s kind of like some “yard sales” in Manteca that are monthly or sometimes every two week affairs that have an inordinate amount of the same type of items always available for sale such as baby strollers and Dog Igloos. I admit I bought a chain saw once from a guy who purchased several pallets of returned yard power tools from Orchard Supply Hardware and was reselling them on weekends out of his garage with general yard sale items.
Forget the fact Manteca like most other cities restricts yard sales to three times a year at one address. Also mini storages in Manteca and most communities are not going to allow you to do weekend sales out of your unit.
I digress, but not by much.
I know a guy who paid $90 a month for a unit to primarily store bedroom furniture a relative gave him. He had it in storage for almost four years before he finally decided to get rid of it and stop paying storage rental fees. The $4,000 plus he paid in storage fees was easily twice the value of the furniture new and easily 5 to 6 times its value as used furniture.
We just won’t let go of things or periodically every month or so weed out stuff that if we asked ourselves whether we really needed or used they would be in the brown garbage cart ready to be hauled out to the promised land of trash instead of taking up space in our homes, garages, sheds, or storage units we rent that we pay good cash to often store worthless old junk.
All of us have things whether it is clothing or some other items that we’ve had for three years or longer that we never used and likely never will that isn’t attached to a deep sentimental value.
It can cost a lot of money to store our junk and it can cost us a lot to get rid of it.
This past weekend I helped Cynthia move. We made one trip to the transfer station where they took 1,800 pounds of waste for $58.06. The Hospice thrift store also hit pay dirt with some 1970s era furniture that had little wear the previous owner left behind as well as an artificial Christmas tree she had.
Given she is downsizing and didn’t really have time to sort through the stuff there’s no doubt in the near future there will be more trips to thrift store drop-offs as well as another visit to Lovelace. One doesn’t cut your living and garage space in half without having to decide what to keep and what to shed.
The easy stuff is what we took to Lovelace already. While some of it was carpet ripped up from her new home most of it was stuff that was broken, trash (old boxes and such), or items that were old or out of date that would collect dust in a second hand store.
It made me look at what I have at home. People will walk into my house for the first time and besides noticing that the largest room in the house that most people would use as a front room has been turned into an exercise room, will often comment about how I’m supposedly a “minimalist.”
I find this strange because I’ve been in homes of minimalists and I can tell you I’m no minimalist.
There’s a lot of stuff in my garage of which about three quarters belongs to someone else. I really need to depart with the remaining stuff — except for yard tools. It is basically four storage containers of stuff a mother would save from eighth grade to my early adulthood which is exactly why I have the stuff. It needs to go.
Of course when I do get around to going through it, I’m sure I’ll just pare it down so I can do what I have done in the past — go through it again.
I’ve been able to cut down on the inadvertent “collecting” of items that I will never use again by taking off all my closet doors as well as doors on the cupboards above the countertop in the kitchen and the built-in linen closet/drawers.
It’s amazing how little you gather that way if you can’t hide it.