his is my favorite time of the year, but not for the reasons you’re thinking. I have two favorite holidays. One is in the winter, and one in the summer. They require a lot of energy, but it is worth it. They also come at a time of year when you need to be reenergized – one in the dog days of summer, and the other at the end of a long, long year.
I’m not speaking of a holiday you’ll find on the calendar. Well, it’s on my calendar in big red letters. I’m talking about unlimited trash day.
Here in the City of Kansas City, our city picks up our trash. There used to be no limit on how much trash you could put out, but about ten years ago, they said you are limited to two bags of trash only per week. This is a reasonable rule, and one that I rarely break. You can buy an extra bag sticker for like $5, and every once in a while I go to a third bag.
Except for two times a year – the week after the Fourth of July, and the week after Christmas – there are no limits on how much you can throw away.
So I spend the days before unlimited trash day cleaning and tossing things with wild abandon. At the end of a particularly awful year, this was my best unlimited trash week ever.
Imagine being able to press the reset button twice a year. Imagine being able to just toss away any mistakes you made twice a year. You can do it on unlimited trash week. That old Fitbit that you stopped wearing two years ago? Toss it. All those Amazon boxes? Toss them. The bluetooth enabled piggy bank that sat empty the past three months but you bought it anyway? Get rid of it.
I was able to purge so much of 2020 this past week. All that time sitting at home working amassed a number of questionable pieces of trash. Why did I need a keyboard that lit up when you played music? Not sure. But this week, I was able to throw away my old one. Why did I need a picture of Supergirl? Well, obvious reasons, but it ended up in the trash, too.
My wife and I have really only binge watched one show from start to finish. It was on HGTV and it was this Canadian woman who would go around to people’s houses and throw stuff away. She’d walk into these home offices or bedrooms where people were nearly avalanched by crap, and we used to laugh at these people. How on earth did they let their rooms get so bad?
And then I look at what living in a home office for nine months straight has done to my home office. Piles of things. Empty ink cartridges. Not one, but two sets of headphones that have broken. Stacks of folders. Why do I need folders in a home office? Am I going to be bringing documents to the copy center in the kitchen? Purge it all.
The feeling is so incredibly freeing, and it’s so fun to watch the sanitation workers drive up to your house and shake their heads. Oh, Kamler is celebrating the holidays again, I see. I stand at the window and wave, like a four year old who has just seen Santa trapse across their yard. Except my Santa is dressing in grey overalls and smokes while picking up my broken down cardboard boxes.
It is my time to start over. To start fresh. I wish you a happy unlimited trash day, and here’s to starting 2021 with a clean slate and being able to see part of your home office floor.
(Chris Kamler is trying his hand at livestreaming a few times a week at twitch.tv/thefakened. He’s not really sure what he’s doing yet, but enjoying it. So find him at twitch.tv/thefakened)