The joys of Dumpster Weekend

No one understands Dumpster Weekend. It’s become a source of amusement for my friends and co-workers, but it’s a biennial event that gives me a great sense of accomplishment – and relief.

Before I get too far into this, let me state for the record that I have weekly garbage pickup service, and I am faithful about putting out the trash and recyclables every Thursday morning. I do not live in squalor, nor do I keep the company of 55 cats, nor do I collect old refrigerators on my front porch.

I do, however, in a series of circumstances unexplainable even to myself, require the services of a dumpster (or “roll-off” container as they say in the biz) about once every two years.



Last weekend was Dumpster Weekend. Taking advantage of the gloriously unseasonable weather (if this is the result of global warming, I say ‘Bring it on!’), I procured a 12-foot metal box to sit at the end of my driveway all weekend, and set about purging my house (and by extension my life) of all the unnecessary refuse that had accumulated during the past 24 months with tenable glee.

As a rule, my house is kept immaculately clean and, to the naked eye, clutter-free. What the casual visitor does not see, however, is every closet, drawer, under-bed box, kitchen cupboard, attic and basement hiding place stuffed with the detritus of everyday life.

I suppose in that regard I’m something of a packrat, keeping things around beyond their life expectancy in the hopes they’ll someday become useful again. But where I differ from the mental midgets you see on a Dr. Phil intervention whose abodes are piled high with each National Geographic from the year 34, my packrat syndrome is well-hidden, and purges itself every two years.

On Dumpster Weekend.

So I went on my merry way, ignoring my incredulous friends and neighbors and ridding my house of every miscellaneous object I hadn’t laid hands on in the last two years. It’s gloriously liberating therapy. I recommend it heartily.

In fact, even if renting a “roll-off” container is overkill for your particular needs, I highly suggest an annual spring purge for every homestead in Chenango County. It seems like more and more we’re fielding complaints here at the newspaper from neighbors furious with neighbors over “eyesores” and other health hazards. While the majority of us still keep relatively pristine homes, more and more of us seem to be living like pigs. Take a drive around the city, or even better out into the hinterlands of the country, and you’ll see more than a few residences that could forego the dumpster altogether and go straight for the flamethrower.

Spring is here. The birds are singing. The flowers are in bloom. It’s time to clean up our act.

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