The Purge (or When a Trip to the Dump can be Good for the Soul)

Image courtesy of St. Louis County, Minn.

Image courtesy of St. Louis County, Minn.

Today I got rid of some dead weight and made a new friend along the way.

It was time for fall cleaning, if you will. I got rid of some household hazardous waste (fluorescent light tubes and used snow blower oil) and detritus accumulated over several years — both mine and my parents.

My family moved our aging parents twice in the past several years — from their home to an assisted living facility, and from there to another facility in a different town. I kept some of their things on the chance they might need them, but now that it’s been several years and they live out of town, I realized that ain’t gonna happen. So it was time for a purge.

How it works at our self-service dump is you tell the attendant what you’ve got in your (car, truck or trailer) load and they assess you a charge. Then you drive up a hill. Below the hill are large dumpsters either for metals, cardboard, wood, or miscellaneous waste. You park on the dumpster hill and then toss your junk down into the appropriate container. After that, you drive down the hill and loop back to the entrance to a shed where electronics are collected.

The last time I visited the local dump (now called the more politically correct “Materials Recovery Center”) was about a year after my divorce. I loaded all the junk my ex (who was sort of a hoarder) left into my then-boyfriend’s truck and we made a date of going to the dump. Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Let me tell you, throwing your stuff into the dumpster abyss is a rush. You’re flinging off your old world to make room for the new. It can get addicting. My boyfriend and I laughed as we did it — the feeling was so freeing. This time, I felt rather sad because some of my parents’ discarded items meant their lives would never be the same, but still it felt good to get the stuff cleaned out of my house and garage.

And I made a new friend in the form of the lady attendant who assessed my load. We happened to have the same type of vehicle, so while I was showing her the stuff in my trunk, we talked about the merits of our cars. I paid and when she came back to give me the receipt she asked more questions about my car.

I thought having a dump worker who wasn’t a stressed out robot was a nice change of pace. But the guy in the truck behind me did not. He yelled at the woman to hurry up. Ignoring him, she replied to me, “It’s my job.” (With the unspoken, “And I can do what I like to make it bearable.”) We exchanged a few more words and then I went on my merry way up dumpster hill.

After my cathartic dump (smile), I waved to her as I left.

So, that’s life in northern Minnesota. We make friends at the dump and get our kicks tossing stuff away. What can I say?

Try visiting your local dump someday. It could be good for your soul.


3 thoughts on “The Purge (or When a Trip to the Dump can be Good for the Soul)

  1. This is a delight. And I love “Materials Recovery Center” – that’s so good it almost sounds fictional. It IS a rush. You feel freer, lighter, more ready for whatever comes next. One of the books I read about 2 years ago on clutter was the wonderfully titled, “Throw Out 50 Things.”

    • I will have to put that book on my list. Although throwing things out is a rush, it does take intention, energy, and time. I can see how easy it would be to just let things pile up, especially if one is uninitiated to the rush. And some people have no idea where to go to get rid of their stuff. Anyway, thanks for your comment!

  2. I am going through this right now twice over (going through my mother’s things at her place and ‘joint’ boxes of stuff from my marriage. You are correct that it is quite a freeing feeling to get rid of it all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s