The first thing to say about storage bins is — just throw it all out instead.  You’ll never get around to dealing with all that stuff, you’ll just be paying monthly rent for years . . . for decades . . . and if the monthy storage fee rises (and it will), what are you gonna do?  Move it all?  Where?!   So you’ll stall and delay and procrastinate and before you know it you have a long grey beard and that $3,000 heirloom in your bin will have cost you $18,000 to store ($30,000 before taxes).  You should have just given it to charity (saving you a further $1,000 in taxes).

The second thing to say is that I, of course, have shown zero ability to follow that good advice, spending a fortune storing junk that I only now, finally, partially, have dealt with, paying several hundred dollars just to have boxes and boxes carted off to a dump.  (Did I really need all my phone bills and cancelled checks and receipts from decades past?)

But you can’t just throw everything out or you’d miss some of the stuff I found, such as copies of the Pennsylvania Gazette, from 1740, printed by “B. Franklin, Postmaster” and a bottle of 30 legally prescribed Quaaludes dated February 5, 1982 and a letter from Ronald Reagan correcting misimpressions of his views on welfare.  (I collect “historic documents.”  Not sure how the Quaaludes got in there.)

The Pennsylvania Gazettes are fascinating in about a thousand ways.  To think that 1740 was just three long lifetimes ago (or eight expired Quaalude prescriptions ago), and how far we’ve come — we’re going to Mars!  


A Dutch Servant Man and his Wife, for Two Years and Eight Months, a genteel riding Chair almoft new, a Ten Cord Flat with new Sails and Rigging, a Fishing Boat, and sundry Sorts of Houshold Goods.  Enquire of the Printer hereof.

A Likely Mulatto Girl, aged about 16 Years, has had the Small Pox, is fit for either Town or Country, to be disposed of very reasonable, enquire of the Printer hereof.

SENEKA Rattlesnake Root to be sold at the Post Office in Philadelphia, with directions how to use it in the Pleurity, Etc.

That was just the first thing that caught my eye, bottom right corner of the back page, June 12, 1740.

So I’m certainly glad I didn’t throw those out.  Or Reagan’s note, handwritten for his secretary to type:

Jan ’67

Dear Miss Cerda

I appreciate your letter and the chance you’ve given me to set the record straight.  First of all I’ve never used the expression; “W.F. which my taxes pay for.”  You’ve evidently been subjected to a distortion or mis-quote.

My position has been stated repeatedly that the overwhelming majority of W.F. recipients want to work & should be helped so they can become self sufficient.  I have attacked the red tape and excessive administrative costs of W.F. but never the amount rec’d by the recipient.  It is my contention that W.F. should be directed at salvaging human beings without drying up their confidence and will to live independently.  But for those unable to work I have flatly stated we must do even more.

I hope you will soon be well & I wish you the very best. — Sincerely, RR

Pretty sensible stuff, worth preserving.  As is:


Frank Bruni kinda nails it here in the New York Times.



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