Lebanon Reporter

Columns

June 25, 2014

Please don't take my easy bake

I often say, even boastfully at times, that I don’t keep stuff. Years ago I read a fantastic book called, “Clutter’s Last Stand.” It inspired me to regularly de-clutter my home — throwing away, giving away and donating things that are no longer needed. I love the satisfaction of knowing that I hauled away 16 garbage bags totaling 560 gallons of stuff, which means I have acquired 560 gallons worth of space in my home. But as much as like to think I’m on top of it, I was recently faced with the truth of my clutter. It was time for a major purge, so I hired a friend to help. Before she walked into the house, I warned, “You are about to see my deep dark secrets. And secrets they must stay.”Over the past year, while my daughter was out of the country, I had been storing things in her room. The plan was to haul it to the attic before she arrived home, but the attic was literally stuffed to overflowing. I climbed in and spent a few minutes rearranging stuff to make room for a second person. When my friend was finally able to join me, she didn’t bat an eyelash, but instead got right to work. She’s a hard worker and a great organizer, so I simply followed her lead. She put things into perspective for me.“Not only has your cassette tape collection melted, but you can probably get them as MP3s, so how about we pitch these into the Dumpster?”“Your grandma crocheted such lovely doilies. Is there someone else in the family who might enjoy some of them so we can pare your collection down to a more reasonable number?”“What shall we do with your Easy Bake Oven?”And that’s when the reality of my clutter hit me square in the face. The red Easy Bake Oven, still in its original orange box, was a gift for my 5th birthday. Long gone are the snow cone maker and the 7-Up dispenser that I also received, but come Dec. 20th, the Easy Bake Oven will have been in my possession for 40 years.You’d think that I must have many great memories of baking alongside my mother, she with her full-sized oven, and me with my little Easy Bake, just like the 70s commercials portrayed. But the truth is I only used it once. And it was my dad who helped measure the water, use the tiny spatula to stir it into the cake mix, and pour the batter into the mini heart-shaped pan. It was also my dad who ate the final product, which never fully baked under the 100-watt incandescent light bulb; a bulb that has been banned and I couldn’t replace if I tried.My friend and I had a good laugh as she set the oven aside. Several hours later, we left the attic de-cluttered and organized. Don’t tell, but I still retain one deep dark secret. With all of that new found space, I didn’t see any reason to throw out the ol’ Easy Bake. I discreetly took it from the pile and snuck it back into the attic. I figure as long as I donated the other 963 gallons of stuff, I’m allowed to keep one gift from my 5th birthday.Ginger is an author, speaker and mother of five. Follow her on Twitter (@GingerTruitt), find her on the web at www.gingertruitt.com, or contact her at ginger@gingertruitt.com.

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