The elephant-sized white elephant

Spring has officially begun. It may not feel like it in many parts of our country, but there are two signs of spring around here:

  • Daffodils are blooming
  • People are getting the urge to begin Spring Cleaning

While modern cleaning techniques enable us to keep our homes clean (well, clean-ish) year-round, there is something about spring that stirs our souls to honour the tradition. Perhaps it is the sun illuminating all the handprints on the windows.

So far in the “lighten up in 2013” series I have been encouraging you to toss one small thing (and sometimes the friends of that small thing) twice a week. This time, in a burst of spring cleaning enthusiasm, I am asking you to consider getting rid of something larger. Something that cannot go in your recycling bin or garbage can. Something that requires more than one person to lift. Most houses have at least one, and we keep it around because- for all those reasons I just mentioned- it’s tricky. We’re talking about:

  • a piece of furniture
  • an appliance
  • a television
  • a barbeque

Take the time to place a classified ad, put it on Craigslist, Freecycle, a community bulletin board, phone a charity that might be able to use it, enlist a friend with a truck to take it to a second-hand or thrift store, or the dump- invest 15 minutes this week to start the process of getting it out of your house.

Here’s my project. It is a very large, heavy piece of furniture that I have owned since I was a child. It hasn’t been used for years, but I thought someone else in the family would eventually want it. Those people have all recently decided that they do not.

Here’s what it looks like, ready for disposal:

Piano Collage wm

We tried the ad, Craiglist, Freecycle… but it was too old, bulky, heavy, and in poor condition to even give away. We had no vehicle- or the muscles- to haul it to the dump. In the end, it had to be taken apart. Do you recognize what it is?

Perhaps if I put a couple of the pieces back together:

piano keys

It’s a piano. A huge, heavy, old upright piano.

Fortunately, the man of the house is very handy and was willing to take on the project to get rid of the thing. It did take time, energy, and muscle, and was a pretty dirty job, but it turned it into something mostly recyclable. The metal was picked up by a scrap dealer. The wood is going to someone who will use it for their stove. The keys will end up in the trash- a relatively small portion of the original object.

It is a big project. A worthy project. When you have been carrying around something large and heavy, and that burden is gone, the feeling of relief is enormous. Lighten up!


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