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I resolve to shed my unnecessary items, maybe

In the past, when New Year's rolled around, I would write a column about New Year's resolutions, and on a couple of occasions I suggested that a good resolution for everyone would be to commit themselves not to kill anyone that year.

It's never worked. In fact, the more I talked about it, the worse things seemed to get.

So this year I'm taking a new approach. I'm committed to putting my house in order.

Not figuratively, but literally.

There are people in this world who accumulate things very selectively, amassing small well-ordered collections of worthwhile peculiarities.

I'm not one of those. When I see a hammer in the road – and you run across those – I stop to pick it up.

I've accumulated several hammers that way, and I've kept them all, except for one that had a bent handle from being run over by a car.

I've found adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, and even a large ratchet handle with a swivel head.

Put together all the tools I've found in the street and I've probably got more tools than the average guy.

And that's just the tools.

I came across a big bowl designed to hold cut vegetables on the outside with a big depression for a bowl of dip in the middle. I've cut up vegetables three or four times in my life, but I've never used that bowl, and I can almost promise you I never will.

Around the turn of the century, time capsules were the rage. Kids and their parents were urged to take little treasures and bury them to be found in half a century by people who would, at that time, wonder why anyone would find those items important at all.

I picked up a couple of those capsules on the cheap, actually thinking I might someday bury one of them. I didn't. They're empty and sitting on a shelf, along with glass plates that haven't been used in 20 years, forgotten pitchers, record albums that haven't been played in 20 years, fondue pots and candlestick holders that will never be used.

I have an old roll-top desk that should have stayed in the trash when I picked it up 35 years ago and leaky copper watering cans for houseplants, which is especially silly because I don't have houseplants.

When I think about it, I'm beginning to wonder whether I actually own anything worth keeping.

So over the course of the next year I'm going to make occasional trips into different rooms, pick out a handful of worthless items and figure out what to do with them. Maybe I'll put them in boxes and have a garage sale. Maybe give them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army for some budding accumulator.

Or maybe I'll just throw them away.

Whether it will happen, I don't know. But at least I've got a plan.

And I've got a year to do it. It'll take that long.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others' experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.