On top of the filing cabinet that’s in the closet that’s in the office, there’s a bag. Of keys. Hundreds of keys. Maybe thousands. Keys with no forwarding address, no identification or even health insurance cards.

I have no idea what that bag of keys is doing there. I have no idea what those keys are for, whose they are, how they got there or what they might open.

Still, we’ll keep them, of course.

This may be evidence that The Great De-cluttering Project of 2016 has not gotten off to a great start.

The idea, with the new year, was to spend a few hours every weekend going through stuff that had accumulated over time so we could neaten up our lives and finally find where the dining table had gone and if that was actually the bed hidden under those National Geographics.

We had been so excellent at cluttering, such a finely tuned machine, we thought that de-cluttering would be much the same, just in reverse. But it hasn’t turned out that way. De-cluttering apparently requires two qualities we do not have (or maybe just cannot find, because they’re under the bed):

  1. The ability to actually get rid of stuff and not always say, “What if we might someday need those [keys, yogurt makers, baseball gloves, gasoline receipts, bent tomato stakes, Frisbees made out of matzo]?
  2. The ability to decide where exactly to put away and file the stuff we do decide that we really need and actually must keep [because you can never have too many pairs of children’s ice skates, coasters made from Cheerios, transformers for old cell phones that no longer work and foreign language games of Scrabble, including the Catalan version].

Let’s start with the keys. That large, brass one could be for the trunk that’s in the storage shed or the diary that’s on the shelf in the extra bedroom. Although we do not actually have a storage shed or extra bedroom, we probably shouldn’t get rid of the key because one day we might have an extra bedroom. We would have to get a trunk and diary then, too, but what if we did?

So in the meantime, goes our thinking, let’s carefully file the key and get it out of the way of the Cheerios. We could put it in the filing cabinet, filed under lock or key. But then it might be confused with all that stuff we had filed under Florida Keys, a place we have considered for a vacation once we are finished with the de-cluttering project.

Or we could put the key in the shoebox that’s in the closet in the bedroom, except that already in the shoebox are photos from our daughter’s 10th birthday party, cake from her 11th birthday party and multiple receipts for Cheerios.

There are no shoes in the shoebox because there wasn’t room. They’re in the magazine rack which pushed the magazines to the refrigerator which pushed the yogurt to the shed (if we had a shed).

So ultimately, the decision has been made to keep the keys right where they are. At least they’re not under the bed. Of course, there’s no room for them there.

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