Derek Johnson Muses

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Stuff upon Stuff: What’s at the Bottom of that Blue Tote

The Mess is Beautiful as It Is.

The Mess is Beautiful as It Is.

One of the practical reason for me to marry is that I need someone to organize and throw out my old stuff. I hate organizing -my brain just doesn’t get the point of going through boxes of random things, putting it into files or in carefully labeled boxes, and throwing stuff I don’t need out. If I think about de-cluttering too long, my mind will go on pins and needs, and I will get angry and have to do something else. Seriously, I hate organizing.

But I still have to write this blog, and I figured going throw one of the blue totes I have stuff in would make a interesting post/writing exercise. Here’s some of what was in some of it:

A blue folder that has a sticker on the top that reads “Seminary Application Packet.” I’m surprised it doesn’t have more wear on it, because I must have had it for eight or nine years.

Husker ticket stubs and schedule cards, more than I care to count. I have saved all of these with the hope of selling them as memorabilia years from now. (When Ndamukong Suh was a senior, I grabbed a ton of his cards.)

An old popcorn tin from the Scouts. I have put all ticket stubs and schedule cards mentioned above in it. Now I have to figure out how to decorate it.

Fifty-some postcards from my last two art receptions, last October and back in February.

The Invitations and a Ticket from the 2005-1006 Nebraska-Oklahoma Basketball game

The Invitations and a Ticket from the 2005-1006 Nebraska-Oklahoma Basketball game

My good screw driver. This needs to be someplace where I can use it, which is why I need to build cabinets in the utility room.

A traveler’s wallet I bought at Eddie Bauer a few years ago before I realized that it was completely impractical for every day use. It has a shoulder strap, and you can put a pen in it. Debating whether or not I should start using it again, maybe I will take on a trip next month. In it I found a business card for the Chief of Interpretation of De Soto National Memorial (went to the Tampa area for a conference in February 2009), a punch card of Cici’s Pizza in Lincoln, a page from a Huskers’ day calendar in 2009, and a receipt from the Kennedy Space Center.

A cup warmer I got on a trip my dad and I took to the 2011 Husker-Minnesota game. It was from a Velveeta demonstration where I got a great cheese and fiesta chip sample.

A free game program from the 2009 Nebraska-Iowa State game that is 50% advertising. Interesting quote inside: “See you in two weeks! Oklahoma comes to town Nov. 7 to renew one of the most storied rivalries in all of college football. It’ll be the Sooners’ last visit to Lincoln until November 2, 2013.” Instead, Nebraska will be hosting Northwestern on that date. That was the last Nebraska-Oklahoma conference game in Lincoln.

The Blackshirts did do well on this day

The Blackshirts did do well on this day

A box of invitation envelopes. Hope I can use these.

A recent receipt from the Dollar Store. I don’t buy most of my groceries there, but the chips and crackers are cheap.

A brochure for the Associate of Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Churches (ACELC).

I remember this

I remember this

An outlet expander with six plug-ins. Praise the Lord I didn’t already buy one for my TV/DVD corner.

A small case for an USB cable. I don’t know why anyone would need a case for a USB cable.

This deserves to waste away at the bottom of a box.

This deserves to waste away at the bottom of a box.

Binoculars. Need to remember to take these on my upcoming trip to Idaho, and loan them to my mother when we go to sporting events.

A whistle I bought in Death Valley in 2010, which also has a small light, thermometer, compass, magnifying glass, and small storage compartment. After attending a presentation on hiking in the desert, I figured I had better have an usable signal in case I was bitten by a rattlesnake, since I have a tendency to ward off on my own.

A 2011 calendar with photos from that trip to Death Valley.

Great Memories...

Great Memories…

A 2009 calendar with watercolors that I bought in California.

And the relic of the collection, camera that actually uses film and its case. It’s so shiny, and I likely have taken no more that two or three rolls of film. Wonder if they even make the film it uses anymore.

I put away may of those things were I could use them or find them, but the bottom ten percent of the box I just dumped on another box stuff. I’ll get to that when I feel like it…or when I need something else to write.

House to Sort-of Home: Lessons in Thrift Spending & Garage Sailing

I used hit up thrift stores and garage sales every weekend, reveling in the thrill of a great find for seventy-five percent of the price. But such habitual shopping caused my closet and rooms to overflow. I cut back on it, but since I moved into my new place, I was at liberty to go shopping for furniture. I am fortunate that I moved when garage sales season was just starting up. My uncle advised me that high-end garage sales have great bargains, and in one trip into southwest Lincoln, I found two couches and a patio furniture. Not bad.

I always remind myself not to buy by something just because it costs a dollar. If it’s shoddy, after two weeks you will kick yourself if you see a similar product that’s basically new at another garage sale or thrift store. Yes, you can buy the nearly new thing, but you are going to spend time and money moving another thing (Side note: if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about marginally successful people is that they don’t understand that time is a commodity.) Hold out; this is America, and there’s always someone who bought something, only to find they didn’t need it ten minutes later and will put it on their garage sale.

Even if something is a little more expensive, it will be worth it if it’s something that I will use all the time. I found this out with my messenger bag I bought a couple of years ago completely new. Paid full price, but I use it every day and would be lost without it, as I carry essential electronics, books, snacks, tape, glue, meds, you name it. (Yes, it’s my purse). Same goes for the big couch I paid $80 for last week, but this is a rule that I have to work at not abusing. If not sure about something, I take time and think about it.

But I now have a living room full of furniture, with pictures hanging on the walls. My dining area is empty, and I should really move the table I eat at in there. I’m still looking for a breakfast nook-style table with high chairs for the kitchen, but that can wait. I still have to set up the office, but at least my house is presentable enough. Can’t wait until I start accumulating stuff and outgrowing the place.


First Washer/Dryer I’ve Owned

Moving In

If I had to, I could clean out my desk in five second, and nobody would ever know I had ever been here. And I’d forget too. -Ryan on The Office

If I were not so lazy, I could have moved out of my apartment in only a day. It’s a small apartment, and I kept a lot of stuff at my parents’ house. When I was telling people that I couldn’t participate in such-and-such activity this past week because I was moving,  I got a lot of “that must be so big and hard” looks. Thanks for the hall pass.

Moving was good for me. Closing on the house took fifteen minutes (alarmingly short-hope the bank didn’t make a mistake approving me), and I drove over to my new home with a loaded truck. Since then, it’s been a blur of boxes and new space, most of which where moved yesterday before it started to rain. Praise the Lord.


Lots of stuff in boxes, still

There was one item I waited to move out of my apartment until it was raining Wednesday morning: my futon frame, which is now held together with duct tape rather than screws. I taped it together because I was tired of fighting the bent connectors every time I put it back together, which meant I had to carry a frame three feet taller than I am down stairs and drag it across my new lawn to the cellar. Yes, I cling to certain things. It’s a problem.

Of course, that was nothing compared to going to Lincoln the other day to pick up a washer/dryer in a May Day wintery mix. The person who I was buying the set from told me the last time that Nebraska got snow in was sometime in the late 1960’s, so here’s to hoping it’s another forty years until we get May snow.

My new house has a certain charm to it. It was built in 1900, and had to have part of its foundation redone in the last ten years. The lack of a garage and convenient parking space right next to the house is really annoying. There’s no closet space whatsoever. But the yard is huge, and I have a great deck, and all the interiors are modern. I’m going to be very happy here, once I find a couch and some other furniture.



As I enter into this new stage of bigger investments and life on my own, I am going to try to stop waiting for myself to turn into an adult. Yes, I will probably never value my success as much as I should, but I’m just going to commit to reflecting on Jesus and praising God every day, doing what’s best for others, honing my skills, and educating myself.

A lot of possibilities...

A lot of possibilities…


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