A new Lego store recently opened in Raleigh’s Crabtree Valley Mall, and the manager reported that more than 18,000 customers visited the store during the week of its Grand Opening (Recession? What recession?)

Not too long ago, our son Samuel would have wanted to be first in line. After at least eight years as a certified Legomaniac, however, our 12-year-old has decided that he’s no longer “into” Legos, and doesn’t want them any more. For the longest time, when birthday and Christmas came around, he’d mark up a Lego catalog with the building kits he wanted most, it would get passed around to grandparents, godparents, and friends-who-love-him-like-parents, and then he’d rack up. At other times of the year, he’d save his allowance for more Legos. I’ve never tried to calculate the cost of all those building blocks, but it has to be in the thousands of dollars.

His collection of fireboats, coast guard boats, tug boats and other working boats used to fill our tub. Spaceships and other Star Wars vehicles fill his bookshelf. Police stations, fire stations, cars and trucks cover his dresser. Airplanes are scattered around. Several electric Lego train sets that once occupied an old ping-pong table in the garage (with planes hanging over on fishing line) are now stored in plastic bins, along with the detritus of countless other things that are now in pieces.

Here’s the problem with Legos — you spend all that money on them, the boy has a ball putting them together, and then if he plays with them, they come apart. When he loses interest, they take up loads of space and have very little value for resale. Can you imagine trying to pack up a huge Lego Y-wing fighter for shipping to an E-Bay buyer? I’m not sure it would be worth the trouble.

I’m not sure where this blog is going, except that it reminds me of how easy it is to become encumbered with material things that seem like “must-have” items at the time, but later just take up space when we outgrow them or lose interest.

The house cleaning we may need, it occurs to me, will require more than a yard sale.

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