It’s a metaphor.
I was cleaning out my basement (it was overdue and more!)
And I found a couple items I’d forgotten what are for
Here, for instance, is a whatsit with a deally on its side
And I think it had a charger once, or maybe that one died
I don’t know if I need it, though I really rather doubt,
But it looks like it’s important, so I dare not throw it out.
And this thingy might be ancient—at the least, it’s rather quaint
It’s got brass, or maybe copper, or I guess it could be paint
Anyway, it’s kind of shiny—it’s supposed to look like gold—
But it isn’t. And it’s broken. What it mostly is, is old.
It was tossed in with some hardware, right behind a tub of grout
But it just might be collectable; I dare not throw it out!
Here’s a sort of metal widget, colored reddish-brown with rust
It was hidden in the corner, under half an inch of dust
They don’t make ‘em like they used to—and perhaps that’s for the best,
And I think I once had four of these, but cannot find the rest
It has no modern uses, no new features it can tout
But I’ve had it for forever, so I dare not throw it out.
The detritus of the ages, oh the odds and ends you’ll find
If you’re looking through my basement, or you’re looking through my mind;
All the stuff I thought was useful, so I always kept around.
Surely most of it is useless—or at least, that’s what I’ve found
Still, I kept my ways of thinking—you could say I was devout
It was easier to keep them, so I never threw them out.
But, for both beliefs and basements, that’s what cleaning is about:
If they won’t stand up to scrutiny, it’s time to throw them out.