Stuff

 

 

I’m trying to get rid of stuff. It isn’t that I’m becoming a minimalist or anything, I’ve just reached a point of accepting certain realities. Namely, stuff and stuff cannot occupy the same space. Practically, that means I can’t squeeze one more book onto an overburdened shelf, nor can I ram one more hanger onto an already packed rod. I’m not sure, but this urge to purge may be seasonal. It’s getting to be that time of year when we hunker inside. That means the inside of home needs to be comforting, not stifling.

 

I’m a big fan of stuff. Truly. Like most folks, I tend to appreciate some stuff more than others, and that’s okay. Some stuff is so dear, I wouldn’t dream of relegating it to a goodwill pile. Certain books are like that. Sure – after I read some books, they simply don’t belong in the house (or in my memory, for that matter). But once in a while a book comes along that needs a permanent spot on one’s shelf. Maybe it deserves to be reread. Maybe it just needs to be touched or held once in a while.

 

Other stuff can be meaningful and important to a person, too. And those things are worth holding on to. Those are the things that, when someone asks to borrow them, we waver. Personally, I’ve had to learn hard lessons about precious things. Like when someone asks to borrow a few of your records, then moves away, taking your vinyl with them. Or when someone borrows one of your nicest dresses, rips it, and blames you for the damage. Yes – this is asshole behavior, and perhaps one shouldn’t be loaning stuff to jerks in the first place. The problem, though, is that you don’t always see that kind of behavior coming. Some folks are trustworthy right up until they’re not. And once I learn that about someone, yet continue to trust them, I’ve no one to blame but myself. Fool me once is enough, y’all.

 

Now that I’m getting better about knowing when to lend things out and when to not, I’m happier. For me, my new basic rule is this: If I ever want to get something back, don’t lend it in the first place. When someone asks to borrow a book (or anything else), I think about it long and hard. Is it a book that needs to reside with me for all time? Or can I let it go – for all time? If and only if the second question’s answer is yes, do I lend it. Short and sweet. Because here’s the deal, friends – no one will ever appreciate your stuff as much as you. Even if they openly cherish and respect their own belongings, they will probably not extend the same courtesies to yours.

 

So as I prepare for the end of the year and try to make more room in my life, stuff is being sorted and discarded. It feels good, and because I’m honoring my needs, it feels honest. I will always be a gal with stuff. It’s in my nature. But if it isn’t useful or beautiful to me, I needn’t keep it. Here’s hoping I can purge the right things, and that I don’t even notice their absence.

Garage Finds

 

The other day I tackled a small area in our garage. By tackle, I mean I cleaned it the hell out. We have a slight hoarder situation going on in there (ahem), and it desperately needs to be resolved. I know this job will take many hours of attention before it’s completed, so my goal is to work only on limited areas at one time. That way I can actually accomplish the cleaning without feeling defeated by it. Prayers and good thoughts are graciously accepted, y’all.

 

Anyhoo – I cleared out about ten square feet, removing everything from that space so that I could decide what was to be kept and what was to be not kept. During the work, I found some things that had been left here by the previous caregivers. Trash was easy. It went straight into the bin. Other items are not so easy. The first questionable item uncovered was this fabulous vacuum…

 

 

It’s gorgeous! But I’m not keeping it. I haven’t even bothered to plug it in to see if it works. It doesn’t matter if it works! It’s gone.

 

The next thing I came upon was this sweater…

 

 

Actually, I found a few articles of clothing. They were tired and dirty, and all of them ended up in the trash. Except this sweater. It’s in with the laundry because I’m gonna wash that sucker and give it a whirl.

 

After the pile of stuff was out of the space, I found this old calendar tacked to the wall…

 

 

For now, it can stay. Not sure why really, but it doesn’t bother me.

 

Then I uncovered these pic-a-nic baskets…

 

 

The big one has service for four inside! These actually belonged to us, but they’ve been buried since we moved, so I forgot they existed. Still, we don’t use them, so they’re outta here.

 

And then I found something lovely. Something that stirred my heart and made me smile. A pencil sharpener…

 

 

Left behind by the previous owners, it is a thing I shall use and love. I can’t explain my adoration of this item, I only know what I feel.

 

I’m pretty pleased that the only finds I’ve chosen to keep are small (the calendar, the sharpener and the sweater). Everything else has to go. If you’re local and want the baskets (or the Eureka vacuum), let me know and I’ll make sure you get them. Otherwise, out of sight, out of mind.

 

Cleaning this garage may be the death of me, but I swear I’m gonna get it done. And if I do keel over at the completion of this task, at least I’ll have a clean, tidy garage to die in.

You Never Forget Your First

 

 

As I work away on the living room of the New Pad, I’m doing more than painting walls. For example, art must be hung – with intent. We have too much from which to choose (an embarrassment of riches, really), so I’m trying to make solid choices and feed my soul in the process. I spend more time in this part of the house than Mister, so the art needs to appeal to me.

 

I’m also placing objects about. This selection process is healthy. Not only do I get to decide what means the most or is the most beautiful, I also get to decide what to pass on to another. Getting rid of stuff feels great! But again, I am being intentional in this endeavor. I don’t want to regret giving away a piece that should have been kept. It’s slow-going, but it is going.

 

Anyhoo – because I wanted to use some items that have been packed since the big move a few years ago, I had to dig into a box that’s been doing nothing except collecting dust. And what a fun time that was! I not only found exactly what I was looking for, but also my little collection of ruby souvenir glass.

 

As I unwrapped each fragile piece, I tried to remember when and where they were acquired. For the most part, I couldn’t recollect a danged thang. But then I unwrapped my favorite – a piece from the 1899 World’s Fair. As I gently cradled the glass, I remembered exactly where I found it and how excited I was. That’s the glass that started it all. And I love it still.

 

 

This is the perfect time to address what it means to be a collector – of anything really. Let’s say you and your Sugar Plum had the best vacation of your lives in, oh, Pennsylvania Dutch Country. And while you were there, the two of you decided to buy a little windmill to commemorate the occasion and to remind you of the joy you experienced. And then, let’s say you go home and place your windmill on the kitchen sill, because you know you’ll see it every day, and appreciate not only the memories it triggers, but also the windmill itself. And then, let’s say you host a family holiday. And all your relatives from far and wide see the little windmill and hear the story of its acquisition. After the holiday, everyone goes home and life continues. Then your birthday rolls around, and you receive multiple windmill trinkets from your parents, your brother, your cousin Oscar, your great aunt Lulu, your in-laws and your mee-maw. And while a couple of them are cute, you certainly don’t love them all. And you never had any intention of starting a windmill collection in the first place. Friends and loved ones will latch on to your collection (or non-collection, as the case may be) and bestow upon you items they feel you must surely want. They can’t help it. In a way, they feel you’ve just given them a road map to the perfect gift. My family have done it. Hell – I’ve done it!

 

So please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’d prefer to not receive any ruby souvenir glass from you in the future. I am very particular about the pieces I select and have passed on many a glass. So as much as your kind, generous spirit is appreciated, please don’t give me any souvenir glass. If you absolutely want to gift me with something, may I suggest an outing to a museum or for coffee? That’s more my social jam, um-kay? And I promise you this: I will appreciate sitting in a cafe with you and catching up more than you can possibly imagine. All that to say – no gifts! Capisce?

 

So now my little collection of ruby souvenir glass is out and visible. And though I don’t remember where or when the majority of the pieces were claimed, I do recall one. After all, you never forget your first.