Thursday, September 12, 2013

Creating Elbow Room

Due to a recent series of events centered around the end of a relationship, I'm going to have some new housemates by the end of October. My older daughter, Kim, and her two dogs, Oliver and Lucy, are coming to stay for a while. In the meantime, Kim and I both need to figure out how to eliminate a lot of "stuff" from our households so we won't be stepping over it all once they move in.

As many clothes, books, and other items as I've donated or thrown away in the past couple of years, there are still too many things here that I don't need. Somehow, when one has empty drawers, shelves, closets, or floor space, items seem to drift in from all directions until everything is full again. As long as the space doesn't feel too crowded, keeping unnecessary stuff doesn't seem to be a problem. Now, all of a sudden, space is at a premium.

Over the next few weeks I'll be purging with a critical eye toward making room, getting rid of a lot of things I've kept just because I could. Things like this set of fine china my father bought me in 1965:

Thanksgiving Day Table Setting - 1978

Those were the "good" dishes, the ones reserved for Thanksgiving and other special meals back when life was a more formal affair than it is nowadays. The days before automatic dishwashers. All these dishes have a thin rim of silver around the edges, silver that will erode rapidly in a dishwasher. It's been at least twenty years--possibly thirty--since I've used them, yet they're stacked and lined up neatly, along with coordinated serving bowls and glassware, taking up one whole set of cabinet shelves. I can no longer afford to be sentimental about them. It's time for them to go to someone who'll appreciate them enough to wash them by hand.

There's a bulky copy machine I bought in 1997 when I was thinking about starting my own home-based business. It's old but it functions perfectly. I use it about once a month and don't need to use it then. Any copying needs I have these days can be handled quite capably by the three-in-one printer/scanner/copier on my desk.

There are boxes of games I no longer play because more interesting games are available online. There's a shoe-drying-rack attachment for my dryer that I've never used. On the same shelf is a fabric softener dispenser, also unused because I prefer dryer sheets. There's an unopened box of legal-sized hanging files I'll never need again, three boxes (in three different locations) of assorted wires and cables, and attachments for a vacuum cleaner I no longer own. There are non-functioning and/or obsolete electronic appliances I can't get rid of until the next annual electronics recycling day. I have tons of vinyl records, cassette tapes, and VHS tapes. A nearly finished quilt top (made by a great aunt) and three crocheted afghans (made by either my mother or my grandmother) sit in zippered plastic bags inside a drawer, where I see them only when I can't remember what's in that drawer and open it to find out. There are so many things taking up so much space, and that has to change. Now.

There are other useless things, of course, that I'm not ready to give up. One example is a round tin box full of assorted buttons I've saved over the years. My grandmother kept a button box very much like this one, and I spent hours, as a child, rearranging the colors and stringing them together with a needle and thread. There's something magical about a button box, and some kid, someday, will like mine very much.

Wish me luck, please. And focus, too; wish me that. I'm going to need a lot of both in the coming weeks.


  1. It's a very difficult task indeed! I wish you luck!!!

    1. I'm making progress, Holly. Finding things I didn't even remember having, so I probably won't miss them.


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