I am really not a minimalist.  I tend to believe that more is more.  Mind, if you offered me a small flat in either San Francisco or Paris, I’d pack a couple of suitcases, gather up the cats, and hire a house-clearing firm to get rid of everything else. But in the absence of such a gift, I see no reason to get rid of things that I like, even if they are not things that I would pay to move out of the country.

Nonetheless, it’s amazing how many things I have that I don’t particularly like, or which make me say “WTF is this and where TF did it come from?”  And I love putting those in the give-away heap.  This afternoon’s job was the sewing/handcrafts box and bags, which I reduced to one box and one bag In the process I ditched a lot of beads I’m sure I bought when I was around 14 (for a considerable time, these were not in my custody; but at some point my mother had a clear-out and gave them back to me, and since then they have hung around various closets of mine again).  The summer we were 14, and intermittently for some time thereafter, my oldest friend and I had a craze for making necklaces and earrings out of seed beads—she went on to belts, I think, but I never did.  I have vivid and pleasant memories of scooping up the box of beads, putting it in a backpack, and riding our bikes down to the local campus, where we sat on the grass near a small creek and strung beads in the sunlight, wading in the creek when we needed to cool down.  I kept the ones I still think are pretty, that I might make something with; but that was less than half of what I found.

I also ditched the sewing projects that made me say “Oh no, can’t be arsed,” though I kept the ones that I thought I might like to get back to.  Will I get back to them?  Maybe, maybe not.  I have not scheduled a time to do them.  It is possible that I never will, and a hard-core de-clutterer would tell me to dump them, too.  But I’m not leaving the country, or even crossing it, and I still want to keep the things that I feel friendly toward, the ones that I think could be fun, or useful, or are quite attractive.  They don’t have to be things I love or that make me feel joyful.  Feeling cordial is enough.

On the other hand, there were three non-matching, pressed-glass, footed goblets, whose provenance I am uncertain of and which I am happy to give to the Cats’ Home (or rather, the second-hand shop that supports our local shelter).  If I think about it, they might have come from my mother’s house, but I’m not sure.  I don’t recall any family associations with these things, the way I do with my grandmother’s pickle dish.  They might be things my mother bought at garage sales because she liked them.  I just don’t know.  (And I don’t know what they were doing with the handcrafts, either.)  They’re WTF items, so they’re going.

I’m pleased that I can see the floor in my closet now, and I hope I can get on to tidying up various other areas soon.  I can see how people get exhilarated by the throwing-out process.  If I had a good excuse (like a job across the country or the chance to move abroad), I think I could get to that point myself.  At the moment, though, I just want some balance.  There are objects I’m trying to find in order to give to particular people, and there are objects that I’m happy to let go, and then there are things that I’m glad to see again, that I want to keep, because I can.  For now.

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5 thoughts on “Stuff, again

  1. Good on you for so much clearing out of stuff you no longer want to have hanging around. I need to tackle another level of stuff. Tomorrow.Tomorow!

  2. I had said, half jokingly, that all I really wanted for Christmas was for family members to sort through & get boxes out of the garage, and they did! It is now possible to walk out there, or will be after a few recycling days. good for you for getting rid of the mysterious footed goblets.

  3. I have a bunch of things like that, and I just need a day to go through and say, nah, I DON’T need this, haven’t used it, why do I still have it? Alas, this “vacation” got eaten up by other obligations.

    1. It’s alarming how much time this sort of thing takes. I often feel that I’m “procrastinating” about it, when what I’m doing, even if unconsciously, is saying, “No, I don’t have half a day for this right now.” Making decisions is the hardest part. With the basement, where at this point only the no-brainer things get tossed, I can put in 1-2 hours and make significant progress. Upstairs, though, I have to commune with things, and that takes longer.

  4. Amen to the decision-making being the tiring/time-consuming part, and to it just plain taking time. This is especially true if you live in a very small space, as I do, and can’t afford to leave sorting projects spread out in a space separate from other necessary activities (I really need more space; I’m working on that).

    I’m glad somebody else likes to keep around a few “maybe I’ll get back to that” projects. I do, and one of my grandmothers did, and I didn’t really mind clearing them out (in fact, I kept a few of them myself, which may or may not have been a mistake, but I don’t really regret it). The other grandmother was very neat/minimalist by nature anyway, and became more so with age. I understand that instinct, too, and realize that it’s probably more realistic, and easier on heirs, than keeping projects around, but it was also sort of sad to feel that she’d tidied herself and her life away well before she truly had to, lest she be a nuisance.

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