While browsing through one of our “New Books” displays at the library, a title caught my eye. It was called “Don’t Throw It Out.” I quickly scanned my eyes across it to see if my husband was listed there as author, but it was Lori Baird.
If you lived at my house, you’d know why I might have thought this. “Don’t Throw It Out!” is my husband’s mantra. When I first met him I thought it was “cute” that he had a cardboard box full of old doorknobs under his bed. It was “amusing” that he belonged to a Bottle Collector’s Club and dug for these glass treasures at dump sites with other quirky people. I was “impressed” that he built a fireplace from recovered cobblestones. The carved wooden figurehead of a mermaid that stood in his living room was “artistic”.
|How many doors?|
Fast forward 30 years later….
We have a garage, a workshop and a barn - all completely full of stuff. And I do mean full! (And I'm paraphrasing the word "stuff"!) We have a wooden church pew, a dentist chair, 2 jukeboxes, a 1947 Farmall tractor, a baby crib, a unicycle, several wall-mount bull horns, a giant plastic Corona beer bottle, bunkbeds, a rocking horse, 45 Westinghouse oscillating fans (I counted them), a rowing machine, a drill press, 4 lawnmowers , and a huge red neon sign that says “Ruby’s Barbershop”. All are in excellent condition and just waiting for a day in the distant future when we might have need of them.
I am all for re-purposing, re-using, and recycling things. That’s what this blog is about. I hate waste. But, one thing I hate worse than waste is clutter. But, you’d never know that if you saw my house. Clutter starts innocently enough. No one intends for it to happen. It just comes about gradually. Then one day you look around and you realize that you can’t find your dining room table!
|This is why "open storage" is a bad idea!|
A. I have lost interest because it takes too long and/or is too difficult
B. I have run out of or don’t have enough of a key ingredient
C. I have lost the instructions and/or screwed it up somehow
D. I’m reading. Go away.
I should just throw everything out! Yet, I keep telling myself that “I’ll finish it later” and I hang on to it. Yeah, right! I’m going to finish sewing that size 8 skirt that no-way-in-hell I’ll ever be able to squeeze into now? Do I even want a latch hook rug of a tiger if I complete it? (Did I ever?) I’m going to finish that baby quilt with the hand embroidered panels that I started for my daughter? She is 19 years old. Give it up!
My husband has a wide variety of interests. That’s one of the things that make him so appealing. In addition to the antique bottles, he has a 3-shelf barrister’s bookcase filled with toy tractors, one corner of the den floor is crowded with old flat irons and the living room mantle and adjacent area is stacked with clay pots.
|A place to hang your hat?|
I also have a few collections – like cookbooks, (Hey, they’re BOOKS!) Alright? I have a ceramic frog collection too. Can I just stop and point out that even though they take up more space than my husband’s stamp hobby, they take up a lot LESS space than the Westinghouse oscillating fans! I’m just saying.
One of my dear co-workers, when visiting my house for the first time, said "Wow, you could have a great yard sale!" Well, we could if we could agree on what to get rid of!
The last yard sale we had was over 20 years ago (just before we bought our current property). I am still hearing complaints about the Hawaiian grass skirt I inadvertently sold along with a ostrich-feathered Shriner’s hat. Though both were “obviously” priceless items that we somehow have managed to stumble along without, I have never been able to drive past a yard sale with my husband in the car since, without him mentioning this blunder. Apparently, there is no statute of limitations on the mishandling of such revered objets d’art!
There comes a point where you need to eliminate non-essentials. Simplify! If you don’t use it, you don’t need it. If you don’t love it, why have it around? I know this.
“I’ll do it later.”
“I might need it one day.”
“It was given to me by someone. -or- It belonged to someone.”
“It cost a lot of money. –or- It’s worth a lot of money.”
“It brings back memories”.
These are just excuses for not taking action. Reduce! If you can’t bear to throw it away – donate it! I guarantee that no matter what it is, someone somewhere will want it. I just hope it won’t be my husband!
|Start small - clean out that junk drawer!|