Simplifying

I’m cleaning things out. We live in a big house crammed full of the accumulation of decades of marriage and family life and we can’t even think about downsizing until we get rid of most of it. Although my go-to move is always to blame Sami for being a hoarder, I look around and I have to admit that a lot of this crap is mine, too.

I’m not talking about shoes, coats and clothing. That stuff is easy to keep up with and thin out and maintain control over. I’m talking about all that other stuff*. For instance, today’s load consists of:

  • 4  rag rugs
  • 5 tablecloths, one with 6 matching napkins
  • a saxophone cradled in a velvet-lined case
  • a box full of chemistry text books

I could probably throw in a few more things but you know what? I don’t have to. I used to schedule charity truck pick ups but that calls for planning, preparation and of course scheduling. Anyone who’s been reading around here long enough knows that none of that is my strong suit. So now I go to a Goodwill about a mile and a half away. The drop-off is open every day of the week from 8 am to 8 pm so I can just get up and go any time I feel like throwing something into the car and driving over there. And the best part is that its located in an old Eckerd Drug store building. They converted the drive through pharmacy pick-up window to be a drive through drop-off feature.

  
There’s a portico to protect you from climate change as you unload and there are always two strong young men standing by the sliding doors where the pharmacy window used to be to lift the stuff out of your car and carry it inside. You cannot imagine anything more convenient.

* Here’s an example of why the decision making is such slow going. I guess its a better example of how things got like this in the first place. Twice I tired to buy a specific vintage Lenox vase on eBay that was described as 8″ tall. the first one that came was actually 6″ tall and the second time I tired it, the vase was 10″ tall. The width of the vase varied according to the height so you look at those descriptions and you think what’s the big deal? but I’m telling you its quite a big difference. It turned out that I really like the little one and use it a lot. The big one is too big and I really tried to use  it I really did but I just don’t like it.

Now here’s the thing: It was made in the 40s but it looks like it was made tomorrow. Very modern design, matte finish on the outside and shiny glaze on the inside. It is in perfect condition in every way. No one I know likes it or wants it. But this a genuine collectible – green stamp on the bottom and all – , a thing of beauty and a utilitarian object. I can’t see lumping it onto a shelf with the green glass vases that come with florists bouquets and molded glass bud vases from the dollar store.

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Lenox Illusions vases for sale on eBay – 12″, 10″ and 8″. You can see that height alone does not fully give an accurate picture of their size.

So you can see this is a special thing and I can’t make myself just cast it away when it’s entirely possible that someone might come here and see it and understand that it is thing to be valued and preserved. I’d put it right into their hands on the spot  if that person walked through my door.

And that is the kind of thinking that puts me sitting in a house full of stuff.

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Simplifying

    • My mother constantly thinned out her stuff for the twice a year Amvets rummage sale and she was never a person to buy more than she needed. Even so after she died, it took weeks to get through all of the stuff in that house. My own children, I imagine, will just set this place on fire rather than deal with it.

  1. When you drop things off at Goodwill, be sure you don’t go inside. You will just wind up buying more things, maybe even some of what you took there.

    • The store where I drop off doesn’t keep everything they get – I asked about it. This one is mostly clothing. (I did see some beautiful prom dresses here) very minimal furniture, lamps and wall art of the lowest quality but the dishes and glassware look good.

  2. I started the simplification project five years ago. It took several years to get my wife to buy in, and longer to convince her that organizing is not the same as simplifying. Like you, a lot of the clutter is my own, but now the attic is reasonably cleaned out and managable, and my basement workshop is a work in progress. It feels good, and I’m constantly surprised at how much I don’t miss things that I got rid of.

    • I know this is going to be a long process. I’ve been trying to thin out 4 drawers in the dining room for a week now and with the exception of the tablecloths mentioned above I just seem to be moving stuff around.

  3. Just be careful what u give away is not later determined to be a national treasure on Antiques Roadshow. That’s always the story – someone buys ‘Junk’ for 50cents at Goodwill and it’s worth a half million! 🙂

    LOVE the idea of the drive in Goodwill store. Wish we had one here.

    I’m a natural thrower-awayer. Hubby the man who never throws a thing away. Good luck!!

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