I’m not a hoarder, I’m a collector
PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK
Much can be accumulated in 25 years. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to call it hoarding, the amount of plants, books, kids’ artwork, filing, greeting cards, flower pots, board games, VCR tapes, DVDs, CDs, and PS3 cartridges, even old vinyl LPs that we’ve amassed are long overdue for a proper reckoning.
As we slowly transition into a somewhat smaller house, the need to brutally pare stuff from my past life is not optional – it’s mandatory. Since the holiday break, I’ve been re-examining everything I’ve held onto and trying to embrace the whole Marie Kondo thing and rather than jettisoning things that don’t bring me joy, I’m tossing them purely on the logic that I just don’t have room in the new house.
This seems reasonable but I come from a long line of hangers-onto and not throw-outers. My grandfather had a saying – “If it doesn’t eat, keep it.”
Not only am I sorting through decades of my own life, I’m going through boxes of my mother’s stuff that I’ve been keeping for her since her last move into a seniors’ residence. Remember, this condition is hereditary. Oh, and my father’s old slide projector and decade’s worth of slides from his many business trips and travels.
My house is currently upside-down as I sift through generations of sentimental flotsam, giving it all one final appraisal before I decide its next fate and I’ve sort of devised a system.
All the albums I purchased just for the one song I liked – gone.
The stacks of books that threaten to topple and seriously injure one of the dogs – packed up for donation. (I’d like to take this moment to point out there’s a big difference between buying books and reading books.)
Moving the bookcases and other large pieces of furniture has revealed more dust than I’d like to admit, along with tumbleweeds of dog hair and heads, eyes, limbs and stuffing from toutous that the dogs have chewed apart.
Baby clothes. Who am I kidding? My youngest is now 6-feet, 2-inches tall and weighs about 180 lbs. That cute little onesie with the hippos and giraffes on it doesn’t fit him anymore.
Art supplies. I guess at one point it made sense to hang onto crayons, pastels, oils and acrylics along with dozens of pencil crayons, markers and gouache. Same for construction paper, stickers, and that weird collection of scissors that would cut different shaped lines. All these purchases seemed like a good idea at one point in time.
We’re fortunate that most people have embraced the concept of ‘thrifting’ in recognition of the fact that it’s both better for the planet and your own pocketbook and it brings me some comfort to know that the onesies, blankets, and Oshkosh B’Gosh overalls left such an impression on my heart will help keep another little one comfy and warm.
The books will be read and appreciated by someone else, as will the large, if somewhat eclectic, music collection. The puzzles and board games may end up at someone’s summer cottage to be enjoyed on a rainy day. The extra dishes, art supplies, and linens are up for grabs at your local church basement and years of tchotchkes will hopefully adorn the shelves of someone else’s home. I couldn’t bear to let my own dogs chew up my kids old toutous – it just seems a little brutal. Instead, I’ve convinced myself that they’ll become beloved companions in someone else’s childhood.
I’m sure Marie Kondo would be proud.