Column: Clearing out treasuresA couple of weeks ago, I made a pledge to myself to declutter my life. More specifically, my home. You might think I would just be able to settle down and sort out stuff, toss the stuff I don’t use so much anymore. But I come from a long line of packrats. Throwing away treasures isn’t something I’m accustomed to.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
A couple of weeks ago, I made a pledge to myself to declutter my life. More specifically, my home.
You might think I would just be able to settle down and sort out stuff, toss the stuff I don’t use so much anymore. But I come from a long line of packrats. Throwing away treasures isn’t something I’m accustomed to.
It’s funny how your home fills up over time. When I moved into my place nine years ago, I had hand-me-down furniture from my parents. Most of my plates and glasses were garage sale purchases. I had new pots and pans, but my silverware was still the mismatched stuff I had in college. So were my bathroom towels.
I wanted something nice. I was a homeowner. I needed to make my home my own, and that included the contents. I began replacing the old with the new. I gave Mom and Dad their furniture back, got new, matching bath towels. While I was at it, I got a matching shower curtain, toothbrush holder and soap dispenser.
In a perfect world, I would have just gotten rid of the old when I got the new. But I held things, just in case.
Along the way, my parents sold the house I grew up in. They moved across town in Hastings, and their duplex is actually larger than the house was, but I’d be hard-pressed to think of a time when I haven’t at least brought back one bag of stuff since their move. I understand Mom didn’t see the need for my old Barbie dolls anymore, but after my sister beheaded them (and de-limbed them, too) I don’t know why Mom didn’t just throw them out. She sent it all back with me.
Then there are the collections. I have more than 300 shot glasses I’ll likely never use. They were cool in college, but those glasses haven’t even been out of the box since I moved. I’ve gotten quite a few new ones since, though.
There are things that friends and family – well meaning as they may have been – have come to associate with me: Peter Pan, shot glasses and turtles. When all else fails and it’s my birthday or Christmas or someone goes on a trip and brings a souvenir, I’ve gotten Peter Pan collectibles, shot glasses or turtles.
There are no fewer than 25 turtles in my living room alone. They’re giant pillows, candle holders, photo frames. They hold up planters, and hang from the sides of planters. A lot of them just sit. When I was 17 and in marching band, I stepped on one while we were in a Memorial Day parade in Hastings. Friends thought it was funny. Ever since, I’ve gotten a minimum of three a year.
So I made that pledge to myself to get some of the stuff out of my house. A couple of weeks back, I was sifting through one of the four bookcases in my home. I came across a book I’d gotten a few years ago called “Clutter’s Last Stand.” Apparently, I’ve been meaning to make this pledge for a while and kind of lost my motivation to a full bookcase. Ironic, huh?
One chapter in, and I knew I suffered from “junkitis,” as the book calls it. The more I read, though, the easier it is for me to get rid of all that stuff.
But Tuesday morning, I felt pretty good that two bags of clothes that don’t fit me anymore went to the Lupus Foundation. They got two boxes of old dishes and some old bedding, too, as well as a really cute pair of bunny ears from Easter two years ago. I figure to shove a few more boxes of goodies and bags of clothing to Goodwill or Camp Courage or Disabled American Veterans.
I get why my grandparents saved stuff – they lived through the Depression and kept things “just in case.” My folks both picked up that habit, to an extent, and passed it on to me. The way I figure it these days, I kept all that stuff just in case I can help out someone else. That makes it so much easier to get rid of all those treasures.