Monday, August 15, 2011

Donating!

So the wine tour went better than I could have expected, mostly, and at my request yesterday we had a day where we didn't have a single obligation. We went to a hoity-toity, super-granola farmer's market in one of the richest suburbs of my city, and split a piece of cake for breakfast (and a $3, naturally-sourced, fair-trade, ethical-sugar-in-the-raw cup of coffee). Then we went and checked out Border's, which was a depressing wasteland playing loud country music (in an effort to keep people from browsing too long?), where a lady pretended for eleven minutes to not realize that I, too, was trying to look at the single shelf of knitting books.

Then we came home, and Andy suggested we tackle the office. I gasped.

The office, since we moved in, has been the room where things just get dumped. The door stays closed most of the time, so it's really easy to chuck stuff in there before company arrives and then just add more stuff on top. It also has bunches of drawers that end up full of bizarre, unrelated things, and a closet that a whole lot of crap, most of which we didn't use. Of late, the office has also been the room that holds all the baby stuff people have donated, which is not an insignificant list.

So we cleaned it out yesterday! Here's a picture of about two-thirds of the stuff that will be heading to Salvation Army when Andy gets home:
That's my kitchen! Please don't rob me! You'll note the circa-2001 nineteen-inch TV/VCR combo there, and its companion DVD player is perched somewhat precariously on top of a bin full of VHS tapes. There's a shower rack thing that we don't use since Andy prefers the detachable-head shower thing (I don't care, because I can't reach the thing anyway). There are something like four sets of curtains in that gigantic trash bag, most of which were here when we moved in and which we stuck in the office closet "just in case," even though we hated them. There are also two pillows, some towels we've never liked, the old bedspread from the guest room, my prom dress, four too-big sportcoats that were hand-me-downs from Andy's dad, several old cell phones, a giant vase, and some cheap cookie sheets that have since been replaced with the good shit.

I thought I had written before about our differences in keep-vs.-donate, but I just searched for a solid ten minutes and found nothing, so my apologies if you've read this before and I just can't find the post. Andy is one of those guys who wants to hang onto things. More than once, he's asked me, indignantly, "What's wrong with stuff? I like stuff!" On the other hand, I subscribe to Unclutterer. To me, if we get a new coffeemaker, we should get rid of the old coffeemaker, period. To Andy, the old one worked fine, we just wanted one that ground beans fresh, so we should keep the old one in case the new one breaks or something. He wants to have a fall-back plan for a coffeemaker. And our old TV. And a metric shitton of t-shirts. There are some things I keep around: yarn, for example, and books, and sweaters (I'm always cold, so I have a dresser that's almost entirely full of sweaters). But other than that? Out it goes! Someone can use it! We don't need it!

Andy has gotten much better about this since we bought the house, I think. When we got married, we were given several picture frames, which sat on a shelf in the office (some without pictures) until yesterday. One of them was from Andy's grandma. It was heart-shaped china with little birds and flowers sticking off it and it was really, really ugly. It went with exactly zero things in our house. But Andy's grandma died not long after the wedding, so he wanted to keep the frame, even without a picture in it, even though he was the first one to point out it was hideous. Yesterday, he agreed that it was time for it to go. Same thing with the giant crystal frame that weighed more than Pancakes that we got from our neighbor, who has since died. He seems to be realizing that getting rid of things isn't being disloyal to the person's memory, and that there are better ways to remember Grandma (or the neighbor) than shuddering every time we look at that weird thing.

I told him I've been considering selling my wedding dress. He said that was fine with him either way, but that my wedding dress is the only physical thing he's seen me be sentimental about. That gave me pause, but I think he's right. I mean, I don't need to hang onto the first set of dishes we got, because they're cheap and crappy. I don't need to keep the skirt he got me for my birthday when we started dating, because it doesn't fit and my style has evolved a lot since then. Mostly, I think things are things and people are what's important.

I don't know where I'm going with this. I guess I'm glad to be getting rid of a truckload of crap that stressed me out every time I looked at it, and I'm glad Andy didn't feel coerced into donating things he felt were important (we're good middle children and discussed it more than once). I also feel glad that we're fortunate enough to be able to replace anything that we need to, even if we don't have a backup coffeemaker.

Where do you fall on the spectrum of Spartan, no-decorations-living and better-keep-this-complimentary-mug?

2 comments:

  1. I have a weird thing about keeping written things. I have all my notebooks and papers from college. And I have a hard time deleting emails from friends.

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  2. I am an unsentimental fool or not far enough evolved from middle school, I guess, because I found the notebooks my friends and I wrote in a few years ago, read a few entries, was mortified for all of us, and promptly recycled them. I do keep especially awesome emails, though, and encouraging things from friends.

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