It finally occurred to me: my drawers, closets and the garage were a total mess.Things I don't wear anymore, things I don't use anymore. Just things. I don't need "things" any longer. They just leave a disaster behind for someone else to clean up and dispose of. And I know from whereof I speak. I did it for my parents. Even after we took the few things each of us wanted, we ended up tossing an enormous amount of things in a pile in the center of their living room. I was shocked. It nearly reached the ceiling. Guess what? Our children won't want most of what we treasure. We didn't, so why would mine? Sure, my daughter says she wants this collection of silver topped jars (they were my mother's):
but who's going to keep them polished? And where will she display them in her small NYC apartment? Not only that, I own a gorgeous tea set including the tray with all the bells and whistles and it's stored in my sideboard. Has been for years. I decided to sell it as I never use it and it was rejected by the local auction house plus two consignment shops! When I passed that info along to my daughter, she was incensed and called someone she knew at Sotheby's, sent photos and information. No thank you was the answer. Better to keep family heirlooms in the family. (In other words, yours is not the quality we require or....we have so many in stock we can't sell them. Nobody wants them anymore.) I haven't completely given up hope....I'm still thinking eBay for those silver topped jars.
Another prime example of cluttering is books, all kinds: my mother had cookbooks galore. For the most part, my sister and I between us already had the same cookbooks and didn't want hers. But they were good ones and in perfect condition. Hated calling 800gotjunk to unload them. Libraries don't want them. So what did I do? I piled them in the trunk of my car and everywhere I went for the next month, I announced I had free cookbooks in the car. Eventually, they were gone. And right now in my garage? Several large boxes of books and encyclopedias. (Does anyone use those anymore?) Well, that car trunk full of books trick isn't going to happen with my kids. Disposing of estates would be simpler if the family lived in the area, but mine don't and they have jobs. No free time. I ended up giving away nearly 60 cookbooks in the last month. My cookbook giveaways piled high:
I kept the very best and my cookbook shelf, formerly jammed with books, now looks like this:
So nice to bring some of my majolica pieces out of the dark cabinet and use them, plus other odds an ends from our travels. Will I miss the cookbooks? Not really...I had already put the best recipes on my computer.
And when I pass on....most of the things on these shelves will no doubt end up in a dumpster. Hopefully, not the majolica. Remind me to make a list of the better pieces.
The family won't have the time to sort or the money to waste on shipping furniture.
Next I moved to the bathroom cabinets and drawers. An easy enough sort, although among other things, I ended up throwing out about 20 various bars of decorative soaps I had been saving for years. Saving for what??! Sheets, towels, why did I have so many? Nothing matched either. Salvation Army got bags full.
Then I started on clothes, shoes and coats. My mother used to say: dispose of anything you haven't worn in three years. So I did. Some went to consignment shops, the rest donated.
The kitchen was next. And difficult mentally because I am a food blogger and had to make some tough decisions. One thing was easy....I rarely entertain anymore so I got rid of a ton of things I had purchased over the years for parties. Small plates and glasses, serving plates I bought at Pier One. Nothing valuable, but all taking up space. And....things my kids would dump anyway. (Have you gone through your spice cabinet lately? OMG.)
Would you believe the most difficult was the garage? That's where we put everything we don't have room for in the house. Hem. Cache-pots galore...gone. Old books....gone. Old picture frames. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring myself to dump scrapbooks and old yearbooks.....good thing, too, as we had our 60th HS reunion this month and the committee used lots of my photos. On the other hand, who's going to want all that crap when I'm gone? I've already sorted the kids' photos and distributed them to each. Doubtful my kids will look at my old yearbooks, or VHS's (!) of old super 8 film my uncle took when I was a child. Yawn.
One thing I am grateful is done: the Christmas decorations and ornaments in the attic. My daughter and I sorted through them all last Christmas. And dumped. She'll thank me later.
Are you wondering right about now why I didn't have a garage sale? Not allowed in my gated community. But I did give a great deal to friends who I'm sure plan to have a garage sale in the near future. I was grateful to get those boxes out of the garage.
Didn't the consignment shops take anything? No. They might, they said, take my set of Christmas Spode with matching glasses if I brought it in next fall. But only if it is a full set...nothing missing.
Did anyone want my depression glass dessert plates? I had about 40. No.
I think one of the problems with consignment shops in South Florida is everyone moves down here, decides to simplify their life and all the heavy furniture and "things" brought from the north end up in consignment warehouses. They are chock full and getting more and more particular about what they take. Can't say I blame them.
What I'm trying to say here is this: Nobody, but nobody wants your stuff. Oh...there are a few things, like my little cane collection. (The kids will fight over that monkey with teeth...it was my grandfather's. Maybe. I'm probably wrong about that, too.)
Some art on the walls. Perhaps the majolica. My sterling silver flatware.
But for the most part, things YOU think are valuable, are not. It is a humbling experience and a great lesson to remember.
No, I'm not ill. But it's only a matter of time and I wanted to thin out the flotsam of my life while I have energy and the will to do it.
Those "things" are not worth
Your family is.
Your friends are.
(BTW: Do you know anyone who wants an armoire?)