Monday, April 15, 2013

Goodbye to all that

At some point, in fact right around my 50th birthday, I lost my appetite for collecting stuff.  Old furniture, vintage "collectibles", dishes, textiles, all piled up in the garage or basement, or sat on display, cluttering the upstairs rooms.

Many of these were project pieces, waiting for refinishing or repair. Some were house components, like brass faucets, a charming kitchen nook or a built-in display cabinet, intended for a role in the renovation that never seemed to begin. Things that would be cleverly repurposed, in ways I had seen in some magazine or other. There were also lots of documents, files and books of course, from my actual work. Every time I saw them I felt a little bit guilty and stressed for not getting the job done, or for the space they were taking up.

All at once it dawned on me that these jobs would never get done. There would never been enough space to deploy the things I collected, even if they were fixed. We were going to need less space and less stuff as time went on, not more.

So gradually the stash has been shrinking; at each annual garage sale another layer of stuff sold off, dragged to the curb and plastered with a "free" sign, or hauled off in the trunk of the car for donation at Value Village.

With the renovation getting started, over the last few weeks a few final things got the heave-ho. Things I'd been more reluctant to part with. An Art Deco-styled table that never really went with anything else.  Extra drum parts that Johnny doesn't need. A colonial-style hutch that was one of my mom's auction bargains in Winnipeg. My brother brought it out to the coast for me, in his broken down van, after the folks died. I finally realized I don't need the actual hutch to remember the parents' resourcefulness, or my brother's kindness.

It is such a relief.

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