Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stuffed full of stuff

I like to say that, every year, you  should pretend you’re moving and ruthlessly go through your stuff.

While I like to say it, I rarely listen to myself saying it

And, so, I continue to accumulate stuff.

This year, however, as I plan a kitchen and bathroom makeover, and an all-over spruce up (paint, window treatments), I am going to have to go through every junk drawer, every cabinet, every bookcase, and every Fibber McGee closet and aggressively cull things out.

I’ve already done one sweep through the kitchen, so I no longer have the purple cow creamer and two fish molds.

Now I have to really get moving.

It will definitely be so long to the hideous bowl from the Genuity iWinner trip to Hawaii in 2001. And just what was I hanging on to this for anyway? I’ve never used it, and rarely look at it. I’d include a picture here, but it’s way up there above the kitchen cabinet, and the stepstool’s on the other floor. But once that stepstool is back where it belongs, that ugly bowl will be going, going, gone.

I do have to ask myself just how ruthless I’ll be willing to be when it comes to those cute little green-stemmed wine glasses that came from both my mother and my Aunt Margaret. They hold not much more than a sip of wine, and everyone I knows likes more than a sip. I’m betting they’ll stay – for now.

Also on the block are my husband’s books. If there were any possibility on the face of the earth that I would actually read any of them, I’d hang on. But economics, econometrics, physics, math, statistics, finance, philosophy, philosophy of science? I’d be reading the toothpaste ingredients before I’d crack any of theses tomes, however desperate the moment of 2 a.m. desperation when I found myself with no reading matter and the ‘net was down so I couldn’t load up my Kindle.

I’ve already unloaded as many of Jim’s books as I can, but what remains are orphans of the storm.

I’m sure I could find an adoptive home for them, but they’re all marked up with copious marginalia and underlining – all in Jim’s hallmark red ink and sweetly childlike handwriting.

I will keep a few for sentimental reasons. But most of them gotta go.

I thinned my own book herd a few years back, finally getting rid of moldering paperbacks I’d hung onto since high school. Did I really need to keep a 50 year old paperback that cost sixty-cents to begin with? And is going to cause a sneezing fit if I open it and the pages crumple to dust when I turn them?

Fortunately, my stuff accumulation is not all that extensive, given that our condo is only a bit over 1200 square feet in size, and we’ve thankfully never done the rented storage thing.

But rented storage is a very big thing.

Across the U.S., meanwhile, the number of self-storage warehouses has more than doubled in the last 15 years as Americans have inched closer to grasping our manifest destiny to fill every inch with last year’s styles. There are 48,500 storage facilities in the U.S., making it physically possible, in the somewhat creepy formulation of an industry trade group, for "every American [to] stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing."  (Source: Bloomberg)

Well, that would certainly be a kumbaya moment to end all, would it not? (“Someone’s shopping, Lord. Kumbaya. Oh, Lord, Kumbaya.”)

I learned about the canopy of storage roofing in an article I saw on how new luxury buildings in NYC are selling basement storage cages that are going for upwards of $2,000 per square foot.

Of course, if you’re paying $10 million for an apartment, $300,000 for some storage space is not even frosting on the cake, it’s just sprinkles on the frosting. And you do need someplace to store your old Birkin bags.

Still, to spend that much on storage, you’d have to have something worth storing. No Birkin bags here, I’m afriad, but my worth-its might be the green-stemmed wine glasses (sentimental value), but that Hawaii bowl would definitely have to go.


Frederick Wright said...

My spouse and I have been minimalists for a very long time - it started out of necessity, my first job out of college required relocating overseas, again and again and again. We simply adapted to living with far fewer possessions, and investing far less emotion in physical items, and now that we're comfortable settled in middle age it is just habit. Even so, it is astonishing how rapidly random unwanted stuff accumulates. We certainly don't buy any, but at some point over this year we've received upwards of eight espresso sets. Five Waterford crystal vases. Glass cheese platters galore. All of it will be purged.

trixie said...

Hmm - I still have my Hawaii bowl from that trip too. Also doing the purge this summer so maybe we should donate them as a set?