Sunday, 20 July 2014

Having just begun to

clear out my friend's unit and having just read the post about clearing out on another friend's blog I am more aware than ever that we need to do some clearing out here.
Yes, we need to do it. We have too many possessions. Some of them have not been used for years. We have kept them because "they might be useful one day".
No, they won't be.
I recently divested myself of large quantities of donated knitting yarn. Some of the good stuff in colours that were not suitable for garments (think worse than mustard yellow) was passed on to the elderly woman who knits the squares for the blankets our bookshop knitting group puts together for charity. The other yarn, acrylic and poor quality fibre in general, was given away or sold for charitable purposes. It had been given to me and I did not want to even try and use it. I have enough yarn. I did not need it. If I am going to make something then I want to make it from good quality yarn, yarn that will last. Am I yarn snob? Probably.
But there are other things. We seem to have an extensive collection of tea and coffee mugs. The Senior Cat drinks tea from a tea cup with a saucer. He disapproves of tea in mugs. At breakfast time he drinks coffee - in a mug. It is always the same mug. I drink from a mug too - always the same mug.
I have a small collection of cat, sheep and knitting mugs. People have given them to me. I do not wish to part from them. The Senior Cat has been given mugs too - one which says "Real men like cats" is the large one he will, on occasion, take out to the shed. If I removed that he would be most distressed. Sigh. How do I get rid of any of our "too many" mugs?
There are other things too. We have too many books. How do you part with a book?
I have, over the years, gradually managed to get rid of kitchen things I did not want and never used. I have not missed them. The same would probably be true of a great many other things - if I could find the courage.
So, I sympathised with the Senior Cat. He has been indoors because it has simply been too cold to be out. While I was doing shopping and banking and bill paying the other day he decided to clear out the drawer that still has things in it belonging to my mother.
He pulled everything out. He looked at it. He brought out one handbag thinking my sister or I might use it. And then, yes - he put the rest back in the drawer. He could not give it away.
The handbag was left on a chair. It was, finally, given to someone else yesterday. I hope she uses it. I wouldn't. My sister wouldn't. It is, I suppose, "retro" enough for a young one - and it looks new.
But, it had me thinking again. I can't ask the next generation to take the responsibility - or feel guilty about giving things away.
So, I'll try...but where do I start?


Anonymous said...

Having been part of the team who cleared out my parents house, I suspect it was easier for us than it would have been for them. We didn't always know the stories and memories attached to some things.

We all found things we wanted to keep, or wanted to give to someone ... the rest was sorted and went to op shops, and it wasn't the easiest thing I have done, but it wasn't near as difficult as I thought it might be. It was helped by op shop staff in several places were most appreciative of the donations.

With my stuff, I will let the kids know what may be worth selling, who I would like to get some things, and then they can load the rest up to take to some op shops.

Cathy said...

One of the things that makes me sad going to the flea market here in Geneva is how often one sees an entire person's life chucked into cartons with people mauling it as they sift through, looking for their bargain. Often one can tell a lot about the person by what's there and books play a large part in that. There are lovely collections which a relative (one supposes) has relegated to the junk man. It isn't that they are valuable, but they were the mark of the man, if you like.

PS: books are the last thing that would go in our place, but there is a pile of books we don't want and we do give them away from time to time. Not nearly enough to make up for what we buy! But I would never give away books just to make room, for example.

jeanfromcornwall said...

Be careful! In her later years, my Mum would let us go through the things - photos, papers, and all sorts, and say with a small guilty laugh - "You are going to have to sort all this out sometime"
In her last couple of years, she was a bit less clear, and also decided to do a bit of sorting herself, to spare me. One of the things that had vanished, when I got to do the job, as the big roll of paper where she had gathered all her research, and drawn out the family trees, with all the dates. I have a lot of rough notes, and scribblings, but the finished article has gone.

JO said...

I had to clear my house before I went AWOL for a year. It's wonderful how much you can get risk off - though I was so embarrassed at the quantity taken to charity shops I ended up creeping down at night and leaving bags on the doorsteps. But books - no, most of them were in boxes in the roof!

But the biggest lesson - just how little I need. I've never been acquisitive (except for books) and now jettison everything, even presents, if I don't need them.