This Vintage Life Lines is from the last time I redecorated...the very last time!
I’m redecorating. I know, I know. Friends have already reminded me that I said I’d never do this again. I’m only doing two rooms this time, but I’ve already reached the “What Was I Thinking” stage.
In the midst of the chaos and clutter, I’m trying to turn this into a positive experience. Remodeling requires cleaning out cabinets and decluttering walls, so I’ve decided to take the process to its logical conclusion and have a garage sale in October, which is--gulp--only two weeks away. I have to clean out the whole house in the next two weeks.
As I dig out old lids for pans I threw away 10 years ago and mysterious cords I’ve kept because the devices they were once plugged into may suddenly reappear, I’m wondering why I’ve kept all this junk in the first place. But as every amateur hoarder knows, there are logical reasons for our collections of junk.
We keep stuff because we may need it later. If I bought another pan like the one I threw away and it didn’t have a lid, I would need that lid I saved. What if I found that webcam we bought 13 years ago and needed the cord? I might go back to teaching and need the 42,000 paper clips I’ve saved--or the 27,000 rubber bands.
If the air conditioning went out, I’d be looking for that pile of funeral home fans I collected. If Revlon stopped making lipstick, I’d still have all these tubes of Apricot Frost that I’ve used down to the rim and tossed in a drawer.
My parents preached against waste all their lives. I listened. So when the next Depression hits, I’ll have plenty of empty Cool Whip tubs and used Walmart bags to get through it.
I’ve found half-empty bottles of makeup that I stashed away in the back of a drawer because the color was wrong for me. But what if I turn that color this year? That Sparkling Mousey Brown foundation could just be my shade!
I also find myself keeping things just because I’ve had them for a long time. I don’t use them; I may not even like them, but they’ve become part of the scenery in my home, and I begin to feel that they belong on that table or in that corner and can’t be moved.
This time I’m trying to prioritize. So I’m getting rid of the alabaster ashtray that I got in college when everybody smoked. The blue heart-shaped box is going, along with the oriental do-dads. I don’t smoke, and I’m tired of dusting.
I’ve already sold the teacart that was an antique when I bought it over 40 years ago. For the last 30 years I just saw it as “dining room furniture.” But I don’t serve tea from a cart. At my house you’re lucky to even get it in a clean glass. And I’m over my English drawing room phase of decorating.
The wooden silver chest can go. With the price of silver, my sterling is too valuable to keep at home anymore. I just get it out of the safe deposit box at the bank when I’m having company and take it back when they leave. So goodbye, empty box.
In all my digging, I’ve found some things that I kept because someone special gave them to me. I don’t need the two little brass ducks on that shelf anymore. I don’t have time to polish the green off of them. Ditto the silver plated trays. They were from nice people we knew years ago, but it’s time they left home.
I kept some things only because they seemed too expensive to get rid of, but a thing is not valuable if I can’t use it.
That would include several costly oriental rugs baptized by the dogs that are now the wrong color--and odor--for the new rooms. Ditto for the lithograph of a ship and some Mexican pots I paid too much for.
I’m trying to get my husband involved in the decluttering, but that isn’t working out too well. He insists that he wants to keep looking at the pot-bellied stove he bought years ago that has never been fired up. And he refused to let me put the Mississippi picture books in the For Sale stack, even thought we’ve already seen the pictures. But I guess he has his own logic for hanging on to his junk.
Like most couples, we each feel that our own hoarding makes complete sense, while our mate’s clutter is unreasonable and useless.
I’ve decided that keeping stuff is a form of control. If it’s in a pile somewhere, I’ll always have it. The trouble is, by the time I need it, I can’t find it under all the other stuff, and I don’t remember putting it there in the first place. So I’m trying to let go.
But if you come to my garage sale and I only have a couple of old pot lids, a few funeral home fans and a broken comb on my sale table, you’ll know that I just couldn’t make myself part with my real treasures.
Who knows, crocheted toilet seat covers might come right back into style.