Custom Search

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Congestion: The Causes

Are you still congested? So said the half-asleep Mr FS. He was referring to my recent annoying illness. Yes, I'm OK. The cure for that is usually sleep.

Ah, but what about the other kind of congestion, that which plagues my living space and--judging from all the storage facilities I spy (no, I am not a user)--the living spaces of many, many others.

To mis-allude to that famous literary opening. All clutter looks alike. All families get to clutter in their own way.

My congestion is particularly acute this year. After seeing a bunch of stuff whoosh out when Frugal Son got his apartment in New Orleans, we saw a bigger bunch of stuff whoosh in when we dismantled my late and missed father-in-law's home in California. We were the last of the children to go. Even though the family is somewhat unconventional (in some ways), they are all materialists. They LOVE STUFF.

Of a particular sort. If the stuff had been valuable (conventional in a way), it would have been emotionally and practically easy to sell. If it had been conventional (mass-produced stuff from mid-priced venues), it would have been easy to donate. But what about handmade furniture and rugs? Handmade sweaters? These have no value on the resale market, yet much value on the emotional market.

And what about eccentric collections--like a bunch of bells on a handmade wooden tower? Or a bunch of bird calls. Or things made of interesting types of wood?

Looking back, being the last of three visitors was a vulnerable position for an unconventional person of a materialistic nature. Mr FS intoned: I just can't stand thinking of it going to a stranger. A dangerous sentence. And--since we were last--if we didn't take it, no one would.

We contracted a PART of a truck: 9 by 5 by something. Mr FS proved to have unanticipated skills in fitting things into tiny spaces IN-BETWEEN. Truly, unpacking was like watching all the clowns emerge from a tiny car at the circus.

We're working on the clutter. Making some headway. I finally found a spot for that bell thing. It is nice to look at. And we now have a new addition to the family lexicon.

One piece of pie left over? I can't stand to think of it going to a stranger. Or how about the last bite of mashed potatoes? Ditto.

The cure for clutter, of course, is donation. As we (in spite of the above sentence) gather things (our things) to donate to various thrift stores to make way for the emotionally resonant items that came in, we remember this beautiful sentiment:

You shall neither wrong a stranger, nor oppress him: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.


Shelley said...

Sorry to hear you've been ill. Emotionally-laden baggage is very tough. I'm finally able to donate bits without feeling I've betrayed anyone. I ask myself if I would actually purchase it; does it enrich my life? I can also recommend this book, Lessons in Letting Go: Confessions of a Hoarder, by Corinne Grant. I'm not suggesting you're a hoarder, but she does nail many of the feelings I've had about things-people. Good luck with passing on your bounty. Or finding ways to incorporate pieces into your home (decorate the walls?).

Kare said...

I never recovered from dismantling a family home. I was doing so well before that event occurred. The urge to reduce is very strong this year. It is very hard being Mom storage to three children. I am often criticized when I ask the kids to come and sort their stuff. I can see a U-haul following me to the graveyard! LOL!

Duchesse said...

Been there too!

Most heirs keep a certain amount and either give some to the next generation or divest it. It may take some time to be prepared to let go.

And unique or idiosyncratic things can indeed be treasured by someone else.