Tuesday, February 17, 2015

One Person's Clutter Is the Next Person's Treasure

There’s lots of talk, and gnashing of teeth, no doubt, about clutter (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/16/opinion/the-clutter-cures-illusory-joy.html?ref=opinion). Every so often—not as often as Gilda would like, more often than I can calmly take—the woman I live with feels compelled to lighten our load. No matter how attached I might be to an object she’s determined to make room.

Our most recent bout was over a wood cutting board. Admittedly, neither of us had used the slab, in say, more than a decade, since we redid our kitchen. But I still saw value in it. Some background: I prefer thin boards sized about 8x10 inches. Gilda favors a mix of thicker boards, large and small. The board in question matched my preference. I reluctantly permitted it to be removed from the cutting board drawer last evening. I could not find it this morning. I thought she had surreptitiously thrown it out. Later today she confessed to stashing it near the microwave.

I admit, I’m a pack rat. Objects stay in my closet long after their useful life has passed. I’ve got numerous suits, sports jackets and dress pants hanging in my closets (note the plural, not on suits, for goodness sake, but on closets necessary to store my wardrobe) despite the fact that since I retired nearly six years ago I have worn a suit or sports jacket but a few times a year. I can’t explain why I keep them. It’s not as if I am preserving them for my next job.

I’ve got stuff in the attic waiting for my kids and their spouses to come around to my taste in home furnishings. Ha!

Most hard liquor doesn’t spoil. Good thing. Inside our liquor cabinet is a bottle of gin left over from Dan’s bris party 36 years ago!

Gilda and I try to adhere to the buy one-dump one strategy. We are somewhat successful, gauging from the charity deduction we take each year. But proper hoarding, neatly packed and labeled stuff, can be an asset.

Take Legos, for example. We packed up Dan’s Legos in his early teens. They slumbered (I’m using a humanizing verb because of all the small Lego people stored away, people who are now worth quite a bit more than when we bought them some 25-30 years ago). They were hibernating in the attic until a year ago when Finley was old enough to appreciate the saved and now resuscitated treasure trove of people and interlocking pieces. Legos have supplanted a riding front loader as the first toy he runs to when he visits.