My husband and I had a conversation the other day about how we’ve gotten so much stuff and how hard it is to get rid of it. He was helping out at the gallery’s tag sale today and took donations with him. I donated a few more things to the swap shop and made 2 dump runs of recycles, yard waste, etc. today too.
The realization I came to a little while ago was this: I was raised by an engineer, who talked about design, how things worked or didn’t — all the time. Everything from chairs, to lights to airplanes, to street paving equipment was fodder for Dad’s design discourse. So I was taught to view almost everything with an eye to its design, good or bad.
Accordingly, I am attracted to things I think are designed well, WHETHER I NEED THEM or FIT MY PERSONAL TASTE, or not. And I am reluctant to get rid of things which fit that category, whether they are practical for my home or not. The candelabra (which hadn’t sold as of yesterday) is like that. Some thing else like this is two sets of glass door knobs I’ve had for 10+ years now. I like door knobs like these:
(The image are new ones.) For years they were all but impossible to find or insanely expensive. Mine are old ones. I love them, and they won’t work, or won’t work easily in my home. Where I had anticipated using them was the closets: one in the hallway and one on the landing. But my knobs are so old they won’t work that way because there’s no provision for latches.
Anyway, both the candelabra and these knobs are the same type of thing. I love the design of them, love the objects, but I really have no practical way to use them in my home. That automatically makes them clutter, because they’re just being stored, unused. And so I should cull them and really, really do NOT want to.
DH is the child of an engineer too, but he’s also an artist. So we both have the “good design” problem. We get things because we admire the design of the object, without a clear need for it or any notion of where it will be used or put away. We know there’s no way we can get/keep/store/afford to buy all the things we like.
The first or second or third culling isn’t hard. Duplicated, broken objects, things you no longer remember why you bought or kept are easy. After that, for me, it gets down to things like the glass door knobs, which I still love and still want to use, and know that if I’m being an adult, I’ll need to shed more than a candelabra and 2 sets of door knobs, but it’s no longer easy.
This isn’t because I think the stuff is valuable. It isn’t because I have a sentimental attachment to them, both of which are the most common things people seem to think hoarding is about. Nope. I just plain love these as objects and I have nowhere to use them. Unless I find a way to use them (I have an idea which might work.) they need to go. DH was talking about wiring the candelabra and putting it in the stairway, the only place really big enough for it. . . . if it hasn’t sold . . . ? So, we may actually keep and use both the door knobs and the candelabra, but we also know we can’t keep that up. At some point, we’re going to be selling or giving away things we love.
I’ve gotten past the “I really like this and I’d like to keep it” things. In most cases, other people really like those things too — the stuff I pull from here which I had intended to keep usually sells before things I buy for resale. The last one was a small standing black metal crow. I’d kept it for a while and finally went, “Halloween is coming and I do not need this, although I like it quite a bit.” Yep, it sold in a week or so.
But I’d really like to use my glass door knobs!