Where does stuff go when it dies, does it go to stuff heaven? ~ George Carlin
Last week I mentioned the cookware I bought for myself in college to start off my adventure in housekeeping. That set of pots and pans was seriously just about all that I owned as I began my post graduate life. The summer after I graduated, I worked at Methodist Hospital (I rode my bike there and back) and lived at home to save money before moving to Dallas and getting a job there. Once in Dallas, thanks to a friend who lived there, I found both a job and an apartment in an old quadruplex on the bus line (I had no car). My parents gave me an old mattress set, and I brought my desk and a chair or two. That was about it. The apartment came with a dining table and chairs, and the kitchen had a “murphy table” which folded down from the wall, revealing the narrow spice rack.
Joel’s mom came to the rescue with all sorts of furniture and dishes that she magically pulled out of her garage: a chest of drawers and mirror, a cedar chest, an upholstered chair that folded out into a single bed, a rocking chair, and two side tables. Anything she offered to me, I gratefully took. Plates, glassware, stainless flatware followed. Then came an old gas heater that looked like a fireplace, as the apartment had no heat (did I mention that the rent was only $125 a month?).
She was on a mission, and thrived on looking for items that Joel or I might need in our respective apartments. One of her favorite things to do was troll garage sales. I never said no to anything she found and offered to us.
Once I had saved a little money, I bought myself a small black and white TV. Then came a sofa bed and some cheapo, assemble it yourself bookshelves, all paid for over time. Things were starting to look pretty good!
Then Joel and I married, and he and all his STUFF moved in, in addition to all of our wedding gifts. Hmmm. We were starting to have too much STUFF in this one tiny apartment. But we kept thinking that we’d be moving into a bigger space, and would find a place for everything.
After Joel graduated from law school, we moved back to Houston and lived in a series of houses, each larger than the last one (with one exception). My mother in law kept at it, finding a dining table, sideboard, settee, and then she gave us her old piano. When her cousin passed away, we inherited a large four poster bed, a comfy upholstered chair and ottoman, an immense dining table (stretches out from 4 feet square to 4 x 12 feet long) and chairs, along with more dishes and glassware. And STUFF.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the family pieces that have been handed down to us over the years. They are our history, and they make our house a home, which is unique in this day of matching suites of furniture that are not nearly as well made as they used to be.
But then it came time for both moms to downsize and move out of their houses to smaller places. More STUFF appeared. Later, Joel’s mom moved into the nursing area of the community, and even MORE STUFF has been piled into our garage. Now I understand why Joel’s mom’s garage was full, and I’ve turned into her! This has been a serious tipping point in my life.
Our 3 car garage now has only enough room to fit 1 car. Once Shannon has determined what she does or does not want, then she will help me get rid of it, one way or another. It is way past time to begin divesting instead of continually acquiring. I want my garage back!