For the record, I don’t collect Hummels.

Oddly enough I spent a few moments in an antique store recently with my family, probably because it was next to an ice cream store and I was virtuously shunning the calories. My son called me over to a display cabinet full of the cherub-cheeked figurines, thinking that I must love Hummels since I have  six of them. My emphatic “No! I don’t want any more Hummels!” startled at least a few other customers lusting after nearby TTD’s (Things To Dust).  I inherited mine and treasure the memories they bring of my grandmother and aunt, but I truly hope they don’t reproduce.

Lately, in fact, I have been gleefully shedding clutter. I call it my de-nesting phase, since my youngest child is going away to college soon, but I’ve noticed it’s a trend with many people these days, especially those around my magical age. I’ve spent thirty years accumulating, the house is full, and I don’t use 80% of what I own. Beyond Hummels, here’s a quick rundown of the worst offenses:

Media: Three bags of books went to the library last week–a mere subcategory in the Dewey decimal system of my life. My Kindle can hold 3200 books and display any recipe on the Internet. Any movie old enough to be on VHS is old enough to be on Netflix. Four years ago I bought a device to transfer my LP’s to CD and haven’t used it yet–nor have I played any of the LP’s.

Clothes:  I have finally acknowledged I won’t lose THAT many pounds before those clothes become vintage. Someone else will delight in finding them in a thrift store.

Lotions: I like to get my money’s worth out of a hotel, and it is fun to have a collection of scents to fit any mood.  My go-to scent, however,  is that delicious cherry almond of Jergen’s Lotion, and one bottle of it lasts me several years.

Candles: The flaming chalice is the symbol of my Unitarian-Universalist church, and in lieu of grace (which brings back terrifying childhood memories of having to sing grace for my family so they could chuckle over my sweet little voice) I light a candle before dinner. That means I need one candle in the house, not two hundred.

Photos: This one’s tough; I’m not going to throw away any family photos. I have a slide scanner to scan the best and make them into nice multimedia slideshows and store them in the Cloud so that I won’t lose them in a fire. Cf the LP to CD paragraph above.

Sheet music: If I picked up one part of a double choir motet at a music workshop, I can’t play it with my ensemble.  If I managed to acquire a score for a quartet and haven’t made three more copies, I still can’t play it with my ensemble. My first recorder workshop was twenty years ago in February. I have a lot of worthless sheet music.

Financial records: April 16 should be a national holiday day dedicated to throwing out records more than three years old–or is it seven–except for stock purchase records, and improvements made to the house that affect its value and…well they publish articles about what to keep every spring, but I don’t know where I put the latest. It’s probably filed somewhere.

The Attic, otherwise known as the Black Hole: Toys, books, baby clothes, and handmade baby blankets for the mythical grandchildren whose parents probably have completely different taste. Those may go onto E-Bay, though–I just found out what a vintage copy of Dr. Goat is worth. Christmas decorations–no, I don’t collect snowmen or antique Santas either, and no one is willing to climb on the roof to hang lights anymore. Luggage–might as well get rid of the suitcases without wheels that don’t fit in overhead bins. And wait–is that a spare roll of the ugly grey carpet we pulled out ten years ago?

This is all just the tip of the iceberg, of course, and I’m not even a candidate for Hoarders. I’m making progress, though. I sent my son’s collection of shot glasses home with him and got permission to throw out the baseball trophies.

Paintball, anyone?


Author: 1womanretreat

Kathryn is a freelance writer, musician, and Latin tutor based in the Sierra foothills. She enjoys performing and teaching early music on recorder and flute.

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