Skip to main content

Hoarding, up close and personal

First, let's get this out of the way: yesterday was a strength-training day and I did, indeed, lift some weights. Four-pound and eight-pound dumbbells for presses, rows and curls, and mumble-mumble pound bodyweight for tricep dips, lunges and squats. Yay, me!

Now on to the hoarding.

My husband has spent nearly every day for the past two weeks helping a family member declutter several rooms of the big old house in which she has lived for the past 70 years. I've not been involved, thank you God, because

  1. she's not my family member, and 
  2. I'd rather recycle than toss (meaning not much of it would get thrown away).

My husband has no qualms about throwing things away. Most of the time.

However this project has, to a degree, turned into one of moving the clutter from her generation to his, with the idea that the next generation might gain some value or benefit from it.

Please don't plan to visit me soon, as my guest room is now a museum of collectibles. There's a tattered silk Chinese scroll from World War II, a kitchen-trash-bag-liner full of spools of fabric ribbon, medical doo-dads from three generations of doctors, ephemera from the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle – stuff we can't let go of and, at the same time, we really don't want.

Well, except for the ribbon, but where in the hell am I going to put it?

The guest room is the repository of my husband's family memories, for the moment, and while I certainly agree with the idea of taking pictures of all that crap because, really, space is limited, neither one of us can just bag it up and kick it to the curb.

(However, I had no trouble bagging up 40-year-old stuffed Santa and Mrs. Claus decorations, each as tall as an eight-year-old. And while it bothered me to toss 50 plastic coat hangers into the landfill, I currently have more plastic coat hangers than I'll ever need, and so does the thrift store. I asked. Sometimes environmental awareness can be a curse.)
The ink looks black but it's really
blue. Can you figure out where it
came from? A museum? An event?
It's a mystery ...

One thing he brought home that is intriguing and that I genuinely like is a fabric tote bag, probably from a museum in New York. (Not that I need another tote bag. Sigh.) It's khaki-colored and printed (in Avant Garde, so I'm thinking '70s or '80s origin) in royal blue ink with the names of artists – Mondrian, Klee, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Matisse, Arp, Degas, Gauguin and more. The names span eras and genres. There also is a logo/symbol/hieroglyphic, probably representing the organization, but the name of the organization is not part of the logo, nor is it printed on the bag amongst the artists' names.

A fabric tag sewn into a seam sports the name and address of the Los Angeles manufacturer and "Made in U.S.A." It's probably a collectible simply because it wasn't made in China.

The downside to this project is that there. will. be. more. More clutter, more junk, more too-good-to-toss. More memories. It's not bad enough to call in Niecy Nash (that's how long it's been since I've watched Clean House, is that show even on any more?), but it's definitely beginning to bother me.

Already clutter-creep is invading my living area. The contents of my husband's father's doctor bag are spread out on a side table in my dining area. (Thirty-year old Band-Aids in a metal tin, anyone? And when's the last time you needed smelling salts?) The tote is slung artfully over a side chair in the living room.

I am going there today, but not to sort through the past. The basement is flooded. I'm pretty good with a wet-dry vac and I have a pair of muck boots, so I'll be stuck in the lower level dealing with the current crisis, while everyone else sifts through the past. More power to them … I just don't want it coming to live in my house.


denise said…
Good luck with the cleanout. I become paralyzed when I'm trying to get rid of things - especially if I can't find someone else to use them and actually have to throw them away.

I sent the picture and description of your bad to a friend who's very museum knowledgable. Hopefully she can shed some light for you. I'll let you know what I hear back.
When I look at the logo on the bag, I see a bow tie and diamond, meaning get all dressed up and put on your jewels. Also a Martini glass and a dinner plate, meaning when you're all dressed up, come over for drinks and dinner.

I think I can relate just about anything to food somehow.

After living in about a dozen homes and apartments while growing up, I moved into this place when I struck out on my own, and I've been here over mumble-mumble years. I know from clutter and hoarding.
jen said…
I was wondering if the design was the museum name. It looks like MOMO. Maybe it's supposed to be MOMA (Museum of Modern Art?)

Popular posts from this blog


Update on the water: the circuit breaker tripped, either due to a power surge when the electricity came back on last night OR when lightning struck in the area. My neighbor's electric fence control box got hit in the same area. He was able to reset the circuit breaker for us and we have WATER! I think I'll go do a load of laundry. Heh.


Well. Well, well, well. Should this morning's scale number be divided between two weeks, or did all of it happen this past week? It's an easy number to divide, and I've been consistent for two weeks, so it should probably be split, doncha think?

That means I lost three pounds for each of the last two weeks. SIX pounds total. Excuse me, I mean
SIX!!!!!! I'm going to do everything I can to stay on track while I'm gone this week. There's little more I can promise. I'm really motivated to keep it up. The dumbbells are packed (and my luggage weighs a ton!), I'm taking a thermos of water in the car and I know where are the rest stops are between here and Nashville. I think I'll walk a bit at each of them, then walk again when I arrive at my destination. Hope to get a total of 80 minutes done by the end of the day. SIX!!!!!!

And the winner is …

Kitten with a Whiplash, who left two comments and it was the second (which had nothing to do with the contest) which won the prize. Congratulations, and since the Kitten was the only commenter who expressed any interest in actually winning it, I'm so glad the Universe took care of it. Heh.

What a weekend! But first, how was yours? I hope you did some fun stuff and got some necessary stuff done, as well. It's all about balance.

Saturday was our fun day (but we had to drive, drive, drive to get there and then drive, drive, drive home again, all in one day, boy was I tired). We went to my husband's granddaughter's first birthday party. In addition to a sweet little doll, suitable for ages 0+ (meaning it has no parts that will come loose, and do you know how difficult it is to find dolls for babies when you live in the Middle of Nowhere?), I made her this:

I haven't sewn anything in a month of Sundays, so was a little apprehensive about finishing it on time, but this p…