Saturday, November 05, 2011

Treasure Vs. Clutter: A Battle & A Balancing Act

The other day, I watched a cute clip of Anderson Cooper teasing his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, about the storage unit she rents. He obviously thinks the rental is a waste of money and full of useless junk. I know a little something about that. Last weekend, I stopped by my own rental storage unit. I’m determined to empty it, but it’s a struggle.

I don’t think I’m a packrat (or God-forbid, a hoarder) as much as I am a frugal, overly sentimental “curator.” LOL. I mean really, who keeps old Sears Roebuck catalogs? Well, I have a couple, including the Holiday Wish Book from 1998. I also have a collection of Rolling Stone, Spin and other such mags with my boy Prince on the cover. Hey, I had it bad for Prince, back in the day. When the hubby suggested we trash the old microwave we’d packed away 5 years ago, my first thought was, well, maybe we could use it upstairs for popcorn and to heat water for coffee. In the end, I conceded it was probably time to let it go.

My books, I simply can’t trash, even though I know I’ll never read some of them ever again. Truly, it breaks my heart to see a book (even one I found less than enjoyable) in the garbage. I either have to find a place for them in the house or give them away.

What’s really been difficult is letting go of my son’s old toys, baby clothes, school projects, etc, but I’m starting to make a bit of progress in that area. Some items, specifically, anything torn, broken, stained, full of glitter, feathers, etc. or that makes me say, “What the heck is this?” I’ve actually thrown away. Also, after years of talking about it, I’ve finally completed one scrapbook and hope to start and finish a few more. But scrapbooking is a hobby I have to pursue with caution because it can easily become another source of clutter that requires, yikes, additional storage!

As much as my husband doesn’t want to hear this, there are a few things I doubt I’ll ever part with willingly. My grandmother’s old porch glider, for instance. No, it doesn’t glide any more. Yes, it’s rusted in some areas and no, we don’t even own a front porch big enough for it. But I’m keeping it. I’ll happily scrape the rust, slap on a coat of paint and find a nice spot for it some place in the backyard.

That glider was one of the first things I’d see when we’d pull up to my grandparents' house. I’d dare say, most of my aunts and uncles and all of my first cousins on my dad’s side of the family have, at some point, sat in that glider. The times that I sat there, laughing and joking with relatives, chatting with my M'Deah or just rocking and day-dreaming all by myself are too numerous to count. Call it hokey, or overly sentimental, if you want, but the truth is, whenever I look at the glider, I can’t help but smile and think happy thoughts. The last time I checked, happiness didn’t have a price or an expiration date. So, as long as my tendency to “curate” doesn’t earn me a visit from the health department or an invitation to star on a reality series, I think I’m good . . .

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