We combined households a year ago. Having reached the age of 40-something before crossing paths, we each had a complete home’s worth of belongings that are now crammed into 1100 square feet of breathable oxygen. So, we declared this The Summer of Purge, with the intention of donating lots of perfectly lovely but now-extraneous items to our local Goodwill, where they can do more good than they’ve been doing, falling on our heads every time we open a cabinet.
We made a strong start in the kitchen, discovering extra cutlery, tools, pans, dishes, etc. to put into the Goodwill box. Oddly, though, we found ourselves becoming protective of our stuff… or rather, of each other’s stuff. Each “which one of these should we keep” decision came with the knowledge that one of us would be letting go of something from “pre-us” life, and neither of us wanted the other to give up anything.
Who knew curating a kitchen could get emotional?
Fortunately, practicality was our mediator in at least a few instances.
Two meat thermometers, one instant-read and one that you’re supposed to stick in the beast pre-oven and leave in while it cooks. Since neither of us usually remembers we HAVE a meat thermometer until we’re wondering if the thing has cooked long enough to not kill us, the non-instant-read model could help someone else make sure they’re not about to give themselves salmonella. Into the Goodwill box it went.
Extra pot lids? Who knows where the matching pots ended up (or whose pots they belonged to), but they’re standard sizes, so someone with a lidless saucepan may find just what they need in the Goodwill household section.
We also dealt with the stash of hardware and other fix-things-around-the-house type stuff that lived in a corner of the laundry closet. We each have our packrat tendencies, and the “She” of this “He and She” hesitates to toss anything that MIGHT be needed SOMEday for SOMEthing.
But really, don’t you hate it when you need some spackle and an S-hook, and don’t have any on hand? The thing is, when you DO need one of those things, do you actually remember that you HAVE them, AND remember where they are?
Apparently, when we need something, we don’t raid the laundry closet stash; we just buy another pack. Sort of defeats the sustainable living/repurposing ideals of keeping these odds and ends around in the first place. So She took a deep breath, admitted there was no sense holding these things hostage, and let them go. Besides, said She, if we donate these THREE containers (good grief) of stuff, there’ll be room on the shelf for His grilling tongs and baskets and other barbecuing essentials.
This, of course, began another slightly martyr-ish but well-intentioned round of “don’t give up your stuff to make room for my stuff.” But really, that was part of the point of The Summer of Purge. We had lives before, and they were great. But we like our lives now, and making room for each other is part of the joy of that. We smiled, hugged, and congratulated ourselves on our mature handling of the situation.
And then came the colanders.
Five of them. FIVE. Why? A person needs one, maybe two. But WHY did we have FIVE?
This was where our curatorial skills failed us. There was no logical reason to choose some over others. All had their merits and drawbacks. And all were equally at home in our respective pasts and our consolidated future. After realizing that we had spent about ten minutes agonizing over the fate of five pieces of plastic whose only goal in life is to hold your pasta above the gross stuff in the sink drainer, we decided to call it a day.
Some morning, when we’re fresh as daisies and haven’t made any decisions in a while, we’ll curate the colanders and start another box headed for Goodwill. If you see any of these guys on the shelf there, please give them a good home. (And say hi for us. Hopefully there’ll be no hard feelings.)