It’s Not That Painful

I was raised by a grandmother who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930’s. She never threw anything away. She taught me not to either.

I have accumulated much over the years.

Moving frequently in the past twenty years has helped to weed out many things. Still I find myself with clutter.

I really can’t bear to throw away anything with any “use” left in it, so I frequently drop off things at Goodwill. My son said he didn’t agree with this as Goodwill takes things people give them and sell it. Well . . . does he want all this stuff? When he answered “no” . . . well, there you go. Neither do I.

Then there are the things that I don’t think Goodwill would want, but they still have some “use” left in them, as my grandmother would say. I did watch her, a professional seamstress, rip out zippers from one item to be sewn into another. The same with buttons – she had a large collection of buttons and most had been cut off previous garments. I’ve seen quilts made using the “good parts” of clothes or sheets . . . whatever had fabric that had barely been changed by use. Then there were the rugs she made by braiding the bottom part of trousers she’d shortened when she worked at a store downtown. It was actually amazing to watch her use things others would have discarded .She even made Santa sleighs out of the main part of a turkey bone after Thanksgiving. People asked her for these sleighs that she designed and decorated.

She was an artist. She used the media available to her. She was never famous for it, although she won several blue ribbons at the County Fair and at Local Art Exhibits. She would buy things that had been marked way down and use them in her art. I saw a beautiful picture she won a blue ribbon for that was made using aquarium gravel. I saw pin cushions she made using tuna fish cans that she had cleaned thoroughly.

She could make something out of anything. I cannot.

I’ve begun weeding out things that still have “use” in them because I foresee moving to a smaller place at sometime in the future. I now eye every possible item with an attitude of “Will I want to take this with me?” If the answre is no, off it goes.

I have three adult children. I’ve asked them what they would do with all my stuff when I die? After glancing nervously at each other, they said they would throw it away.

Well, let me save them the trouble. The more I clear out, the more I like it.

This morning I filled another garbage bag with things that had some “use” in them. I could look at each one and tell what my grandmother would have done with it. I’m not her. I’m not as artistic as she is, and I don’t have the patience for saving so many things she would have kept.

It’s not as painful as I thought it would be . . . or perhaps it’s not as painful as it was in the beginning to toss things. It actually feels quite good some days, even if my grandmother did teach me that the moment you throw something away is the time you’re going to need it. .



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