Saturday, July 21, 2012

Whys and wherefores...

I have been organizing, reducing, and recycling again. Given how organized my house is, what I have been doing is almost make-work. Almost.

I have been going through drawers and such.  There are whole drawers that have been moved intact for over two decades now.  The antique secretary is a good example of this.  [That is one of my stashes of office supplies.]  Though I have not bought any office supplies in, I believe, over three years now and have given away eight banker's boxes of supplies, I still have an embarrassing amount of supplies.  The secretary is a place I have sort of avoided for what is in there.  I have reduced from there several times, most recently last fall.  Still, there is much room for improvement.  And, well, I could supply pens to an entire grade at a school, if not the school, despite how many I have given away.  I just found another stash of fairly good ones.

Tonight, I pulled out all the checks from the account I will be closing on Monday. I have had it 13 years, so that saddens me.  But Wells Fargo, the bank that bought out Wachovia, has changed it to a fee account.  I have no room in my non-existent budget for bank fees.  I tried to find a free account on my own, and got hood-winked by PNC.  Bettina's husband wisely admonished me that I should have tried a local bank.  He is wise; I found one and set up my free account.  All that is left is to close this account...and burn all the checks and deposits slips I have.  

I also grouped all the envelopes of various sizes into one drawer and the notepads and index cards into another drawer.  While all my paper is now boxed in the basement storage shelves, I left the colored construction paper in one of the drawers.  I figured that that is really an art project sort of stash and would only need it if I find a school child who wants it or if someone with children comes to visit me and they want to muck about with it.  I also have in the top drawer of the secretary all my stamps.  It is a varied collection since I used to have students write stories with them.

Some of the supplies are from my grandfather's desk and from my father's.  Two examples of this stash are old flag pins for wall maps from my grandfather's civil engineering work and these funky paper marks that my father used in his books.  They are green, translucent plastic with a metal bit underneath the plastic at the top.  They slip on an edge of a page with one side of the clip slightly longer than the other.

The secretary used to be so crammed with supplies I would have been rather horrified if anyone dared open a drawer.  Now, it is more of a resource than a hoard.  I could, though, rather easily, give it all away and never find myself in need of any of the contents, save for the nine different types of envelopes that are in there.

The seminary wife who was staying here mentioned to me one day that she has a memory box.  It is a large box to which she adds stuff each year.  As she does so, she re-evaluates what is in it to weed out the things that she did not really and truly need to keep.  While she was talking about this, I thought about little things I have kept despite my wholesale ditching of things.  I mean, my multi-layered wholesale ditching.  After all, it took several rounds of reducing for me to let go of some things I have been carting around since I was a teenager for no other reason than that I had them still.

Yet I have somethings that no one else would keep but me.  Things that are from my life, even though I can no longer remember either the days they represent or the whys and wherefores of them:  a decorated ping pong ball from summer camp; a lanyard from welcome week at college; my first name badge; mints from El Fenix; a prism; the badge from my first bike race; Kashi's foot print; a "witnessing" bracelet; my PDAP knot...the list goes on and on.  When she was talking, I thought about this antique box I have that is a replica of a ceder trunk.  The company must have made them for little girls to play with since they are miniatures of the ceder chests women would keep for dowries and such.  I finally found a use for the box I have kept since I found it at a flea market in college.  If you came to visit, I could pull it out and show you all the little bits and pieces of my life I have inside of it, even if I cannot tell you about them.

I think, perhaps, I could now say that the STUFF I have, since I started this process two years ago next month, has been reduced by at least two-thirds, if not more. I still have STUFF. I have things no one but me really cares about, such as a jar filled with buttons from my grandmother and now from my life as an adult. I have things that are useful but could take me at least a couple of decades or so to use up if I keep them all to myself, such as the lingering office supplies.  I have things that I could give away now, but would make fair gifts, especially since I wonder if I will ever be in a position to buy gifts again. I have things that I want to sell, but do not know how to do so without getting at least a decent fraction of what they are worth (a few coins, antique jewelry, and the silver service set). And I have things I think could sell but have absolutely no clue if they are actually worth something, such as a 1912 copy of Schirmer's The Messiah: an oratorio for four-part chorus of mixed voices, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soli, and piano.

The past two weeks, fear and worry have been clinging to me, filling me, obscuring the good things in my life.  I cannot fathom life past July 31st.  I cannot fathom trying to pay for my medications.  And I cannot fathom enduring the battle I know trying to get disability will be.

So, I have been looking about for something else to organize, to reduce, to recycle.  I still have a few drawers that while look fairly impressive, still have room for improvement.  I still have STUFF in the basement that truly could be lessened.  And there is the luggage in the attic I need find someone to help me decide which set to keep and which to donate or sell.

I shall probably turn my attention to the basement storage now that the seminary couple has gone.  The utility closet.  The storage shelves. Surely that would be enough to keep my mind otherwise occupied for a short while.

Of course, I could finally sand and touch-up paint all the window frames where I pulled down the atrocious, miss-matching, over-sized curtains from all the windows with painted woodwork.  It is not the painting, but the light sanding of the holes and indentations from the rod hardware.  Doing so will make a mess...beneath each window, on each side of each window.  It is not even the mess.  It is the work of cleaning up the mess on top of the work of the sanding and the touch-up painting.  The thought of that is exhausting.  However, well, the sight of those holes sure is bothersome.

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!

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