Archive for the ‘Expurgating’ Category

The Garage

Sunday, August 21st, 2011
1 vegan star shoe (trash)

1 vegan star shoe (trash)

After tackling the porch I was energized and took a peek into the garage. My sister’s boyfriend was storing his car in there while they were traveling, so I couldn’t really get to the full pile-o-junk-that-must-be-dealt-with. However, I did go through the nearest heaps of things and managed to throw out one big black trashbag worth of miscellaneous items not useful enough to donate or able to be recycled. In the process, I found the prescription sunglasses I lost over a year ago, a bunch of CDs that once lived in my car and I forgot about, several polaroid cameras I bought at various yard sales who knows when, my collection of map books (which are supposed to live in the car), the missing page for NY and NJ from the map book which does live in the car, and, get this, an unstuck JIMMY CARTER FOR PRESIDENT bumper sticker. (No, I’m not that old… not sure where I got that.)

In the ongoing saga of shoes, I threw out an old pair of sneakers that were clearly dead and sadly, one vegan mary jane with metal star studs (the other one wasn’t to be found). Whoa. I used to wear cool shoes.

Threw out some random stuff that had been in the garage since I moved in (pretty sure no one needs carburetor stuff anymore) and various icky wet things.

I contemplated doing something with the box of very very messy letterpress rollers (which are unsalvageable, I think), but decided to leave that and the rest of the miscellany blocked by Lou’s car for another day.

Found a plastic bin of hardcover books that I’d taken from a purge that Wm had about 4 years ago with the intent of — I don’t remember — perhaps reading them? I loaded up all of these books, along with a few more from indoors in a totebag and brought it to my mum, who sells books on Amazon regularly for extra money. I wish I could see her face when she pulls out the erotic anthology!


The porch

Sunday, August 21st, 2011
Chair, settee and endtable

Chair, settee and endtable (trash)

Last weekend, I decided it was time to do something about the front porch. For several years, there’d been a cute mid-century style settee out there, and a wicker nightstand/endtable thing. Both were from the trash.

I used to have these awesome upstairs neighbors, Liliana and Armando. They got wind of my weekly trash-night furniture hunting crusades and decided to come with one week. We found the settee that week, and carried back on the roof of their car. It was in very nice condition then, and was clearly a quality piece of furniture.

For the several years that L. and A. lived here, we’d often sit out there. I’d have my coffee and Armando would drink his yerba maté out of his special Argentinian tea mug with the weird metal straw thing and sometimes, after he and L. had had their twins, come out to smoke a leftover celebratory cigar. I would sit outside and work or just stare at the cats who lived across the street. It was lovely.

But my nice neighbors moved away. Indeed, they’ve lived in DC, Jakarta and the Dominican since then. Meanwhile, the settee started to rapidly decompose. I’d still go out there sometimes, but it got worse and worse. The fabric had reached a point of sun-bleachedness where it just started to spontaneously burst.

One day I couldn’t take it any more and dragged the thing to the curb. I also threw out the wicker nightstand (that we also found in the trash). Wistfully noting there were still several of Armando’s cigars in the drawer. (Cigars are gross, the wistfulness was missing my neighbors.)

While I was at it, I also threw out the blue chair that had been decomposing on the back porch since Armando left it there when they moved. He’d been planning to refinish it — and I’m sure he would have. He had an excellent track record with such things. But in the intervening years the wood cracked and it was a mess. OK, out with all you crappy furniture. You are not my memories.

[I did go to Ikea and buy 2 wicker chairs and a little laptop table so I can still work on the porch. It looks much tidier now.]

Sunday expurgation round-up

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

[No, not round-up like the weedkiller poison stuff. Far less cruel.]

Today I took a large bag to the Salvation Army. I would have rather taken it to the AIDS thrift store, but the Salvation Army was open when I was free. Inside said big bag:

  • a bunch of clothes, pajamas, my white satin nightgown (not a nightgown person anymore)
  • all those shoes and other items I was on about collecting last week
  • the neat wooden bowl that my old neighbors left when they moved (I’m sure it’s from one of the interesting countries they traveled to and has story, but I don’t know it)
  • more handbags
  • a black soft suitcase that I found a Coffee Crisp wrapper in – which, through my Sherlock Holmesian powers of deduction, I can tell you means I haven’t used it since I lived in Canada and wasn’t vegan, which was over 15 years ago.
  • a few other odds and ends I forget
  • a never used “smoothie machine” (i.e.  a blender with a spigot) that I got as a gift but don’t really need, as I already have a blender
  • Nestlé Coffee Crisp

    Image by cacaobug via Flickr

    In the office, I made a new rule: no more “back up pen drawer”. You see, I’d have all the pens and markers and pencils that I keep in cups on my drafting table and desk, then I had another drawer, for the overflow. I decided that was silly (especially since I always went out and bought new pens rather than exploring the overflow drawer). So I went through it and tested all the pens. Each went either:

    • into a cup on my drafting table
    • into the bag of art supplies for my sister (she’s an art teacher)
    • into the trash, if they didn’t work

    I have a lot of pens and markers and stuff, but being an artist type, who only likes writing and drawing with certain kinds of pens, I think that’s relatively ok. But not I have a finite amount that I’m allowed to have, that I consider reasonable.

    In a perfect world, I would never buy a disposable plastic writing implement again. In fact, I have a whole cup of fountain pens and used to use them almost exclusively — but they are mostly in somewhat bad shape now, and, though I periodically try to revive them, I’ve yet to really get back into a fountain pen groove. I should though – I really do like writing and drawing with them. And using a glass jar of ink for refills rather than disposable pens does seem like a far more sustainable option. I will at least work it into my pen regime.

    I also collected more art supplies for my sister:

    • drawer sheet samples of all kinds of paper
    • glue dots
    • various and sundry items for art and collage

    The bag for her is getting heavy. I might need to start a second one.

    I also found out that Amazon offers a low-commitment way to sell books online where they do the fulfillment (EasySell) – many past jaunts selling on eBay have taught me that I hate and am bad at fulfillment. Sending one box to Amazon though, I may be able to handle. I listed a box’s worth of books and packed them up. Now if I can manage to make it to the post office this week, I’ll feel quite accomplished. I won’t make tons of money if they sell and perhaps I should have just donated them, but I wanted to give a shot at recouping a tiny bit where I could. I am, after all, also trying to get out of debt.

    The books that were too old to be able to be listed with “EasySell” (i.e., they don’t have an ISBN #) I put in a bag to give to my mum to either read or sell herself online. She can handle fulfillment – far more responsible than I am.

    Yes, these are tiny and banal things, but they are part of my great big simplification goals, and part of owning less, being less of a consumer, etc. It helps me to document things, even if only for myself.

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    Random items going in the donate bag

    Sunday, October 18th, 2009

    Here are a few other things that are getting packed up to be donated:

    • black wood bill sorter — nice idea, bad follow through
    • Hungry Hungry Hippos game — turns out me and my boyfriend are too old for this
    • black many-compartmented bag — really nice, but I have too many bags and it’s not quite big enough for a book
    • sundry ugly costume jewelry from grandmother
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    Shoes round 1

    Sunday, October 18th, 2009
    dead grandma shoes (donate)

    dead grandma shoes (donate)

    70s school marm (donate)

    70s school marm (donate)

    My first concerted purging project is the heap of shoes in my bedroom closet. Countless times, trying to find matching shoes in said pile has made me late for something, or, at the least, very frustrated. It’s dark, it’s behind a door, it’s disorganized, and, really, there are a lot of shoes that I never wear, or wear infrequently.

    The goal for today was to get rid of the fairly easy-decision-to-purge shoe offenders. There are others that I’m keeping for sentimental or “might need someday” reasons which will be dealt with in some yet-to-be-scheduled round 2. But the idea is that I don’t need to stress myself out more in getting organized, just make some progressive steps.

    Here are the results of today’s sort:


    • 1 pair of brown faux-leather school marm shoes (I really like these, but they killed my feet the last time I wore them, and thus I never want to wear them)
    • 1 pair weird cheap mauve and brown velcro sneakers (These are kinda cool, and I liked wearing them for a while, but I have enough sneakers — ones that are more practical)
    • 1 pair black patent leather open-toe vintage old-lady shoes (These were my grandmothers and I took them from her closet after she died. Honestly, I’ll never wear them, and she and I weren’t close.)
    • 1 pair black faux-leather ballet-flat type shoes (I’m sure I bought these in a panic at some point when I had to wear some sort of excuse for “girl shoes” for something. They don’t even register as being something I own or would think to wear).

    Give to my sister

    • 1 pair black faux-leather Steve Madden mary-jane flats (I ordered these online, thinking they’d be my go-to “girl shoes” but they proved not as comfortable as I hoped. I think my sister’s feet are slightly smaller, and I think she’s more tolerant of more delicate footwear than I am).
    • 1 pair black leather probably very expensive heels with rosettes that look appropriate for some kind of ballroom dancing (These, again, belonged to my dead grandmother. I don’t wear leather, so I’m not sure why they became mine. Maybe I was going to try to sell them or something. Anyway, my sister might actually wear them with a vintage dress or something).

    Throw Away

    • 1 pair pink fake-Crocs that have a hole worn through the sole (I bought these from a street vendor in Baltimore, probably four or five years ago when we were walking around the city and my feet were killing me. I was dubious about Crocs and got the silliest color they had. Turns out they were amazingly comfortable and saved the trip. I then wore them into the ground over the course of a few years. Time to say goodbye.)
    • 1 single mary-jane sneaker (I don’t know what happened to the other one, but even if it were around, I wore these out years ago).

    What’s left?

    There are still a lot of shoes left in my closet. Far less than many women, I’m sure, but more than I need. I still have my paint-spattered combat boots from high school. I have at least 2 pairs of insanely pointy, very buckly shoes from my goth days. I have several pairs of non-standard Crocs that I’ve never worn. I have one pair of faux-suede grey boots with a heel that I doubt I’ll wear, or like if I wear because I don’t really do heels. I have a pair of faux-leather mary janes I think are blister-provoking but I can’t remember. I have a pair of mary janes with silver sparkly stars on them that I may (or may not) have gotten too old for. I’m keeping one pair of cork-heeled, dead grandma mules for now. Not sure why.

    Then there are the good and practical things that I’m happy to keep: my felted hemp boots with responsibly-sourced soles from Simple Shoes (very comfortable and cozy), my trail sneakers, my orange Simple sneakers. My incredibly comfortable (but dirty) red cloth Merrell mary-janes — which I can keep replacing the footbeds for, making them last a long time. A few pairs of cheap faux-leather and cloth flats for when I have to look sort of respectable (client meetings, etc). Some weird plaid cloth boots from Target, several pairs of cloth mary janes/china flats. My rubber and neoprene Boggs boots for the snow.

    In the next phase with that closet, I have to make it more practical on the whole, so I don’t get frustrated looking for shoes. In fact, I’m thinking of segregating shoes into several locations (back hall, front hall closet, bedroom closet) — but first all of those locations must be purged and simplified.

    I’m sure this is interesting to no one but me. But I’m completely ok with that.

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