What I Shed Today

a year of lightening up

sash

Nimue and revdarkwater have returned from what her mother wryly observed was perhaps less of a vacation than a “family experience.” Actually, they got home a few days ago, but engaging with the full What I shed today routine has eluded him … till now. It’s time to shed!

Under the house, in the appropriately-named crawlspace, I found a stack of window sashes. Such aren’t odd to find stuck away in an old house’s crannies, but these don’t belong to ours, and never did—they’re wood, whereas Casa de WIST was built after windows began to be molded of petrochemical sludge. My find was probably some previous owner’s unfinished project. Indeed, I eyed the ones that still have glass and thought, “Ha! Come late autumn, there’s the lid for a cold frame like the one my grandpa built.”

But one of the sashes in the stack has lost its lights. (“Light” is window-speak for a window pane.) It’s no use to me, but I have a sense that crafty people find clever ways to decorate with them. I’ll offer it up in the “free stuff” category on craigslist. It worked last time!

"We've been framed!" the tomatoes cried.

“We’ve been framed!” the tomatoes cried.

shedding style: give away
destination: craigslist

Comments welcome … what lurks in the dark under your domicile?

3 Comments »

playing cards (with thoughts about gifts and the Morris Rule)

I make much on What I Shed Today of what Nimue and I have long called “the Morris Rule.” Straight out of an essay by the 19th-century English artist, designer, and social critic William Morris, the Rule says, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” We find that, handled confidently, it is a very sharp knife to divide what should stay and what should go.

Occasionally we ruefully amend the Rule: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, believe to be beautiful, or was given to you by someone you don’t wish to offend by ditching it.”

Bemusement aside, I believe that “thank you,” “congratulations,” “great job,” “you’re appreciated,” “please care about me,” “I’m glad we’re us” and like words are the finest things people say to one another in ordinary discourse. We say them—aloud or by signs—to connect, keep connection, or strengthen the bonds of relationship. Gifts signify that.

So I don’t want to be ungrateful nor treat them shoddily. But when I look around at my clutter, I see a fair amount that came to me as gifts. Is it possible to separate the significance of those objects from their qualities of usefulness or beauty so as to keep the connection to the giver but permit shedding the gift?

The question is tender, one I don’t want to rush to answer. But I recognize that the solubility of memory sometimes yields a “yes.” Nimue and I recently counted our decks of playing cards: we had six. The most we could imagine wanting to need were two. How did we wind up with so many? At least five were given to us, we thought … but we can’t remember by whom, nor when. Without diminishing a sort of general gratitude for everyone who’s ever been generous toward us, I think we can shed them.

For the rest of our gifts that we don’t know to be useful nor believe to be beautiful, I don’t know yet. But I sense that the generalized gratitude I sometimes feel might be cultivated and grown till it thanks the generosity of all life. I think if I could do so, I might discover a freedom to reverently yet lightly receive, and as lightly release in giving on, that would answer my question without words, but rather a wise wink.

20140722-dlj-DSC_7854-e

shedding style: give away
destination: thrift store

Comments welcome … what do you think? Is it possible to separate the significance of objects received as gifts from their qualities of usefulness or beauty so as to keep the connection to the giver but permit shedding the gift?

4 Comments »

wicking boxers

(revdarkwater and Nimue are on vacation with her family in the coastal Carolinas, but before they left home, they chose some items to “shed ahead.”)

I’m sorry to descend to the level of exposing my shorts … but these are special: undergarments made of a “wicking,” quick-dry fabric for travelers who want to pack light. I’ve gone on month-long adventures carrying just three pair and known I always had clean underwear in my bag because they can be washed in a sink and will dry overnight. I love them with an everlasting love, but mine have grown a bit as their waistbands lost some stretch, and I’ve shrunk as I cycle more, till they no longer fit. They’re too good to toss, but I sense that my culture might have a taboo about second-hand underpants (it’s something we just don’t talk about). Perhaps they could be given to a willing close relative. I’ll ask my brothers … but shush, please don’t tell!

I have two more like these ... they cost a leg and a leg, but I hope to replace them soon nevertheless.

I’ll miss these and their mates … they cost a leg and a leg, but I hope to replace them someday nevertheless.

shedding style: give away
destination: someone else’s underwear drawer

Comments welcome … if you needed it, would you accept the shirt off someone else’s back? What about their shorts?

Leave a comment »

immoderately-sized salt and pepper shakers

(revdarkwater and Nimue are on vacation with her family in the coastal Carolinas, but before they left home, they chose some items to “shed ahead.”)

I recall that my Grandma had a pair of “cooking” salt and pepper shakers which she’d use to season a whole skillet of frying chicken with just two practiced snaps of her wrist. Conscious of imitating her, I bought mine en route to a retreat for which we each were asked to bring a salt shaker. (We explored “salt” as a multi-faceted metaphor, and at the end ritually received our shakers back. It “played” better than it sounds!) I’ve tried using the big shakers in my kitchen, but I just don’t cook like “Trudy.” Maybe somebody’s grandma who does will find them at the thrift store.

shakers for a two-fisted salt-and-pepperer

shakers for a two-fisted salt-and-pepperer

 

shedding style: give away
destination: thrift store

Comments welcome … did any of your model elders make grand gestures that work better for you on a more modest scale?

Leave a comment »

plastic planting containers

(revdarkwater and Nimue are on vacation with her family in the coastal Carolinas, but before they left home, they chose some items to “shed ahead.”)

I’ve saved a few bedding plant trays and pots for re-use in starting garden plants from seed, but I need only so many.* They can’t possibly be multiplying, can they? No … I know the flats contained transplants distributed by our Community Garden Network. The 4- and 6-cell packs held vegetables a friend bought but couldn’t get into the ground, so he gave them to me. The pots came with flowers Nimue bought. Fortunately, the garden center at our local big-box home improvement warehouse takes them all for recycling. It’s just a three-mile tandem ride away!

this spring and summer's yield of garden packaging

this spring and summer’s yield of garden packaging

shedding style: recycle
destination: garden center

*Inspired by the Snail of Happiness, I’m transitioning away from re-using the plastic to making starter pots of toilet paper roll tubes.

Comments welcome … do you think recycling is good, but would pay more for usefully re-usable or biodegradable packaging if you had the choice?

Leave a comment »

insufficient attention to the shapes of it all

What if road rushing under were flying over, sky were a pool we’re skimming, and the shapes of it all drew us to an encounter at a point incandescently red? What’s there to meet? Is it hard to catch? Always drawing away? Would we chase it anyway?

image

Shall we?

Posted from WordPress for Android

2 Comments »

foam packing peanuts 2

During some decluttering in the garage, I found another cache of foam packing peanuts. I have no idea when I bagged them. But I know the day I made the best of my bad choices and took them to the shipping franchise which says it will re-use them: today!

I’ve decided, though, that in future, if I shed anything through eBay, I’ll pack it in shredded paper, and enclose a friendly note requesting that the materials be re-used, recycled, or composted.

Salt doesn't improve them a bit.

Salt doesn’t improve them a bit.

shedding style: give away, re-use
destination: UPS store

Comments welcome … isn’t it odd that we lend the names of natural things (like popcorn and peanuts) to un-natural offenses against nature (like styrofoam packing materials)?

6 Comments »

fringed cloth napkins

We love the idea of cloth napkins, which are made for re-use, and feel nicer than “disposable” squares of thin paper. We haven’t, however, succeeding in finding napkins we really like.

Nimue and I were given a set as a wedding gift that we used for years, but they were beige, and it was a happy day when we finally admitted to one another that they put us off our food. Another set, also received when we wed, was made of a loose weave that sucked in food particles. I suspect they were meant to decorate an empty table; what use is that? Two more of our napkins have the power to suck cat hair out of the air and never give it up. We still use those, but not, I suspect, for much longer. (Pfthew! Excuse me, I seem to have had a hair in my mouth.)

And, finally, these have fringes:

Fringes! Eek!

Fringes! Eek!

So they’re going to leave our lives, because fringes want to swim in sauces and soups. Then they want to smear them on your clothes.

We’ll keep looking for attractive, practical cloth napkins, because they are a good idea. But fringed representatives need not apply.

shedding style: give away
destination: thrift store

Comments welcome … what ideals do you have that are obviously better, but prove stubbornly difficult to concretize?

7 Comments »

sitting room hole

Back on 18 February, we shed our sitting room hill.

Today, we shed the hole. Ah, how sheet it is!

You can never go hole again.

shedding style: repair

Comments welcome … do you have a hole in your life just waiting to be filled? Perhaps with plywood?

5 Comments »

aids to organization

My craigslist ad says: “Two file crates, a shelf basket, and a refrigerator freezer’s ice drawer. They aren’t particularly clean at present, but with some soap and scrubbing, they could be.”

More items left behind by previous occupants of our house ... we want to shed more deliberately than that!

More items left behind by previous occupants of our house … we want to shed more deliberately than that!

They were emptied by our simplifying and decluttering, thus freeing them to be shed … we’re getting secondary effects now!

I don’t want to sell these items, just give them away, so I listed them under the “free stuff” category. It’s my first trial of that particular means of shedding. My hopes for a good outcome and reservations about the forum are about equal … my ad is keeping company with a lot of free kittens and offers of “free firewood, you cut, clear and haul.” Stay tuned; I’ll report in comments!

shedding style: give away
destination: craigslist

Comments welcome … are any of your changes leading to changes?

12 Comments »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers