What I Shed Today

a year of lightening up

bicycle transport bag

Things there are in heaven and earth that most people never need nor want, like very specialized luggage. If you’re one of the few who need a bicycle transport bag, you likely know so. I acquired mine to bring the Lady Eliza home to Georgia from the UK.

The Lady Eliza, an early 1950s Hercules roadster

The Lady Eliza, an early 1950s Hercules roadster

Though I can see myself possibly world-traveling with bicycles again, one trial with a soft-side case was enough to put me off that style. (Though, reinforced with panels I cut from a carton, it went through coach and airport baggage handling without damage to the contents.) I’m grateful ads on craigslist are free, because I expect to feel somewhat underwhelmed with interest!

Blueberry are Muffin aren't sure what it is, but are convinced it concerns cats.

Blueberry are Muffin aren’t sure what it is, but are convinced it concerns cats.

shedding style: resell
destination: another adventurous cyclist’s life

Comments welcome … do you have any clutter that’s just too weird to easily pass along?

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slacks

I think if I put a little thought into it that I could categorize our clutter several ways. One would be “mine, hers, and ours.” We have enough of each that we tend to leave one another’s clutter alone.

So, this pair of slacks has been hanging on the back of our laundry room door for about two years. It wasn’t in the way, but it wasn’t in its place, either. Nimue thought they were mine, so she left them there. I knew they were hers (I checked the tag) but observed that they needed some repair. Recently we clarified ownership, but there’s another issue preventing her from wearing them: she’s dropped a size or two and they’re too big for her now. (I credit lots of cycling and kale.) I believe the slacks are bound for the thrift store.

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shedding style: give away
destination: thrift store

Comments welcome … do you have any good kale recipes?

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hooded litter box

You get a cat. Great! It’s like having a stuffed animal that’s warm, loves you back, plays with you and purrs! Bringing the cat home isn’t enough, however; you have to provide your new friend with some essential accessories—most urgently, with a litter box filled with litter. But lucky you, “housebreaking” is a word that need never pass your lips. Kitteh was born knowing what to do in it. It’s all good!

Except after awhile, it’s not. Litter doesn’t stay in the box. You recoil from the feel of it under your bare feet when you go to the toilet in the middle of the night. You think, “There must be something better … what about one of those litter boxes with a lid?” So back to the Pet Tactical Support Center you go, and out you come with a designer-styled, veterinarian-recommended, state-of-the-art kitty elimination station.

Did you ask Kitteh what Kitteh thought? No, you did not. If you had, Kitteh would have told you that Kitteh likes to do that business with a view, thank you. Would you crawl into a smelly little box to do yours? Neither will Kitteh. Kitteh will just do it on the floor, right outside the fancy new box. Thank you very much.

So you remove the hood. At least the tray can still be used. But after awhile, you think, “There must be something better … what about one of those high-sided litter boxes?”

Ask Kitteh.

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Muffin advises: scoop it daily and change it weekly, and no one will get hurt.

 

Well, our cats strongly prefer open boxes, but cats are notoriously idiosyncratic—someone else’s spillage may vary. Or perhaps every cat household has to try a hooded box once. In the interest of enabling another’s experience, I’m offering ours up on craigslist.

shedding style: resell
destination: another hopeful dreamer’s bathroom

Comments by cats welcome … what waste disposal infrastructure do you prefer?

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trashcans, part two

Since there were two trashcans, I can take two days to shed them, right?

I published a craigslist ad offering them together for $5, which I thought would make them a fairly trivial purchase. By evening I had an inquiry about their volumes. Guessing that my correspondent was a graduate student in the sciences, I smiled, estimated as best I could, and replied. Then she asked if the pedal lifted the lid; I answered that it did. She responded that she was interested, but needed to ask her roommate if she were willing to split the cost.

One half of five dollars was a significant amount in her budget? I felt that in the gut. I remember getting through grad student poverty, but don’t usually relive the emotions that went with it (fear, mostly, and irritability, regularly lifted by interludes of wonder and gratitude at the generosity of the universe). I wrote that I’d be glad to give them to her. (I didn’t add: because others have given so much to me. It’s obvious, isn’t it, to anyone with eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear?)

She gushed thanks and added that she and her roommate had been using a clock to hold down the lid of their current wastebasket. When she came to pick them up, I had to ask about the clock. The lid popped up by itself, she explained, so they weighed it down with a broken clock. She was looking forward to not having to do that anymore.

I wish I had a photo of her smile as she stood on our front walk with a wastebasket under each arm. I’ll keep the image in memory for awhile. And in my mind’s eye, I see her and her roommate gleefully shedding that dead clock.

shedding style: give away
destination: grad student kitchen

Comments welcome … do you have a story about how in giving we receive, and receiving, we give?

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trashcans, part one

I’m working through a generous serving of chagrin as I realize how much stuff I’ve acquired by moving into houses where it was left behind by the previous occupants. The almond plastic trashcan that looks like it could be R2D2′s stunted cousin is an example. I should have left it in the bathroom in which I found it, where it complemented the 1950s brown ceramic tile on the walls and floor.

I bought the stainless steel wastebasket in a fit of wanting materials more permanent than plastic. But the lid-lifting mechanism is fussy and it’s been a challenge to keep clean. I’ve gotten past longing for a sports car in the garage; neither do I want one in the kitchen.

If they won’t sell bundled together for $5  on craigslist, I’ll take them to the thrift store.

I've noticed our trashcan capacity shrinking as our recycling bins multiply.

I’ve noticed our trashcan capacity shrinking as our recycling bins multiply.

shedding style: resell
destination: craigslist

Comments welcome … do you find that recycling bins are a necessity but wastebaskets an accessory?

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fireplace screen renewed

Tonight we’re claiming the shed of another project that lingered long on our to-do list: repainting the fireplace screen. (Disclosure: its dull, rusty appearance bothered Nimue more than me, so she took lead and did most of the work.) Washing and wire-brushing preceded spray-painting. She did the grate, too, but with a high-heat enamel. Polishing the knobs that thread onto the frame made it look new, at least to an uncritical eye!

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cat crate

I’m shocked, now that I’ve stopped ignoring the facts, at how long we owned and stored this crate compared to how little we used it. We acquired it 19 years ago to solve a specific, short-term problem. We and our three formerly feral cats were living with wonderfully generous friends and their four felines for two weeks while we hunted up a house to rent. To keep the peace during our visit, Nimue and I decided we should corral Hellcat, Pfearpfil and Djinn. They were siblings and got along well, but nevertheless we didn’t think we should stack them atop one another, so we bought the biggest kennel we could find. It wasn’t cheap. It beat boarding our furry dependents or paying someone’s therapy bill, though.

Once we rented a place, the crate came apart and went to the basement. I doubt I touched it till we moved again, whereupon the crate landed in a storage room. Then, upon another relocation, it occupied another basement. It got some employment for a few months when we kept the parental Labrador puppy after Mom’s heart got new plumbing. But none since.

It’s time the crate housed someone who needs a den, so I posted it on craigslist today. I’m afraid I lied and called it a “dog crate.” But I suspect the cats will absolve me.

Blueberry and Muffin model pure disdain.

shedding style: resell
destination: a doggy domicile

Comments welcome … do you have anything hanging around that someone in your household would love for you to shed?

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dry spell

The WIST project suffered in October. I posted on only 12 of the month’s 31 days. The first part of November was even worse. But during this time we shed quite a few items nevertheless. Nimue noticed that a church near Casa de WIST was planning a rummage sale to benefit its pre-school. Sellers could rent tables for $15 each, she found. It sounded like less work and risk than holding our own yard sale.

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Over about a week of gathering items, we had enough to fill two tables. We felt like amateurs when we set up the evening before; some of our fellow retailers brought serious infrastructure into the church gym, like clothing racks and shelves. But we enjoyed our modest success. We recovered our costs and cleared a little more, made some people happy with “finds,” and came home lighter by a few dozen possessions (partly because we swung by the thrift store afterwards to donate much of what didn’t sell). We’d gladly do it again, we decided, when the next sale is held in the spring.

the WIST store

the WIST store

And I’m glad to resume (almost) daily posting and leave this dry spell behind!

shedding style: resell, give away
destination: customers, thrift store

Comments welcome … what kinds of things do you think are good to shed at sales?

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the need to rent a motel room

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my good-as-new Eureka! Timberline at Hamburg Outdoor Recreation Area, Mitchell, Georgia

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tent fly repair

Here’s another long-stalled project completed: replacement of the shock cords on my Eureka! Timberline 2 tent. After almost 30 years, they lost their stretch, and the fly wouldn’t stay attached to the frame. I found new shock cord some time ago at REI, but puzzled about how to secure it. Eureka! used custom aluminum hog rings that close in a tight oval and have rounded tips (the better to not cut holes in tender tent fabric). I tried to pry one off, but found they were a one-use item.

I have to go to a meeting in central Georgia tonight and tomorrow and welcome a chance to sleep outside. I don’t want to set up Nimue’s palace and I shed the 1-person tent earlier this year, so I need the Timberline back in service. It was time to stop making perfection the enemy of the good and accept the use of “regular” hog rings.

But since I neither raise hogs (they’re used to attach tags to pig ears), nor build chain-link fences (which use rings several ways), nor re-cover automobile seats (they hold the fabric to the frame), I didn’t own hog ring pliers and none of my parts drawers were full of rings. So yesterday I went on a hunt.

At one auto parts store, the clerk apologized, “We didn’t move many, so we stopped stocking them.” At the next I got a blank look and shake of the head. “Hog rings? What are those?” an employee of a Big Box Home Improvement Warehouse asked. A second Big Box HIW had pliers, but no rings. Fortunately, I live near a Medium Box Farm Supply Store. Nimue and I went there on our evening walk, and I came away with enough to tag 100 piglets.

hog ring pliers, the proper tool for the job

hog ring pliers with hog ring, the proper tools for the job

It went smoothly once I had the tool and supplies. A groove in the jaws of the pliers holds the ring until it’s pressed, whereupon it folds into a triangle, clamping whatever it’s meant to secure.

fresh shock cord on a 30-year-old tent

fresh shock cord on a 30-year-old tent

I’m thrilled to see the Timberline up again. It’s sheltered me in a lot of interesting places, and we have more of the world to see!

the Eureka! Timberline 2, first produced in the 1970s and still available almost unchanged

the Eureka! Timberline 2, first produced in the 1970s and still available almost unchanged

shedding style: repair

Comments welcome … no hogs were harmed in the completion of this shed!

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