What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

little steel cabinet

on January 27, 2014

Nimue and I met and married while in graduate school in Chicago. We were, consequently, grad-student-poor, a state my memory has gilded with affection. Poverty’s no fun for graduate students today, who receive less support and often acquire terrible debts along with their training. We just had to solve how to furnish our walk-up (Chicago vernacular for a low-rise apartment with stairs … ours was on top on the fourth floor). We had one big, well-lit room with glorious hardwood floors we ate, slept and studied in; a tiny kitchen; and a minuscule bathroom.

At a church rummage sale we got an old schoolhouse desk, chest of drawers, and chair that needed re-caning (it still does, sigh). Nimue’s parents gave us an Art Deco apartment dining table and four chairs they found in a secondhand store. I built bookshelves. Vegetable crates held LP records. But we had nothing for toiletries in the bathroom except the windowsill. It was covered with a security grate, through which we reached to get our toothbrushes.

From an alley, set out by garbage cans (the universal sign that an unwanted-but-still-usable item was for the taking), I rejoiced to scrounge a cabinet. It was die-formed steel, finished in the usual off-white enamel, with two shelves (hers and his!) and a door that miraculously wasn’t bent. I sanded off the rust, shot it with rattle-can spraypaint in Nimue’s favorite color, and put it under the sink. It was perfect for the year we lived there.

steel cabinet, probably of mid-20th century manufacture

steel cabinet, probably of mid-20th century manufacture

Then we moved downstate, and the cabinet moved with us. But it didn’t have a job to do in the new house. I shrugged and put it in a corner of the mudroom. I think I eventually stored some screws and nails in it. When next we moved, the cabinet sat empty in the basement—as it’s remained through each subsequent move. Today, I removed it from neglect in the garage. I wiped cobwebs off, took its picture, and posted it to craigslist.

Thirty minutes later a mother sent an e-mail: “So this would be perfect for my daughter’s bathroom, to hold her hairbows and such.” Ah, I smiled, recognizing a part of the universe finding its place. It’s made me ridiculously happy.

shedding style: resell
destination: craigslist

Comments welcome … what might you shed today?


3 responses to “little steel cabinet

  1. wanderluster says:

    Hi! I’m too going to a similar process, trying to toss away material and not-material possessions that do not add anything to my life. I’ll be checking your blog!

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