It seems many people are/have been taking advantage of the quarantine to clean out household items they have been meaning to get rid of for years, but never had the time. I always like to use that as an excuse for not tackling our storage places, but it gets more and more difficult as I watch more and more British mystery programs. After all, I don’t see Inspector Morse working on his storage closets. He’s too busy swilling beer and whiskey and solving mysteries. That’s what I want to do instead of cleaning — swill beer and whiskey.
Jen and I were talking about our need to downsize our possessions. She has been way better than I have about cleaning out her house. For one thing, she has given herself permission to tossing items instead of dragging to Goodwill where they will be subsequently tossEd because they’re, well, nothing but crap.
“What you have to ask yourself,” she explained, “is does this spark joy?.” Listen, I watch Marie Kondo too. I think that’s a worthwhile question to ask oneself as we’re cleaning out closets and storage rooms. I assure you that the Chinese dumpling steamer baskets that I have used exactly once do not spark joy. Nor does the Fry Daddy or the Food Saver, both only used a very few times. Other things sparked joy at one time (I’m looking at you Cuisinart Double Ice Cream Freezer), but now it just gathers dust and sparks very little joy.
Those are easy problems to solve. If I can just get myself motivated to go down to the storage area and shove the sticky paper with all of the spiders under the shelf, I can easily figure out what I might use and what I will never use again. I don’t even mind taking the Never-Use-Again items that are in working order over to Goodwill.
The problems arise with those things that actually do spark joy. Like my dad’s clarinet. Like my mom’s fur coat. Like the baby sweaters and booties my grandmother knitted for me that Court never wore, not once. I love them, but the arms were excessively long and the booties were excessively big. But how could I possibly throw them away? My mind clearly sees Grammie sitting on the red velvet sofa in her and Gramps’ little apartment above the bakery knitting items for their grandchildren’s hope chest with her Swiss friends.
As for the clarinet, I tried to put it to use when Addie was playing clarinet in her middle school band. She took it to her band instructor and asked him what would be needed to get it in working order. A lot, it turned out. Not worth it, he said. So it continues to gather dust in my basement. And you can imagine the number of times I could wear Mom’s fur.
So they don’t get tossed. I assure you, however, that there will be no joy sparked when our children inherit the mess. Take my china cabinet…..
A few years ago when we redid our floors, I went through all of the stuff contained therein, and Goodwill got several boxes of china cabinet type stuff. When I was finished, I put what was left back into the cabinet. I can say with all honesty two things: 1) every single item contained in my china cabinet sparks joy for me; but 2) there will be not a single, solitary spark of joy for our kids. Who today wants 12 place settings of Royal Dalton fine china? Who wants the porcelain rose that Court gave me for Mother’s Day a million years ago? Who wants the cranberry serving tray that Bill’s mother gave me? Who wants the 12 teacups with different flowers for each month that Bill bought me early in our marriage?
No one. That’s who.
Sparking joy, indeed.