10. Dishes and flatware
There are five people in our household. One of us still pretty much absolutely needs to dine from unbreakable plates and drink from plastic cups. Several cracked glasses will attest to the fact that we're "just not there yet" when it comes to our youngest family member not turning mealtime into a research study on gravity versus shatter resistance.
And yet, although there are only five of us, if I count all our plates, bowls, knives, forks, spoons, drinking glasses, coffee mugs, and tea cups, our family could easily invite two football teams and a marching band to lunch and still not have to do dishes until after they finish supper later in the day, Mad Hatter style. As it is, we rarely host dinner parties of even half that size, even once you take away the bassoons.
Why do we have so much of this stuff? I don't know. I mean, I do know. It had to do with cleaning out several elderly relatives' houses all in one year, and seeing another box of dishes and momentarily thinking Oh, these would be nice/useful for when we have the marching band over!
But we don't have the marching band over.
So why do we still have so much of this stuff?
And I don't even like all my socks. I bet I could get by with two pairs woolen knee socks, two woolen hiking socks, three dark, three athletic, and be done with it. Instead, I have whole bundles of out of shape, heel-less socks. Do I sometimes wear them? Sure. See Mad Hatter Effect in regard to laundry.
Same with the kids. About thirty pairs each. Some of them even match.
8. Clothing in general
I have three children, two of them being of the girl-type child. However, if I just gathered all the girls' clothing and told you to guess how many daughters I have based upon the wardrobe in front of you, you'd guess
Mary Ellen, Elizabeth, Erin, Marcia, Jan, Cindy, Liesl, Louisa, Brigitta, Marta, Gretl, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.
My own closet is bulging with three categories of clothing:
1) things I usually wear (five to ten pieces),
2) things I sometimes wear (five to seven pieces), and
3) things that seemed like a good idea because I thought I needed something trendy or sexy or PTO-worthy.
In actuality, I could get rid of all of the third category and most of the second category and still have too much to choose from.
I accessorize well.
Most of my clothing comes from thrift stores and vintage shops anyway. It's not like I couldn't just give it all back to them each month to "warehouse", as it were, and then when I needed a fuzzy pink sweater or a shimmery blouse, I could pop back in, pay $3.75, and get that clothing item back. Or something very much like it. Sort of like a library system.
Anyway, I lived in France for six months with only the clothing that would fit in a duffel bag and did just fine. A tutu skirt, a black t-shirt, and some gladiator sandals will get you though most social situations.
This is a tough one because books are like children...well, maybe not like children...more like very lovable, stationary pets. With a protagonist. And lovely pictures. And they don't poop.
And yeah, yeah, yeah, eReader, I know. I sell the things, I know the pros and pros and pros and cons.
But the fact is, the books are winning. We are getting to the point of needing an addition on the house to hold all the books, and frankly, if we're spending money on an addition, it's going to be for me and my isolation tank and wine bar.
6. Black Shoes
I have many. I think I once counted over thirty pairs of black shoes. I could probably stand to get rid of...two.
5. Novelty Picture Frames
Generally, if I put a photo in a frame, it's because I like the photo and want the photo to be what my eye focuses on...and that's hard to do when the frame is covered in pink marabou feathers or glitter bottle caps or a WORLD'S HUNKIEST MOTHER slogan stamped in acrylic paint with a.pencil eraser
And yet I can't get rid of these things. Crafting and personalizing photo frames, it turns out, is a Top Kids' Party/Scout Troop Craft Activity. And you know how when your kid gives you something they made, even if it is made out of their own poo and some twine, you say, Oh how LOVELY my DARLING? And how the minute you put it in a drawer/trash can, your kids start asking about their token of love that they took such time and care in creating for you?
Following crafty photo frames, the other popular Kids' Party Craft
4. Anything made with craft foam.
Doorknob hangers, sun visors, more photo frames...by the age of six, most children have brought home enough craft foam things and stuff to fill another addition on a house. 13' x 13' addition, nothing outrageous, but still filled with craft foam crap.
3. Novelty Pencils
I understand that the trend is getting away from handing out candy for trick-or-treat or as a reward for an A or as part of a birthday party goody bag. Childhood obesity, dental carries, Pop Rocks mixed with Coca-cola killing Mikey and all...need to think of some other "attakid" then candy.
But foil novelty pencils?
I'm going to reveal the beginning and end of the one snobbish bone in my body and declare that if you need to use a pencil, the only pencil worth using is a good ole yellow-barrel Ticonderoga number 2. Foil-wrapped novelty pencils are pure frustration. They don't sharpen well, the graphite is dodgy, and the foil twists up inside the sharpener.
There. I said it.
Yeah, I know...wah wah wah, be happy you have a pencil at all back in my day we had to use burned twigs and squid ink to draw.
I'm just saying, don't cut down any more foil trees on my kids' account. I don't know what people can give children as token gifts instead of pencils or candy or more plastic doo-dads that end up in the trash.
Eggs maybe. Or postage stamps. I don't know.
Nothing can be good, too.
Bric-a-brac breeds on my corner shelves and feeds on dust and my sinful aesthetic indifference.
One piece, two...here and there...things I really like and are lovely to look at and make me think of the Rhine in summer or tales of exotic adventures or are bowl-shaped and can be used to actually hold things like paper clips or contact lenses or figs. But beyond that, the stuff is just bothering me.
Especially the Precious Moments figurines. Even though they're in the basement right now. In a lead box. Sprinkled with Holy Water.
And the Number One Thing I Have Too Much Of...
From the boxes in the basement still unopened from our move EIGHT YEARS AGO YES I'M USING ALL CAPS, to the lengths of computer cable and wires that could reach to Bill Gate's front door and back (no, we're not next door neighbors), to the two big pieces of not-running machinery - I'm not saying what - in our garage, dripping oil and taking up valuable bicycle and car realty, to the billowing masses of towels and linens that would set me up as to run a modest bed-and-breakfast or a very swanky campground...
I'm constantly cleaning all this stuff or rearranging all the things or needing to step around one object or trip over another to get to the third and my life is being run and ruled by all this constant, never-ending everything in my house and
As God is my witness, as God is my witness they're not going to lick me!
I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never be cluttered again! No, nor any of my folk!.
If I have to lie, steal, cheat or independently supply the needs of fifty charitable organizations and an A.C. Moore craft shop!
As God is my witness,
I'll never be cluttered again!