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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Packrat Recovery Program

I'm not a neat freak, but I am an organized person. This week I am at Zannini south, battling the master bedroom into some semblance of order. Every time I come here I have to drink heavily.

Okay, I'm kidding, but drinking alcohol would probably help the situation. Greg and I have different ideas on tidiness.

Despite his inner pack-rattedness, he consented to going through the closet and throwing out clothes he no longer likes, uses or can wear.

My dearheart saves everything! It was like taking a stroll through the last three and half decades.

Some of the things we found were hilarious. Tie-dyed shirts, baggy pants, and all the memories they conjured. I found some of my fashion faux pas too. Velvet leggings, tube tops and some pretty scandalous lingerie. (I think we're keeping the lingerie.)

We are keeping a couple of graphic tees that remind of us of who we were back when. There's a 'dirt shirt' we got who knows where, dyed with the red oxide of the hills there. And dog shirts with the mugs of the various dogs we've owned.

He was VERY good about getting rid of the wardrobe he no longer wears. I can actually see wall space in the closet now. Of course, that's only one closet. We have two. But I didn't have the strength to tackle two in one day.

I think if I can clean this room out to bare walls before I have to leave, I should be able to paint on my next visit. It'll be a big load off my mind when that gets done. This room has been needing attention for a long time.

I don't blame Greg for keeping his stuff. All of us become attached to something from our past, but I do think it should at least be organized and useful to someone. What good does it do you if you box it up and put it in storage, only to resurface for relatives so they can pick through your things after you're dead? I want to enjoy my keepsakes now, while I'm still kicking.

For example, if you have a favorite shirt, even if it no longer fits, you can still turn it into a throw pillow. The wife of a friend of ours took all his 'motorcycle' t-shirts and turned it into a quilt. I thought that was a neat idea. Functional and practical. I've also seen really worn clothing torn into strips and knotted into soft bathroom rugs.

We've framed shirts too. When Greg flew his solo flight, it's tradition for the instructor (and friends) to rip whatever shirt the pilot is wearing and write the date of the solo, the airport and the instructor's name. I took that scrap of t-shirt and put it under a frame. It made for a very nice keepsake.

Much as I enjoyed all the memories these old clothes ressurected, I'm glad to have the space back.

Who's the packrat in your family?


catie james said...

If any of us are packrats (and trust me when I say, my parents & I are among the most unsentimental, least packratty folks you'll ever meet), the trophy must go to my dad. He holds on to clothes and gadgets/tools/bits 'n bobs - no matter how outdated (clothes), or puzzling (the latter group) - because he might still wear/use them one day.

Marianne Arkins said...

My daughter. She's unbelievably sentimental ("Why are you keeping that used, crumpled tissue paper?" - "Because GRANDMA gave it to me.").

We're working on it. LOL...

Maria Zannini said...

Catie, hubby says that to me all the time. Being the frugal sort, I'll agree, but it does no good if you can't find it when you need it.

Maria Zannini said...

Oh, Marianne. I think you might have hit on the core of Greg's attachment to things. He is very sentimental. I'm the heartless witch in the family. :wink:

Jannette Johnson said...

It runs in the family here. My Grandmother was one, my mother is one, and so am I .

Once, my mother and I were cleaning out some old boxes from under her basement staies, and we found a hundred year old marriage licence.

We have no idea who it belonged to, as my mother didn't recognize the names.

Heather B. Moore said...

One of my grandmothers kept Mason jars in her bathroom cupboard--filled with everything you can imagine. I remember a jar filled with the dissolved pieces of used soap.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Janneette,

Probably the neatest thing about keeping everything is the surprises you find when you go through closets or boxes. If only our things could talk.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Heather,

Ref: ...dissolved pieces of used soap.

I guess to visitors that might look odd.

Did she make her own soap? I've known several people who make bar and laundry soap from slivers of old soap. I tend to slap the slivers on to the new bar of soap.

I'm too lazy to make my own laundry soap--although I should since I use a septic system rather than city sewers. Commercial soaps are very harsh on septic systems.

Heather B. Moore said...

No she didn't make soap, but just saved those slivers! She had bottles of misc. things like buttons, pins, washed out shampoo bottles, etc. I inherited a lot of her sewing supplies and I sometimes still use them :)

Maria Zannini said...

Your grandmother might have been too young to have lived through the depression, but it still had lasting effects on the generation that followed.

It wouldn't surprise me if she'd always been that way. I know many people of that generation are very careful to save little bits and pieces of everything.

I always ask them why they do it and invariably they tell me, "waste not, want not". It's not bad advice.

It's so nice you inherited your grandmother's sewing supplies. It's like keeping a piece of her alive.

Marian said...

Do I qualify as a packrat? I collect books, clothes, handbags, keychains, stamps, pencils, coffee mugs and ornamented boxes (to store everything in).

Though I'd probably get rid of some things if I had a way to do so... garage saling is not an option when I don't own a house, so I'll have to find a place which will take a donation or two.

Maria Zannini said...

You indeed sound like you hold honorary membership, but several of your things are bonafide collections.

I collect boxes too. My favorites are antique English wood boxes.