I was talking to a friend of mine in the antiques business. A lifelong antiques-enthusiast myself, I find wandering among the booths at any one of our local antiques meccas just a wonderful activity.
He was moaning about the young generation and their fixation with wood-grain particle board, and glass & steel.
I think one of the nicest things about owning antiques is the sentiment behind them, the uniqueness of each piece, and the story behind how it came into our lives. The most recent acquisition for my first husband and myself is my mother’s oak fliptop desk, bequeathed to me when she moved into long term care. My name was on a tag at the back for 40 years.
It’s a wonderful piece of furniture and I’ve just recently downsized my office, simplifying my workstyle and ‘chucking’ a lot of ‘stuff’ in the process.
Throughout the experience I felt I was just one step ahead of our kids and the dumpster!
While each of them likes the odd antique, there’s very little of our stuff that anyone has expressed interest in. Great grandmother’s dining room furniture? Nope. The harvest table cum coffee table? Nope. Now, I’m not complaining (well, I guess I am, a bit) but when it’s time for us to head over to Grove Park Home, I know the kids will be screaming at us: “where did you get all this stuff???”
So, downsizing my office was my gift to the kids. That’s my reasoning, anyway.
For instance… four big boxes of black & white and coloured negatives were chucked out. Gone! “Now, that’s a generational word,” said my first husband, who was on the road for business while all this was happening.
… and two shoeboxes of 3 1/2 inch floppy disks, full of articles, photos, designed magazine pieces etc. I haven’t had a computer that would take a floppy since my dual-system mac in 1997. Gone! I gave a long hard look at all my backup CDs too, but I didn’t feel quite ready. The kids can do that.
Books… Pierre Berton’s The National Dream and The Invasion. Ivanhoe. Emily Post’s Book of Etiquette (a gift from my grandmother when I was 12–not a favourite gift as I recall). Readers Digest compenium on birds, animals, and plants… gone! File folders. Binders. Meeting paraphernalia. Sticky notes. Pared down to what I think are the essentials.
You might be interested in what books I kept. All of Malcolm Gladwell’s. Go Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Last Child in the Woods by Louv. Lennon Revisited. Steven Jobs. Emotional Intelligence. The 10-Minute Clutter Control Room by Room manual. The Artist’s Way. You, the compendium of everything that can go wrong with your body. Gloria Steinem’s Moving Beyond Words.
I must point out these are just the books in my office. There are still chock-full bookshelves in the family room… don’t worry!
It was interesting. I have been fortunate to receive many awards. I’ve taken pictures of all of them. I’m scanning photos like crazy to go on our very-large digital photo frame… should help.
Closets and shelves and bins and folders… the royal wedding (Diana and Charles)… gone!
What really helped in this process was visioning. I visioned the kids standing behind me with the dumpster in the driveway and I didn’t want the hassle of listening to them whine that they have their own ‘stuff’ and have no room for mine.
And so now my office is pared down and quiet. There’s very little room for anything except what fits in mom’s desk. And a four drawer filing cabinet. And the multi-shelved closet. Well, it was a good beginning.
We were sitting in the family room last night. First husband back from road trip. Mom’s desk used to be in the family room so its former contents are all over the place and I started to tackle the contents, sorting and pitching (dumpster-threatened). I picked up several little zip lock bags–tiny bags–and wondered how much space I’d save if I tossed them. I asked his opinion.
What’s in these bags? he asked.
The kids’ baby teeth! Every single one. Whimper, whimper!
They’re gone, now!
See what I mean? It’s the threat of the dumpster! I’m not kidding!