Monday, May 22, 2017

Cutting Strings to Sell, Donate, or Trash

Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination. -Christina Scalise, Organize Your Life and More

Now that we have decided on having an estate sale through a broker at the Queen Mother's house, I am gathering things together from my own home to take down to Florida to be sold. Most of those things were gifts I did not really want from the Queen Mother that accumulated over the years, and I kept most of them because...well, the Queen Mother takes it personally when a gift she has given is not on permanent display and, yes, she would look.

Her gifts were gifts with strings attached with expectations. Once she gave a seven-year-old girl in the family a special edition Barbie doll and the girl, of course, immediately began taking it out. The Queen Mother was not happy because she gave it as a collectible. I though was cruel to give a doll to a young girl and expect her to enjoy just looking at it in the box, like she did hers. She did not think to try to explain that it was meant to stay in the box, after she unwrapped it.

So, I learned soon after my marriage that if I did not love any gift she gave me, she seemed to take as I was rejecting her. It really was a stretch for her to get to know what I liked and there were a precious few times that she would surprise me, but for the most part I just saw those attached strings of expectations. I always had it in the back of my mind, even when she stopped coming here to visit, that she may live with us or near us and come here again.

I knew that those strings had me all tied up. I felt like I had to keep that stuff to keep the Queen Mother happy, because her love language to everyone else is gifts. I could have packed them away and only brought them out when she was coming, which was rare, but I just did not. And, I think the thing that bothered me the most—actually, weighed me down the most and paralyzed my thoughts to rid myself of them—was that I did not keep them out of respect for her, but more like fear of her being upset with me. Every time my eyes would rest on something the Queen Mother gave me, a thought of how it came from her and how she was insensitive to what I really like would surface, but in her defense, I do have eclectic tastes that only those who really know me or are attentive would get.

In honesty, I used to appreciate some of her collectibles, like the Boyd's Bears, because before the Princess, we had a children's guest room with a teddy bear theme and my husband likes teddy bears, but over the years even those have lost their appeal to both of us. I have switched from accumulative mode to downsizing back into simplicity and practicality for our lifestyle. I am now rather selective about what I want to look at and dust off every two weeks for the rest of my life and the majority of things the Queen Mother has given me are just dust collectors for the most part, not even my taste.

I am not really like most people from previous generations: for instance, I have always thought (even as a child) that having a formal dining room and another informal dining area is a waste of living space. I like one dining area, so I love the now popular open plans where the kitchen is practically part of the living room. However, I do like a quiet library room.

The Queen Mother has a china cabinet filled with her better dishes, which are quite plain, and hordes of her figurines and glass collections, while my china cabinet is not for fancy dishes we use a few times a year—although I have to say that is perhaps not entirely true, which I will explain in the next paragraph. Instead I have my everyday dishes, which are the Pfaltzgraff Tea Rose pattern. I had loved that country fresh pattern for many years and some of their heart shaped bowls and servers, so when a friend was putting together a good-bye party at our church in Florida before we moved to Georgia, she asked me what I wanted if people were to ask her and they were it. She bought us a set and I was thrilled. Later I found some bowls marked down for clearance at a K-Mart. I thought K-mart was discontinuing them but actually Pfaltzgraff had retired them. Once while shopping at an antique store, I found a large set with about 10 settings and a few other pieces that looked brand new and bought it all for $65. So, every day I see the dishes we actually use and we have to get all our dishes from there. Now Pfaltzgraff has again gone into production with them, but not with all the pieces they used to have.

In the bottom half of my china cabinet, I have another set of dishes that was given to my husband before we met. They are ironstone Colonial White by Homer Laughlin, which is the same company that made Fiestaware that has come back into popularity, so they are producing it again. I am not that fond of the Colonial White, but we have used it for holidays. It looks nice with a red table cloth and colorful Christmas trimmings. However, it is not fine china but was probably meant for everyday use, because it is heavy, which I actually prefer, and feels more like it should be in a restaurant. I have wanted to get rid of them several times, but I decided to again keep them because their high gloss and the angular Dover mold style makes it more up scale looking and appealing—and because ridding myself of the other stuff in the bottom of the china cabinet allowed more space.

Back to my point, I am trying to go through my house gathering items for the sale and carrying items to the two bins marked to sell or donate with the trash can handy. I will be going down to Florida on my own with DragonHeart packed full to meet with the estate sales broker, so she can see everything we have to sell. It is just amazing what I have accumulated through the years. However, I cannot tell you how freeing it is to have space and to think what I really would like to place here and there. I knew that I was feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in my home for years, but since yard sales do so poorly here and some things were worth a little something, I just held on them. Now I finally have an opportunity to really let go of quite a lot, which will be sold and what is left over will be donated and done with.

I probably would have worked through this stuff faster if I was not fasting, but I did not go into a full water-only fast. I have been drinking milk and kefir in very small amounts throughout the day to stimulate losing the fat and because I knew I would need more stamina to do this, although I have to say, it still takes it out of me. I think I was about 10 pounds over the what I like to call my comfortable heavy weight when I officially started on Tuesday—frankly I did not step on a scale until I had been fasting two days because I just knew. I have to start coming off of it today or tomorrow so I am strong for the trip. I am and should hold down to around that comfortable heavy weight and will have to try to fast again later to rid myself of the rest of it.

My Lord, thank you for helping cut these strings that have had me tied to fear and keeping things I did not treasure. I am happy to let them go to people who do find pleasure in them and to have my home reflect only what I finding pleasing. 


  1. Your dinnerware is sooo pretty! We use the blue willow pattern ~ NOT the original, just the cheapies from Woolworths. I love blue & white china so am very fond of this.

    I do hope your sale goes well. I have been washing miles of clothing to return to various children or be trashed because it is clutter I don't want. I am happy to keep a fishing supply in their drawers but anything beyond that needs to leave this house!

    1. Thank you. I still like it and there was a time that I really loved blue and white china, too.

      But then my husband started with "I noticed that this or that is missing...." but I am trying so hard not to second guess my choices. There are some things I could have kept for the Princess and her children, but I am keeping things that I think will make good memories, like books I read to her that she and I can read to them...things that make memories, not just collectibles.

      There was a cute bear and bunny framed art, but I am getting pretty jealous of wall space, wanting it for my own artwork and the Princess' too. Things like that....they crowded my space, so I was brutal and they are going.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.