This’ll be a long one, but well worth the read (if you enjoy delving into a stranger’s personal history – which I must assume that you do since you’re already reading this…). Do grab a cuppa and get nice and comfy if you can.
I sat down with a calendar the other day to check where I should be up to with my resolution to clear out at least one box a week. With school starting and the house inspection to deal with I’d let it slide a bit lately.
I should’ve emptied seven boxes by now.
Wait…. what? Really? 2015 is already seven weeks old?!
So at that point I’d gotten rid of four boxes – and only blogged about the first one. Bad Meg! Time to catch up.
I’ve created a Category called “52 Boxes” to gather all these posts under (yep, I finally worked out how to make categories!) and will catch up over the next few days. Once I’m back to where I should be I’ll aim to post about my progress each week on Thursdays. For now…
The 2nd and 3rd Boxes
It was week three by the time I did this so I pulled out two boxes to deal with, one full of random things and the other chock full of party supplies.
What. A. Mess.
This box was given to me after my parents hosted a MASSIVE joint party at the midpoint between both of them turning 60. It was their 120th, and they hosted it at their place.
In October 2010.
The box was full of leftover disposable plates, cups, cutlery and napkins, and everything had been randomly shoved in (including pre-wrapped cutlery sets in napkins) with the box left open.
And it had been stashed like that for four and a half years.
Needless to say, everything open was thrown out – until I came to the cups.
The basic tumblers were yellowed and disgusting, but the wine glasses were made of sturdier plastic and totally still usable after a soak.
It was a dilemma. On the one hand I want to shed a bunch of stuff and learn to be more ruthless about stopping myself from holding onto things “just in case.” But…. I’d already tossed a bunch of stuff and my resolve was well and truly waning.
But I can easily and cheaply buy more of these IF I ever need them! But…. they’re still usable. And not donate-able.
But they’re recyclable! But…. I don’t want to contribute so much to the waste stream (and before you say anything, yes, I know, they’ll be thrown out eventually anyway!).
By this stage the girls had discovered them and started stacking and sorting and offering drinks to their toys. That settled it: I’ll hold onto them for now and use them for games and craft projects, if nothing else.
I used this opportunity to finally designate a proper storage spot for party supplies to minimise the chaos that normally accompanies birthday parties around here. I chose a corner cupboard in the kitchen, next to the plastic storage containers (which I was inspired to sort, cull and organise a few days later).
I also gathered up all the gift bags and boxes I’ve been holding onto to reuse and popped them in there too.
Aw yeah! Bring on the parties! I’ll have that shit sorted this year!
On to the next box.
This one was a random assortment of stuff that had been sitting on a shelf in our old living room. Everything had been packed away dusty but was still mostly pretty good (except for the craft glue that was immediately chucked out). There was a small set of drawers full of sewing supplies; a wire ball/movable sculpture-thingy (that my youngest immediately grabbed to play with); a tiny hat I’d made for a cabaret/punk gig; a gorgeous Asian wooden lion ornament; and…
MOAR CRAFT BOOKS! Just look at all this potential gorgeousness. As an added bonus, I found one of the two books that really set me off down the yarn-crafting path:
I bought this book at a giant second-hand shop many moons ago, when I was a wee gothling who LOVED handmade lace but couldn’t really afford to buy the nice stuff. When I first stumbled upon this book (along with another book of tatting patterns that is still MIA) I was immediately taken by the delicate swirls of knots in such intricate patterns. To me, lace appeals to both my musical and mathematical brain: it is music made physical, with its repeating patterns of activity and rest, but based upon a logical “formula” of stitches strung together in predictable ways.
I haven’t tatted in years – the crochet bug kind of muscled in and took over – but back in the day I tatted doillies and chokers and gloves and embellishments at every opportunity. Such beautiful lace! But so time-consuming and painstaking!
One day I’ll have time for it again…
Speaking of back in the day, check out this little hat:
Not long before I fell pregnant with my first daughter I performed in a band for an amazing nightclub/cabaret event that a friend organised. It was so much fun! He drew on an olde-timey circus aesthetic and enlisted some amazing performers from the local burlesque scene. Then he pulled together a bunch of musician friends to create some new music for the performances.
The main composer was a lady who busked all over the place on piano accordion. Along with her, we had a guy who created drum tracks and played bass guitar, a girl on rhythm guitar, the promoter on lead guitar, and me on keys. The music was a kind of warped, steampunk/industrial/carnival cacophony and was so much fun to perform!
We accompanied a pair of pole dancers, a SUPER talented hula-hooper, and the grand finale with ladies on silks and lira, floating majestically through the air.
It was, in a word, amazing.
But this hat? Now? Dusty, rusty and disgusting.
I’d cobbled it together from a cut up takeaway container held in place with gaff tape, covered with scraps of material hand-sewn into place. Then I’d glued on the ribbon with a hot glue gun and pinned on a beaded jewel with the feather threaded through.
I sewed on a hair comb but it didn’t hold it in place firmly enough, so for the performance I’d had to pin the back of the brim down with bobby pins – which I’d left on the brim, leading to rust marks on the felt.
It was a bedraggled mess of a memento. I have photos to remember that night (which I could never forget anyway!!) and more than enough trinkets in general, so I made the decision to ritually pull it apart and throw it out.
Given how slapdash I’d been when putting it together, it was surprisingly hard to destroy. In the end, none of it was reusable or even in any state to recycle:
…so I said a final goodbye and added it all to the big bag of rubbish from the party supplies.
Once everything else had been cleaned up and put away (the lion into a display cabinet, the sewing supplies into my craft box, the small drawers in the cupboard next to the party supplies until I find a better use for it) I took the rubbish through to the hallway until I could take it out to the bin.
The 4th Box
This one was fairly empty and pretty straightforward.
The spray bottle, rack and pegs were added to the kitchen supplies. The books were added to a donations box. The stack of craft books (ok, this is getting embarrassing now) was added to my almost-overflowing shelf. The rubbish was thrown out.
And then I came to the boots.
They were actually in decent condition. I used to wear the sturdier ones out clubbing quite a lot and could see myself still able to get away with them in winter now. The strappy PVC ones? I barely ever wore them (and only ever to things where I knew I’d be sitting down a lot) – but still don’t want to give them away.
They’re in my cupboard for now. I’m thinking I’ll polish them up and sell them.
Just…. not quite yet, OK?