November 27th, 2012

Really?

Today's Activities Include: 4 More Boxes

A couple years ago, the contents of a storage unit and some of a two bedroom condo in Seattle arrived here in a moving van. The storage unit wasn't that large, and wasn't that full, nor was the condo. Nevertheless, it is exactly the kind of disaster that leads to appearing on a cable TV show about hoarders.

The good news is that I went through a lot of it immediately. Also in good news, we have a full, unfinished basement that is more than capable of storing this kind of nonsense indefinitely (dry, not needed for living purposes, etc.). The bad news is, once I got through a lot of it, what was left was Harder Decisions. I poked at it occasionally, but these last few weeks are the first time I've managed sustained attention. Partly this is a result of finally have a good sense of where to send things that we are done with (hooray for HGRM; I am so happy they take my still-has-use-left-in-it-stuff I gave them money this year to make sure they continue to excel at what they do so well). Partly it's some health problems abating. Partly it is the kids both having good school placements.

In any event, R. and I got rid of 4 boxes worth of stuff in the basement. One of the boxes was candles and candle holders. There were a couple of really nice candles and slightly more decent candle holders. There were also a lot of partly used candles, tea lights and unbelievably unappealing, inexpensive holders for same. We're not sure who these belonged to, and since the stickers on them said things like .99 at Hallmark, I figured it didn't really matter. They're all gone now. A few items got sorted into one of the boxes of stuff from one of the renters (it'll eventually make its way to them, or, at least, their storage unit). The last of the Denby Boston Spa set went to HGRM (this was a bit of a shock: it had once been a set of at least 8 and _I_ think more like a dozen full place settings. All of the dinner plates are gone [ETA December 1: Aha! The dinner plates have been found. There were 8 left, which means _more_ of them survived than anything else.] and the cups, bowls, lunch plates and saucers were reduced to a 4 place setting with a few extra -- in the 6 years I wasn't in the condo but the plates were, over a thousand dollars worth of pretty good china/stoneware was destroyed or went missing). The full Haviland demi-tasse set (it was in the sideboard, which was never opened, unlike the kitchen cabinets) survived completely intact and I reassembled it from various crates and boxes. I'm still not sure it'll ever get used, but it's pretty so I'm keeping it.

Some more of the Mikasa crystal showed up; it rejoined the rest of the set. A few other odds and ends of antique china reappeared and rejoined the rest of what I had found during previous forays. We also found _still more_ kitchen knives; those also went to HGRM after some sharpening/straightening. Most exciting (hey, it doesn't take much), I found the hot dog bun and hamburger bun pans I was looking for and the (unused) checkerboard cake pan, along with some other kitchen odds and ends. Oh, and R. was excited to find my thermapen (didn't even need a new battery) -- he'd never bought one because he thought it was a little too much money, but was happy to find it.

There are still boxes to be dealt with, but the end is in sight (at least of things sitting on the floor, as opposed to on shelving).

Regretting Decluttering

Recently, I posted some linkfu. Somewhere in one of those posts was a pointer to a years-ago discussion raised by someone contemplating a Big Purge. The poster wanted to know if anyone had done this and regretted it, or, in a larger sense, how people felt after. Virtually no one had regretted anything, and the ones who had regrets had very, very, very marginal ones.

At breakfast with two friends the other day, I realized I was talking to two people who had been at least as many rounds of decluttering as I had -- and they each had significant regrets about specific things they had purged. Oddly, it was usually purging craft-y/decorating things that caused the problem. After reducing acres of fabric to a much smaller pile, they had each had situations arise (that could not have been predicted) that a particular purged portion of the pile would have been perfect for (and neither felt that asking someone for similar items from their as-yet-unpurged pile of craft items was an acceptable substitute).

So that was interesting. I could think of two items that I regretted getting rid of, neither did I remember _specifically_ choosing to purge, but rather that I hadn't been able to find them when I wanted them. One was a turquoise sundress that was perfect when pregnant with T. that would have been equally perfect when pregnant with A. -- but was nowhere to be found. *sigh* That still bothers me. I've never seen it again; I probably really did intentionally get rid of it, possibly because it was showing a lot of wear. But I wasn't able to find the particular style when I was pregnant the second time, which was a bummer.

The other item I was unwilling to admit to in person and am only willing to admit to now because _I JUST FOUND IT_! I didn't get rid of it at all. When I was probably in my late teens (probably either 16 and just baptized as a JW or 18 and just graduated from high school), my cousin S. gave me a very small ceramic tchotchke, and it's one of a vanishingly few items of its type which I kept. I love my cousin S. (and would love to re-connect with her, as I think she's now permanently Out of the religion, and helping a LGBT student group in the school where she is a teacher, which I find profoundly awesome in every way), but that's not why I kept the tchotchke. It's a bookshelf. It has a cat on it, which is sort of a negative, since I've never had a cat (allergies), but I do like cats, and I dearly love cats on bookshelves (Twice Sold Tales in Seattle was a lovely place to go and pet cats while looking at books and conveniently near good restaurants with full bars to appropriately set the mood). I found it in my memory/photo box along with my sister's and my clay sculptures from elementary school. I had been thinking I'd love to put that tchotchke in the curio cabinet with the spoon and a few other odds and ends, but had no idea what I'd done with it.

Which is all a very long winded way of saying, wow, I really virtually never regret the things I get rid of, and even when I do, I probably haven't.

Today's Activities Include: Grains

I've been wanting to make some [ETA: brownies] for a while. I just used the BH&G recipe for cake brownies, subbing oil for the melted butter and soy milk for the milk. I screwed up and doubled the cocoa powder. Oh, woe is me! [ETA: Brownies was in the subject line, but then I changed it. Thanks to R. for catching the resulting lack of an antecedent.]

I _almost_ made them with white flour, but then decided the spelt kernels were getting a little long in the tooth and needed to be used. I ran half and half spelt and soft white, figuring I was only going to be using it in quick breads/cakes/etc. anyway.

We got the Eden Organics shipment today, so there are new, 50 lb bags of soft white and hard red in the pantry; I actually had run them all the way down and the containers in the cupboard were mostly empty, too. With this order, I got some barley and brown rice, too. I _think_ I can cook the barley in the rice cooker. Also, if for some reason I decide I want a closer approximation to all-purpose, I can use barley with wheat kernels in the mill.

R. claims that barley and bacon make a nice soup. I'm a little skeptical. We'll see.

The directions on the bag suggest cooking it with kombu (which I'm a little embarrassed to admit we have a bag of that is largely untouched). R.'s comment was that this seems very macrobiotic.