In retaliation, I own both downhill and cross-country ski equipment, tons and tons of books, and have a long-standing fetish for antique decoys and old linens. I own a ton of Christmas decorations. We might or might not want to mention my wool collection, which takes up about 5 large Rubbermaid bins. We should mention that between the two of us, we owned 2 of everything: irons and ironing boards, coffee machines, espresso machines, coffee grinders, cutlery, dishes. Towels, beds, linens, chairs, desks, and sofas. It's a miracle we actually need to buy anything ever again, as a matter of fact.
We have a barn beside the house with a little attic we store our duplicates in. When friends mention they're shopping for something and we think we might have a match, we invite them upstairs and let them have a look. We're delighted when kids grow up and move out of their parents' home. We give away things like colanders and bundt pans and pots and pans. Need 30 champagne flutes for an upcoming event? No problem, we've got you covered. You might as well take the organza table runners and tea-light holders while you're at it, too.
Living in a sparsely decorated house with no attached garage, basement or attic, coupled with the fact old farm houses have no built-in closets caused us to become creative. Rather, it caused us to become slovenly. We'd pitch stuff up there so haphazardly that the attic storage started to become unmanageable. And the more stuff we'd bring up there, the worse things got, obviously. Excuses for not tackling the space piled up like the contents: it was either too hot or too cold. We didn't have the time, or we weren't in the mood for organizing.
Finally, it was Eric who made the first move: his collection of National Geographics was on the chopping block. I decided to take them to the War Memorial library, but when I got there to drop them off, a volunteer told me to chuck them straight into the recycling bins out back because there is no demand for them. The horror! I couldn't bring myself to do it. Then I had a brain-storm. Maybe the Montessori preschool was interested? I keep forgetting to drop by and ask, so it looks like I've got a permanent collection of National Geographics in the trunk of my car now. Dammit.
Well, with Eric parting with his precious National Geographics, we moved on: We culled boxes and papers and obsolete computer equipment. Mice had taken a feather bed to task, so in the garbage that went. We found clothing that neither of us claimed to own. (Maybe someone's living up there besides the mice, and we don't even know it?) We've recycled tons of stuff, given away tons more, and every day, we put stuff at the road for passers-by to pick up. By the next morning, it's almost always gone. It's so nice that we've managed to make space upstairs and get things under pseudo-control. My conscience is nearly eased.
Today, I went through boxes of old books and sorted a whole lot out. All the books are going to the War Memorial Library for their monthly fundraising sale. The paperbacks are left at the bookcase at our local IGA, which sort of functions as a lending library. You take one book out and put one book in. Or in my case, you put the books in and don't even THINK of taking one home. (Must. Avert. Eyes.)
With the upstairs of our house in a state of renovating flux, my decoys don't have a proper home yet. Today, for the first time in a decade, I opened up the box and had a look-see:
When we tore out our old staircase, we saved those balusters and newel posts that weren't cracked beyond repair. Of course, we pitched them upstairs:
I have no clue what we're going to do with them, but I can't bring myself to part with them just yet. I thought of refinishing the best newel post and putting it back into the house, but I'm not sure how I'm going to integrate it yet. I guess time will tell.
Those lamps I swore I'd turn into piñatas? They're all up here too...just waiting...for what I don't know. Probably for me to clean them off and stick them on craigslist or kijiji:
I'll probably just get pissed off, one day soon, and put them at the side of the road. I'm sure someone, somewhere, would love to hang one of these in their basement, above their poker table...
(I'm dreaming, aren't I?)
These hanging rattan chairs were THE cat's meow - what - 40 years ago? They're like...vintage...yeah...vintage, that's it. We have two and one day...one day...we're going to put them somewhere. I remember swinging in these when I was a kid, and thinking I was a character straight out of a Pink Panther film. I'm just seriously wondering if we can make them work somewhere in our house. You'll notice the feathers stuffed in the top corner? Part of a mouse nest, made out of that feather bed that died an unfortunate death. I'm sure those mice were pretty happy, though.
Oh. Pray tell, what have we here? Why, it's box, a relatively LARGE box, with hundreds and hundreds of corks in it, that's what! One of my friends has a gorgeous cork-board made from used wine corks, beautifully framed and hanging above the sideboard in their dining room. It's a work of art, and when I saw it, I was smitten. I feel bad for all those wine corks, unceremoniously chucked into landfill sites, slowly rotting away. Sadly, this box makes us looks like we're world-class winos, but rest assured, we're pretty sober most of the time. One day, I'm going to turn these into a bathmat. Or trivet. Or room divider. Or birdhouse. Or whatever images dot google dot com spews up the day I get around to transforming them. (Seriously. Google used cork art. You'll be amazed at the creativity. You'll never throw another cork into the garbage, ever again.)
And that, dear friends, is but a small sampling of the goodies stashed away in the Shim Farm attic. Slowly, we're organizing this jumbled space into a more functional area, clearing our conscience along the way.