Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cleaning out the Attic

The crap we hang on to!  Both Eric and I owned 3 bedroom condos before moving here.  The fact we were both in our 30's when we met meant we'd already accumulated a plethora of goods.  We both had hobbies that took up space:  Eric owns scuba equipment, motorcycle racing leathers, loves his radio-controlled models, photography and books.  He owns the largest drafting table I swear I have ever seen, plus a drum set.

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:
Ahhh, I'd forgotten all about the pin-tail.  I love those birds like they're my off-spring.  Every decoy has a story behind it, and I clutch them to my chest and carry them around, smiling like the damn fool I obviously am.  The photo above is just the tip of my decoy iceberg.

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 piƱatas?  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...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.


Robin said...

I want to live in your attic! It seems so much cooler then the stuff we have around here. I go through things fairly often so I never have enough for a garage sale. Off it always goes to the second hand store.

I think to have one of those cool attics that movies are made of you have to NEVER get rid of anything. My grandmas house was like that.

I get afraid when Lee starts ordering stuff online. It's never stuff I can toss and there is no place to put it around here. Maybe when I have actual closets. lol. When we die I think all our crap is going to be a homesteader/gardener fun house.

I can't believe you made me look at cork art. How cool! That is the last thing I need to start collecting around here though. I don't know where I would put it in between all the other stuff. lol. Sometimes I find myself longing for our town days when my biggest annoyance was not being able to park in the garage because of all of Lee's tools.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Robin, let me tell you, we've done an admirable purge. There's more stuff to go, but the start is made.

You wouldn't like to live up there - it's either too hot, too cold, and there's a funky smell!

I hear you about the closets...I'm still waiting on that detail, too. In the meantime, lack of closet space actually makes us consider (and reconsider) stuff and what we really need. That's the upside, I guess.

Hope you're doing well. Your blog, like mine, has been very quiet. Hope it's all good.

Ling Mancil said...

That is a lot of corks...

You could use the balusters and newel posts to design a small table for the living room, or maybe combine them with the rattan chairs and convert them to standard chairs rather than hanging ones.

I sympathize with having to let go of some of the things in your attic. I know most of those held a great memory for you guys. Though I still can’t get over the corks. Heh.

Ling Mancil

Keaton Oakes said...

Yeah, it’s too bad that they don’t reprocess the corks that were thrown away. I hear they make good soundproofing material for door and window gaps. Or maybe if you have enough if it, cork windows and floors for complete soundproofing! Well, maybe start small with the gaps first. Haha.


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