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I am in a phase in which I am making an effort to get out the rubbish and unused items of my life, and use everything that stays. This was not always so. Once upon a time (there are no written records) I was a ‘collector’, which is the men-folk euphemism for ‘shopper’* My late mother was not a shopper but she was a ‘savorer’ viz. she had cabinets full of knickknacks and figurines (“someday all of this will be yours!”). These were never touched. Precious expensive glassware and fancy utensils went unused even at holiday dinners and fancy get-togethers.

In contrast my Godfather is a ‘gobbler’ he has a lot of beautiful things but he uses all regularly. The downside of being a gobbler is things wear down with use. “Oh, why can’t we have nice things?” Mother would lament whenever we kids used ‘the good scissors”, which was code for please don’t use that as it will lose its just-bought luster.

At La Casa de Spo there are a few ‘nice things’ such as several sets of china which sit in cupboards, unused and mostly forgotten. Las week I got out Someone’s extensive napkin ring collection and started using them whenever I set the table, even for a mundane meal. No doubt in time some will break or lose their gloss, but I think this is better than having them lay pristine in the drawer never seeing daylight.

I am doing quite well with the new year’s resolution to discard something/anything on a daily basis. It’s been easy up until now as the low-hanging fruit of useless and broken items are gone. I now face items that are ‘neutral’: they are ‘good’ but aren’t of particular value, nor do they take up precious space. Do I let them sit there or do I get rid of them in principal?

There is a Swedish word** for clearing out your things as you age to spare your children the ornery task of dealing with it after you die. My parents, who are nice considerate people, dropped the ball on this one, not caring tuppence to clear things out before they died, leaving us kids the mammoth task of doing it all ourselves.

I have no munchkins but I have my future Self to consider. I like to think I am doing him a favor by channeling Miss Mondo now so he gets only the dear and the useful. On the other hand continual use of things has indeed worn everything down that all looks a bit dog-eared and frayed (Urs Truly included).

This week I am arranging for some church ladies to come by to pick up my bags of scraps and bolts of unused fabric. They make things for charity/homeless chapters, so it sounds like a win-win situation. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to give these items up ‘in case I may want them later on’ but after 15 years it’s a safe bet I won’t. I will feel somewhat sad to see it all go, but on the other hand the closet floor will be blessedly free. If I truly miss something, I am sure ‘they’ will make more.

Do you savor or do you gobble?

Do you collect/hoard or do you discard?

*I ask all my patients if they have money-spending problems. I’ve learned to substitute the word ‘shopping’ with ‘collecting’ when it came to the men-folk. Few men admit to being ‘shoppers’ as that is something ‘women do’, but they readily admit to collecting things.

** döstädning

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March 2022

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018