They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. Mostly this is applied to addictions like booze. In my case it applies to addictions like shoes. Yes, it rhymes, but its not the same thing at all.
Today is inventory day. This is the day where I get honest with myself about what I have, what I need, and what I’m actually going to take with us when we move from Phoenix to Spain. And about 15 minutes ago was the moment when I admitted I had a problem. A BIG Costco sized problem. A BIG Nordstrom sized problem.
Our children are grown, or nearly grown. The big house was sold last year. The one with the extra refrigerator and freezer. I used to go to Costco and fill up the extra freezer with stuff ‘we might need’, ‘just in case’ the grocery store ever ran out of food – or the entire University of Washington football team dropped by. Neither of these things ever happened.
I used to buy 100 rolls of toilet paper at a time, because, well – I could. And I would just put them in the storage room and replenish as needed. I was a hoarder but one that American society applauds because when you buy in bulk, you save money. Never mind the fact that you have $200 tied up in toilet paper for 2 years. I would have been better off investing it in the stock market.
In the US, I was raised that more is better. When we moved to our current house, I was proud of myself. I got rid of a ton, literally, a ton of stuff, and donated it all to charity. But half of ‘way, way too much stuff’ is still ‘way too much stuff’. It’s simple math, and I can’t take all this with us to Valencia.
My husband, Jeff has now officially banned the phrase ‘But what if I ever need…?’ from my lexicon. Different weights of wool black pants, 5 different heel heights of a patent black pump, and his favorite – a rainbow of colors in Converse sneakers. Don’t get him started on my wedges.
Heading into the kitchen brought me no joy. I have – no kidding – 12 frying pans. TWELVE. Jeff held them up.
‘We only have 4 burners on the stove.’
I am incensed.
‘They’re clearly different sizes and the sides are uniquely curved. See, some are graduated and some are straight up and down.’ Duh.
He looked at me like I was speaking in another language.
‘Can the spaghetti sauce or the bacon tell the difference?’ he asked.
‘No – but I can.’ I assured him – frowning.
‘You get 4. Four pans of varying sizes. And that’s assuming you use them all at the same time to cook a meal. The rest are going.’ He waved goodbye.
Next came the kitchen utensils. OK. I know I’m a little specialized in this area. I have an antique nut chopper. But hey, I use that at Christmas to make Russian tea cookies with pecans. Jeff reached in the drawer and held up something green.
‘If you can tell me what this is, I’ll let you take it with us.’ he offered charitably.
Oh the pressure. I hated pop quizzes in school. It was egg shaped and it had a scraper thing on the outside. So I knew it would scrap things, but I had never used it. I remember buying it on sale at Sur La Table in Scottsdale last year after a croissant making class (Note: I haven’t made croissants since then – who knew it was so involved?). But with the label gone, I had no idea what this thing was supposed to do for me.
‘I need to go to the bathroom! I’ll be right back.’ I declared.
He couldn’t protest this. I grabbed my phone and ran to the bathroom and shut the door. Pro tip: Googling ‘green kitchen utensil with scraper thingy’ doesn’t return results that are at all helpful. And the pictures were nothing like what my husband was holding up. I waited 5 minutes and then returned to the kitchen, hoping he would have lost interest. But he was too cagey for me. He was still standing there with the green unknowable clasp in his hand.
‘So? Did Google help you figure out what this is?’ He smirked.
‘What? I don’t have to Google it.’ I assured him – rolling my eyes.
‘So what is it?’
I squinted and concentrated like a carnival fortune teller – but nothing came to me. It was green. I looked around the kitchen and my gaze landed on an avocado in the bowl on the counter.
‘Its an avocado scraper!! Duh? I can’t believe you didn’t know that.’ I said with bravado I didn’t feel.
‘You can’t use a spoon like the rest of the civilized world?’ He looks at me with the contempt I deserve.
‘Not if you want your guacamole to be bruise-free.’ I say confidently.
It’s a good thing we have 4 months to go before the movers come. We’ve only gotten through one utensil drawer and the pressure is killing me.
2 thoughts on “More is, well…More”
You’re an inspiration. I have officially given up on my avocado scraper. I have heard the book about the Japanese Art of Decluttering is good. You hold the item in your hand and if it doesn’t bring you joy it goes in the Goodwill pile. I’m trying that out today. Wish me luck!
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Having survived an international move myself (and a two of non-international ones too!) I can totally relate, although I don’t think my hoarding problem was as big as yours LOL! I got rid of a lot of stuff and a couple of years later I haven’t missed any of it. Actually, I now need to do some decluttering every now and then and it feels great. I feel lighter. So, go for it! Don’t be afraid!
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