The burden of stuff

I was going to write about knitting, but “stuff” has been on my mind this week.  We have a three-ish season porch. During the winter I store on it the things I need for my farmers market booth (table, display racks, etc.) These normally live in the shed but we don’t shovel a path there.  Usually other random bits end up there as the snow creeps in, and there they stay for months. As soon as Spring springs I want my porch back so I start moving things back to the shed.

In addition I’ve been working through boxes of stuff from my childhood. These came to the porch last summer and I was successful in selling some things on eBay, but when I ran out of time and energy for that the boxes ended up living on the porch for the winter.

I bought a new loom late last fall and as there was no room in my studio for three floor looms one went to, yes you guessed it, the porch.

It is April, and warmer, and I’ve been reclaiming my porch.  Some old magazines went to the recycle bin.  The loom is compactly stored in a corner until I can make room in the shed.  Books were sorted into the library sale donation pile.  The back of the car is full of donations and recycling.

And I’m back to the childhood boxes.  Most of it is my doll “collection”.  I expect there is little to nothing of monetary value there.  Many pieces were gifts or inexpensive souvenirs I picked up on trips. If I never saw any of it again there is a good chance I wouldn’t even miss it.  Yet every time I open one of the boxes there is a memory of a place and time. Or of the giver.

I’m not a hoarder but neither am I one to throw away everything. It is an especially difficult decision about things that are not worn out.  If I had plenty of space I could leave the stuff boxed up out of sight and not give it another thought. But that’s not really a solution, it just defers decisions.

For whom am I keeping these things? I don’t have children to inherit them. The dilemma isn’t about sunk cost, any expense was decades ago and long forgotten. Other than one or two very special pieces, I don’t envision putting them out on display.

Why is this so very difficult?  Comments welcome.  Suggestions about doing more eBay (or similar) selling, not so helpful.

And because no post is complete without a weather report.  Last week was gorgeous.  Warm and sunny.  Lots of snow melted.  New birds have arrived (goldfinches, grackles, cowbirds) to my feeders.  This week is starting out raw and rainy.  Rain is welcome as I would like a green expanse rather than the brown lawn that winter has left behind.  The raw part I could do without, but it is all part of April in Vermont.

Author: Jennifer Kortfelt

Owner, Heron Pond Designs, a fiber and textile exploration.

2 thoughts on “The burden of stuff”

  1. It’s funny–we have the same sort of seasonal glassed in porch that gets stuffed with, well, stuff all winter. I’m in the process of trying to establish order out there and in a room that we’ve used for storage so I’m dealing with a lot of the same questions and conflicts. I can’t explain my attachment to these things . . .


  2. I have a very old Raggedy Ann and teddy bear that I can’t seem to get myself to throw out. I’ve thought of “gifting” them to someone else with the instructions to toss. They are too old and too full of dust to pass on to a child – none of which exist in my family.


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