10 Items a Week . . .

6 09 2011

A few years ago I adopted a new policy regarding acquisitions:  If something comes into the house, a like thing must leave.  This policy took effect not long after we had our master bathroom floor tiled and I had to empty my husband’s closet.  He’s a PGA golf professional — a teacher — and he wears golf shirts to work.  Plus he likes clothes.  But when he came home an hour or so after I’d emptied his closet, told him that he had 93 golf shirts and he just shrugged, I knew we had a problem.  But it became personal when I bought a set of dishes (service for 8 with attendant serving pieces) for a veritable steal.  I unpacked the boxes, washed the dishes and realized I had no place to put them.  Quite frankly, I can’t remember now what used to live in the space where these dishes live now.  Obviously they weren’t that important.  So since then I’ve taken various opportunities to get rid of excess material possessions.  (See “Dumping.”)

A few weeks ago, Facebook friends started a group called “10 ITEMS A WEEK,” as a support group for their own organizational efforts.  As it happened, the day I was added to the group I had thrown away a bunch of non-functioning pens . . . in a fit of frustration.

Off to a great start!

And since I’ve already been walking the walk AND talking the talk by making my monthly Goodwill drops, I felt sure I was going to be the star member of the group.

That is until the china.  As part of my job, I was asked to help the widow of The Dead Boss to help her organize a storage shed in anticipation of the sale of her house.  She told me that there were many boxes that had been moved from one property to another and then to this one without having been opened.  Three moves over 6 years and no one really knows what’s in them, EXCEPT she thinks the service for 20 of dishes bought sometime in the mid 20th century in China are part of the bounty and that she does not want them.  If I don’t help her then they will go to the handyman.  Well, hell, I can’t let that happen as a self-respecting dish whore.

So I met the widow early in the morning and we spent 2.5 hours in the shed.  We had a huge stack of boxes for the handyman to “get rid of,” as well as a few things I was taking home.  My husband was kind enough to help me unload them into the garage.

Only the boxes inside the big loop are in this. The others are recycling bins.

It was too hot to work in the garage when I brought them home, but a cold front moved through over the weekend and I planned to spend Labor Day morning getting the dishes unpacked, sorted, washed and stored.  Of course I had to make room for them.  And somehow I got sidetracked and decided to purge the cabinet in the laundry area where I keep vases.

Don’t you have this many extra vases?

And the sideboard didn’t escape scrutiny.  Everything to the right of the plant is going.

Then I tackled the built in cabinet in the kitchen.  Frankly, I had already moved a bunch of things out of this cabinet and into the Goodwill box in the garage.  But it still needed to be pruned.

There was no way that 7 (or is it 8?) boxes of dishes would fit here.

The blue goblets on the top left were given to me by mother were put in a box to take to the nice guy in the office next to me who said he’ll use them.  The soup tureen and Chinese plates on the top right are going to my step-daughter because they belonged to her mother who died in 1987.  Left center — being donated, for the most part.  (I just can’t get rid of the antique amethyst canning jar.)  Center square (I loved Paul Lynde!) are going to be sold in a neighbor’s estate sale after they are considered as props in a photo shoot next weekend for a challenge called “Glass.”  The remaining things needed to be rearranged and the shelves washed, etc.

I don’t have a photo before I put any of the “new” dishes in, but this is a good representation.

So now I could unpack the boxes, sort the dishes, get them inside and wash/dry them.  It turned out that instead of service for 20 it was two sets of service for 12 that had almost identical patterns.  Let me say that this is not a china pattern that I would have chosen, but it is really starting to grow on me.

You might notice a few glass pieces in the background — 2 bells and 4 candle holders.  Yes, I kept them.

Into the house and sorted by type and pattern.  Ready for the bath.

This part took a very long time because I really do not like washing dishes.  Drying them even less.  So they get stacked in the drainer.

After all was said and done, I was able to enjoy the results and look forward to the Chinese banquet for 24 that someone else is going to cook.

Postscript:  There was also a box of silver plate.  My neighbor who is going to have an estate sale soon came and took almost the entire box away.  I did keep 4 pieces:  a set of toast tongs (do you have some?) and 3 seafood forks that it turns out were lifted from the London Hilton.