Spring Cleaning

It’s April and spring is finally here. Up here in Humboldt County, we don’t really see a lot of seasonality. This winter has been particularly dry, although our apartment did get pretty chilly at times, and so a couple space heaters really came in handy. The past few weeks, though, we’ve found ourselves using them less and less; even our down comforter has been making us a bit too warm during the night. These changes are really subtle, but they all signal the season ahead.

Since Becky had come to stay with us last week, I took the opportunity to make a lot of changes around our apartment. We stocked up on some new furniture at IKEA during our trip to see our families, and so Becky and I spent the week putting together our new kitchen table. It’s a lot smaller but suits our space a lot better. We also set up a metal shelf for the kitchen, which freed up a lot of counter space (something rare in our apartment’s kitchen!).

In our living room, we still lack some shelving that is absolutely vital. RJ made some makeshift shelves out of milk crates, but we’ll be getting a new bookshelf for all of his computer-y belongings soon. We also set up our new coffee table, although it was missing a piece, so we were unable to attach the shelf. Still, it really adds a lot to our space, and I feel like it really balances it out.

RJ and I are working on getting our new bed and mattress within the next few weeks. We have a few great mattresses picked out, and we’re going to go with an inexpensive bed frame from Costco until we can afford a much nicer frame and headboard.

Today, I’ve gone through a lot of our old clothes that haven’t really been worn in a long time. RJ has way more clothes than I do; he was really attached to his stockpile of tee shirts, but since we’ve moved into our new apartment and we have a baby on the way, he’s agreed to let me clear most of them out. He hasn’t worn many of them in over six months, and they just take up space in our (shared) dresser. Since we’re both growing up, we agree that it’s time to shift to a more mature wardrobe. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of my colored jeans and teenagery blouses. I also decided to part with some of my worse for wear clothes, like stained tee shirts or ripped pants, that I had been holding on to. After Penelope is born, my body will be a lot different, as will my lifestyle, so it will be time for new clothes anyways.

I’ve always thought a lot about physical objects. I grew up with the mindset that objects are important and need to be held on to; that they have this inherent value in just existing, and even if you’re not using it, you should keep it because you might one day. Even if you won’t, you should keep it and try to sell it, because it’s worth something. But the houses I grew up in with this philosophy were always cluttered; not dirty, but they had objects in piles and in boxes along the walls. The sheer amount of physical objects was the decoration. Our houses had white walls with very little hung on them; the furniture didn’t match; it wasn’t a very homey place, and it wasn’t a place my family was proud of. We didn’t have friends over or have dinner parties. It was a very lonely place.

I want to live a different kind of life. If I have objects in my life I’m not using, maybe there is someone out there who can. I don’t want these things sitting in my living room for years until I can find a buyer for old tee shirts–it is much more worth it to me to donate things that I have no attachment to. And so that’s what I’m doing today: compiling all of these objects that have to use or meaning to us anymore, and I’m going to give them to a place where people who need them can find them, and find use and meaning in them where I couldn’t.

I love thrift stores. I love the value and history behind second-hand items. But all of those items made it there because someone decided they didn’t want them anymore, and didn’t see a value in selling them. For me it is so liberating to free myself of objects that are meaningless to me. I don’t see it as getting rid of things I could potentially use, but as making room for the things that are truly important to me. There is such a difference.

– Amber

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