Part of the decision to move to a much smaller home – in my case moving from a house I’ve owned for 12 years to a rental apartment – is the understanding that a smaller place means less room for stuff.
You understand this on a logical level but perhaps not on an emotional level until it comes time to start deciding what moves with you and what must be disposed of by selling, donating, etc.
This is particularly hard if you have a collection. I know people with collections of crystal figurines, clocks, lighters, ashtrays, salt and pepper shakers, baseball caps…
I’m not a particularly sentimental sort and I’m not big into collections. Ok. I did collect books (several thousand hardcovers) for years. And perhaps I had a brief lapse and collected Beanie Babies a while back but generally… I’ve never been much of a collector.
19 years ago on my honeymoon I had bought a lovely handmade pottery teapot from a local artisan. I’m not a tea drinker and I’m not sure what struck me about the teapot but I had to have it. I parted with $75 for this teapot and was happy to do so. It had pride of place on a shelf in my kitchen.
My mother got the notion that I wanted to collect teapots. First it was a Christmas gift of a teapot that looked like a hound dog wearing a Scottish style tam. Then on my birthday a teapot shaped like a rooster. Both of these got displayed along side the original art pottery piece in my kitchen.
My mother-in-law and my sister-in-law got the notion that i was collecting teapots. Over the next several years I was gifted with teapots for Christmas, birthday, Mother’s Day, anniversaries – any gift giving occasion and soon I was overrun with teapots.
And I still don’t like tea.
I began to comment how I didn’t like tea and I was a coffee drinker. No one got the hint. By now the shelves in the kitchen were bowing under the weight of all of these teapots and having run out of room to display them there they’d begun creeping onto the bookshelves and tables in my living room.
Being young and not wishing to appear ungrateful – after all it’s the thought that counts, right? – I continued to silently resent the teapots. By this point I had clowns, more dogs, cats, an elephant, several elaborate teapots that looked like an old fashioned sewing machine, an old potbelly stove, and a chess board. I swear I was having nightmares about teapots forcing me to drink tea after a while. At last count there were over 50 teapots in my teapot collection.
And I still don’t like tea.
I can’t even imagine if I had to deal with all of these pots today. Fortunately, a few years ago I finally worked up the courage to put a halt to the teapots and no longer have any – other than my original artsy teapot.
The problem with a collection is it often overruns your space and becomes a weight on you. When the last teapot was gone I felt a sense of lightness and freedom. I hadn’t realized how much the burden of all of these possessions – the dusting and the space they take up – had become until they were gone.
And I still don’t like tea. I’m addicted to coffee. But please, for the love of all that’s good and right in the world, don’t buy me any more coffee mugs. With my luck it’ll just turn into another collection.