Confession time. Are you ready?
What favorite things do you have in boxes in your attic, basement or hall closet that you just can’t let go of? How many times have you moved them?
I’ll confess to being something of a hoarder. I tend to vest objects with such sentiment that it’s hard to toss them in the trash. I also don’t believe in buying new things when the old still have life in them, even if those favorite things are still packed away. One day, of course, I will find exactly the place for them and I’ll be so glad I was vigilant.
Right? You’ve been there?
When we bought our summer cottage in Chautauqua, NY, built in 1895, the house was fully furnished. A previous owner, whose family had been here for many years, had filled it to the roof and from what I’m told at that point the house was no longer habitable. The next owners cleared out much of it, did basic repairs and renovation and stocked it with used furniture, dishes, cooking utensils, even towels and sheets for renters.
By the time we came along there were still some items that had obviously lived here for decades, if not for more than a century. Our task as the newest owners was to sort and toss, not a good job for anyone who feels a personal connection to plates she’s never used and furniture that is interesting, if useless.
And, of course, we still had boxes of our own treasures to integrate.
Several years have passed, and little by little we’ve given away things we don’t need and repurposed or displayed other items we just couldn’t part with. Very little went into the trash–see above. In fact we’ve taken things from the roadside to use in the house, the favorite way families recycle here. In turn others have taken things we no longer needed. We’ve refinished two gorgeous desks, installed the oak table my children grew up with on our porch and in every possible way combined our own treasured objects with those already here.
I thought you might enjoy a look at some of the things we found and repurposed. We still have a stack of old sheet music we’ve been carrying with us for forty years–no, I’m not kidding. But we’ve selected the ones we plan to put on the wall here, and once they’re up I’ll show those in a future installment.
Maybe there’s a metaphor here for life. Finding the things we truly value, taking care of them until we need them, using them to adorn and enrich our lives, and sharing whatever we don’t need with others who do. Whether there is or not, take a look.