BY MARK GRAY
Unlike what my wife may think, I’m not a hoarder. Our garage is not a storage shed and I often drop by unneeded articles to Deseret Industries and Saver Stores. However, I don’t see furniture buying as a zero-sum game; just because you buy a certain piece of furniture doesn’t mean you have to toss out a piece of equal heft and size.
When we purchased several bookcases last week, she immediately wanted to rid us of two smaller items, neither or which take up much room and both of which could still have a purpose (a depository for framed photos, current books, a prized vase or figurine).
My wife objected. She saw the small items as clutter. She has become the embodiment of Henry David Thoreau and his admonition to live simply. C’mon, I tell her. We live in Davis County, not Walden Pond. I tell her that keeping a small four-foot stand is not the same as worshiping “stuff”, especially when we have the space in our home to keep it. Her answer: “If it were up to you, you wouldn’t throw anything out.”
That’s not true. I had no trouble tossing old bowling trophies in the trash; I didn’t shed a tear at discarding old shoes and shirts; I regularly take books and CDs to retail stores specializing in used merchandise; I don’t have bins full of old bills and receipts.
BY DAWN BRANDVOLD-GRAY
But one or two little pieces of furniture...no harm, no foul.
Before we go any further, Mr. Gray doesn’t routinely use the word “figurine” and he never dusts the silly things. When he cries out for the place to put the knick-knacks, his words fall on my deaf ears. Secondly, it is true that some of his clothing ends up at the DI or at Savers. However, to suggest that he is a willing participant in this activity is akin to suggesting that Kim Kardashian shops at these stores.
When I ask him to clean out his closet, he acts like the factories have shuttered and sewing machines have been outlawed. The truth is that I go through his closet and, like a stealth assassin, remove one item of clothing at a time banking that he won’t notice that it is gone. After about a year of weeding, I sneak the bag to my car in the still of night, praying he doesn’t look in the trunk. We are on a strictly “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to closet cleaning.
I admit that I go a bit overboard when it comes to clutter. I don’t like extra “stuff” lying around and figure that if other people can get use out of something I’ve grown tired of, I should pass it along. I don’t buy furniture often and when I do, it is usually replacing, not adding to. I’m not tied to things and having a house full of items doesn’t make me feel more secure. It’s just more obstacles to vacuum around.
I like to “travel light.” You don’t think of angels hauling around extra book shelves. And like I’ve pointed out to my hubby, once you get on the dark side of 50, everything you have in your house is just one more thing for your kids to have to deal with after you go. The Grim Reaper doesn’t collect your clutter when he comes knocking.