Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Decongesting the stores : #Decluttering #Finding Productive Uses For Old,Redundant,Unused Stuff.

The passage of years and the collection of belongings run concomittantly.Numerous items like utensils,crockery,gadgets,garments,footwear,books,journals,linen and outdoor/indoor games slowly but insidiously crowd our living space.

As soon as a young couple gets married they dive into a spree of buying essential items which will enable them to run an efficient household.In the subconscious kindles a desire to buy costly upmarket stuff  to raise their living standard.Friends and relatives add to their treasure.Then come their children and their needs and and belongings too multiply.Time passes.

Thus it goes on until one day they realize that a lot of unused and now useless stuff is actually crowding precious living space without giving anything in return.This day dawned for me a couple of years back.So I pulled up my socks and got to work. 

It was like a journey in a timemachine.There were things which served absolutely no purpose.Things which belonged to an earlier era:Like a pair of ancient weighing scales;many timepieces;an old gas stove;and defunct irons,toasters,and mixer grinders.The flight of years and a changed lifestyle had rendered them useless.All these were given away to whosoever would have them.Faded rugs and aged footwear followed suit.

Next in line were things which could work but had been replaced by newer versions.I was holding them in the hope that some day they might serve a purpose,but what hope was there of this happening when I had not even touched them since umpteen years?I gave them away to needy persons and was mighty pleased with this change in my thinking--I was becoming less of a hoarder.

But old habits die hard.There were many new steel utensils which had been put away because they were surplus.But I did not want to give them away even though I did want to clear some space in my cupboards.So I worked out new ways of using them. I chucked out many plastic containers and took out steel items which could be used instead. A steel teaset began to hold condiments, sugar and mouth freshners.Tight lidded pots and pans were used to house ghee and oil. A beautiful antique brass glass began to hold cutlery instead of the old plastic stand.The shelf stuffed with unused steel utensils heaved a sigh of relief. 

But this task of decongesting the store was getting harder and harder. I had to do something about my overcrowded crockery shelf.Crockery is a kind of fetish with me. I see a beautiful piece and I am impelled to buy it.Nevertheless my crusade to clear the store had to continue.So the teapots began to hold money plants. Milk jugs and sugar pots came handy for housing picckles,sauces and curd starters. Adieu to a couple of teasets.The fancy bonechina tea cups had to remain for guests. I couldn't use them for our daily tea because I'm a good breaker of things-they just slip from my hands. Since I needed new cups for the daily tea,I took out juice glasses and began to use them instead.Now the crockery cupboard showed signs of improvement. 

After this I switched my attention to a tier of linen and curtains which had become surplus-having been replaced by new ones.Two badgered bedcovers were spread over mattresses to protect them from spills.I folded another and stitched it to make a yoga mat.An attractive curtain began to be used as a divan cover.Another curtain was transformed into four cushion covers:giving a new look to my living room. As you might have guessed, I am very good at stitching. 

The next task was again a difficult one:heaps of rejected, unused garments.I had already given many to my maid,gardener and sweeper.What to do about the rest?This revived memories of door to door sales women who used to exchange old garments or sheets etc with new utensils-not that I needed any-but still,it was a good way of disposing off unwanted clothes.

Anyhow the problem had to be tackled. So I selected a shirt of mine and made an apron out of it while another was made into a shopping bag.A couple were stashed to be used as dusters(hoarding again?),yes.However this made only a small dent to the problem.So I contacted an NGO which accepts old garments to be distributed to the poor.Finally I took the whole lot and gave it to them.

We conserve many things in the hope that our children will use them after us. But if they are well off they are unlikely to need old household stuff or have space for it.Even middle class youngsters want to buy the latest stuff of their own choice.What I did was,to invite my kids to take away things which have heirloom quality, or are dear to them and dispose off the rest.Now I  have more storage space and less of cleaning and maintenance to do. It was a very satisfying journey believe me.