Monday, August 25, 2008

Purple Bowling Ball?

It seems like there are two types of personalities when it comes to accumulating "stuff"--Pack Rats and Clutter Busters. We all know both types . . . we may fall into either category, or rest rationally somewhere in the middle (smiling smugly beside Mary Poppins, and murmuring "practically perfect in every way.") And we all know the signs. Pack Rats save their clothes from the 70's (and the Disco ball if they were able to snag it), every college notebook they ever wrote (or doodled) in, unopened boxes of Ronco sweater-defuzzing devices, old hamster cages, keys to gym lockers in other states, whoopee cushions . . . you get the picture. And, when they reach a certain age, this saving compulsion is likely to extend to margarine containers, old newspapers, and countless packets of soy sauce.

And then there are the Clutter Busters, extreme version: These folks have the opposite compulsion, and in their haste to keep things simple and organized they pitch the instructions to a brand new electronic gadget (if not pieces of the gadget itself), throw out the key to the safety deposit box ("didn't look familiar"), dig up the marigolds when they get overcrowded, check the expiration dates on packages of beef jerky, and itch to "thin" their spouse's closet.

I was born to a Clutter Buster mother and a Pack Rat father. After they divorced, each indivually honed their skills. Mom threw everything away (I'm lucky to be here at all) and Dad had entire rooms prone to avalanche. Fortunately (though I'm no Mary Poppins) my tendencies fall somewhere in the middle . . . leaning more toward the clutter busting side (aside from truly sentimental items or heirlooms). I pride myself in never having thrown out hubby's Disco shirt (oops, did I say that?) . . . and understanding his need to lug a 1960's purple bowling ball from California to Texas. And, on more than one occasion I've let slabs of cheese get "fuzzy" in the fridge. By my calculation, these acts save me from being a certifiable as a Clutter Buster. But, boy howdy, do the local thrift stores love me--cause I'm thrilled with an excuse to clear things out and donate! I've just spent a Saturday doing exactly that and have several boxes of stuff ready to go. But apparently I have my own purple bowling balls. Here are a few (admittedly inexplicible and strange) things that I can't seem to part with:

1) A full-size mock up of a wedding cake, fully frosted and decorated with a skull and crossbones and miniature firefighter groom topper. (A prop for one of my mystery book signings)

2) An old card from a friend (sent after my tsunami of personal disasters). It says:
"The barn burned down . . . now I can see the moon." I still choke up when I read it.

3) A black leather vest loaned to me by a rock musician . . . too awkward to return, too historically significant to toss. Out of the question to wear. A true conundrum.

4) A cherry cigar--unopened. Another prop from my mystery writing days. The character who smoked them still hangs out in my office on occasion. (Yes, writers are weird.)

The church garage sale is going to be happy with my clutter busting . . . and relieved not to deal with purple bowling balls. My hubby's or my own.

So how about you . . . Pack Rat or Clutter Buster? And . . . what's your purple bowling ball?


Mocha with Linda said...

My folks grew up in the depression and were Pack Rats Extraordinaire. Cleaning out their house was An Experience. They not only had all their old bills, but the envelopes. And the stupid little ad inserts that come with them all. The sheer volume of stuff we got rid of was staggering.

So cleaning out that house kinda treated my own tendencies to hoard. Although I do struggle with a few mementos from high school and college. And a shirt I really loved when I was younger that only has sentimental value.

But I can't think off the top of my head of any purple bowling balls per se. Although one will probably fall and hit me on the head the next time I walk in a closet! LOL

CandaceCalvert said...

Hi Linda!
Oh, I can truly identify with an Experience in cleaning out parents' homes. My father passed away last year and it took four siblings WEEKS and WEEKS to clear and clean his house. I wasn't kidding about the "avalanche"--I could have lost a brother or sister. But, on the good side, we uncovered a lot of priceless sentimental treasures . . . and learned so many new things about him. I remember calling my hubby from California (he'd gone home from the house clearing before me) and he told me he was "shredding and cleaning closets and clearing." Of course his bowling ball doesn't fit in the shredder. And it's not like I can easily smuggle it out with the trash . . . oh, not that I'd EVER think of such a thing!
Thanks for stopping by. :-)