Saturday, August 9, 2014

Storing my wine glasses in the "cloud"

When I reorganized our kitchen and dining room a few weeks ago, I decided that we use our wine glasses so seldom, that I ought to store them elsewhere.  And if I can farm out my data and electronic documents to "the cloud", why not do the same with my wine glasses and other household objects?

Having more stuff than I want is not a problem that's unique to me.  Self-storage outfits have been around for ages, of course, for people who want to keep their belongings around . . . just not keep them in the house.  But what I'm seeing more and more in my own travels and reading goes beyond having less space than stuff; it's a growing realization from even the non-miser types that we people have more than we need, more than we want, more than we should.

Increasingly I see companies advertising their decluttering services -- these companies make money by coming to your home to "recycle, donate, or dispose of your junk responsibly".  It used to be you'd read articles about heirs arguing over inheritances, but nowadays newspaper articles often describe the difficulties children face when cleaning out their deceased parents' homes.  It's getting rid of things, not keeping things, that is the challenge.

If I thought I was imaging this trend, the latest Consumer Reports issue dispels all doubts.  This "what to buy" magazine has, for the first time I recall, a giant article on "how to sell your stuff".  They carefully and meticulously rank categories like "Auction House", "Consignment shop", "Online", "Yard Sale", and "Donate".  The magazine on "how to buy it" has started writing articles on "how to get rid of it".   Something big is afoot.

In a weird sort of a twist, this trend makes it easier and easier for people like me to let go of seldom used objects and store them . . . where?  well, as I keep saying, "in the cloud".  I've sent the wine glasses out there, somewhere, into the general populace.  I boxed up my wine glasses for Good Will, knowing that if I ever change my mind and decide I want to drink wine from glasses with stems attached, they're a yard sale away from me, or at most a so-called-thrift-store away from me.

One advantage of being a yard-sale shopper is that I get a yearly tour of what our world has enough of already.  I don't need to pile up spare suitcases in my basement; every summer I pass by never-used, lightweight, better designed suitcases than the ones I bought a dozen years ago (for real money).  Occasionally, when we add a new kid to the family who needs his own suitcase, I'll plunk down a whole dollar and buy one for him in his favorite color.  But I've been purging our grown children's clunky old "just in case"suitcases from storage spaces.  Send 'em back to the cloud.

Wine glasses.  Small kitchen appliances (especially coffee makers).  Printers.  DVDs.  Christmas decorations.  Women's clothes.  Spiral notebooks.  Picture frames.  Craft supplies.  Mugs.  Furniture. Sewing supplies . . . . It's all out there in the cloud.  If you donate any of these items and later decide you need it back, all you have to do is wander into the nearest church basement yard sale or local thrift store, and you can buy it back.

Better yet, don't buy it back.  Tell your friends you're hunting . . . because if your friends are like all the rest of us, they have all these things tucked away in the back of their closets, and they're dying for a good excuse to move this clutter out of their homes.   And taking their belongings out of their crowded house will be your little gift to them, and to their children, and to their children's children.

If you see my old wine glasses out there, you're welcome to 'em.


  1. I love this! I send everything out into the "universe" and my motto is, "the universe provides". And it does!

    1. Doesn't it, though?

      And actually, just as I was getting ready to publish this post, my good friend told me she needed some wine glasses. So this time, *I* got to be her universe! -MM

  2. A friend of mine says it this way: she "stores" stuff at the "store." That's what stores are for. (This works great except for emergency supplies when everyone's having the same emergency at the same time.)

    I've also heard that if you get rid of not only all the stuff you're sure you don't need, but also all the stuff you're not sure about, then you'll end up re-buying some of the stuff you got rid of but meanwhile you have so much extra space that it's worth it.

    I'm still a person who can think that even though I haven't used something for decades, maybe I should still keep it, especially if it's a hard to find size or style or something. So I have a lot of work to do! I'm at the very beginner stages where I've just graduated to getting rid of things that are for activities I will never do (or probably never do) again.

    For example, I'm in my last job now; I get my pension in 6 months. (If I lose my job, I'll have to weight 18 months for my pension instead; I can live off savings until then.) This means I can get rid of all my job-hunting stuff. Woo hoo! I just lost some weight which I'm planning never to re-gain, so I can get rid of all those bigger clothes. (This size is very easy to find.) I'm not having periods anymore, so I don't need to keep any of my menstrual stuff anymore (except I am keeping some disposable stuff for imaginary future troubled guests--because I still suck at this!).

    Another thing I'm good at is throwing away things that are clearly ruined and that no one would want to fix. For example: elasticized things where the elastic makes that crackling noise when you stretch it and then it doesn't unstretch and it's hard to replace the elastic (like in hair bands and underwear).

    But I have *occasionally* been able to get rid of something I thought I probably wouldn't use just because I knew it would be easy to change my mind later. And this is definitely a great thing to keep in mind.

    1. I'm embarrassed to say I often keep things with crinkly elastic . . . because I also keep elastic. Somehow I think I'm going to play yenta between these objects . . . -MM

    2. Well, yes! The things that could be fixed with only a reasonable amount of effort! (Ignore the evil commenter on your left shoulder!)

      It's fun you get to know the person who gets your wine glasses!

  3. I'm very good at getting rid of stuff, I need to do better at not buying it in the first place (though, like you, I tend to always buy my things secondhand anyway).
    My question is if I truly get rid of everything I don't "need"...what do I do with the empty room? Moving to a smaller place isn't really an option (or a desire). Do you keep things just to fill up the space?

    1. Jen, I love this question SO MUCH that I'm going to write a whole other post on it! Keep your eyes peeled for later this week. The short answer, though, is that empty space is its own decoration -- and it's a decoration that signals luxury and wealth.

      (If you have *too much* empty space, though, you could do what my sister does. She lets her friends store their boat at her lake-side house, in exchange for getting to use it. On a smaller scale, one of my friend keeps her pressure canner in my basement, much to my delight).