From the Blog

Trying Not To Fill The Space

So we’ve spent a year or so downsizing. Which is like, forever. We got rid of a ton of stuff we didn’t need. With less stuff, we could fit into smaller spaces and pay cheaper rent. With less stuff, we had fewer things to haul around every time we moved. We were focused. We were diligent. We got rid of a lot of stuff.

And then we moved into a giant apartment. We didn’t mean to. It just sort of happened. We were ready to move into a small one bedroom, or even a studio. We were prepared to squeeze ourselves into a small space to save money and pay less in utilities. But what we found was a huge ass apartment with more space than we know what to do with. It’s almost a little embarrassing.

Now we’re in this huge space, and I am trying to keep from wanting to fill it. We don’t really need any more stuff. But I find myself thinking, it would be nice to have a bench by the door to put our shoes on, or, it would be nice to have a reading chair in the bedroom, or, it’s making me fucking crazy that our coffee cups don’t match. I don’t NEED any of that stuff. If we got any of those items, they would likely only be useful in this current apartment. Who knows if we will have the space next time? Except the coffee cups.

I use ONE coffee mug. It’s not fancy. It’s clear glass, and I got it for free when I worked at Starbucks in Hawaii. It’s my favorite. Instead of using any of the perfectly serviceable coffee mugs that might be clean in the cupboard, I’ll fish this one out of the sink or dishwasher, clean it, and use it every day. All the other mugs are a mishmash collection. Only under the most dire circumstances will I use the mug that says Life is a Chair Full of Bowlies. Yes, I do realize they have medication for this. (By the way, Dave’s favorite mug has kitties on it.)

Right. So. Not buying stuff to fill the space. That it what I am trying to do. Not buy stuff. I’ve been pretty good about this. We’ve inherited a couple free tables for our workstations. I did buy a fish tank and grow light to grow an herb garden. But we’ve been pretty good so far. Not buying stuff. Not that we haven’t been tempted. Vintage Hardware is just down the street, across the street from the brewery. We pop in about once a week “just to look.”

It’s kind of a ridiculous place. This was the lobby of the original Astor Hotel. In the time we had started visiting Astoria, we saw this space boarded up and vandalized, but with peeks of soaring spaces and old glamor. They pulled the plaster off the windows and reopened as a curator’s wonderland of old stuff. They left the peeling paint and gaping holes in the ceiling, and filled the place with treasures, junk and inspiration.

Now that we live in a building that was built in the 1880’s, I’ve become a tad obsessed with sturdy old furniture. I’ve been on the lookout for a headboard for our bed, since the most logical place for our bed is against a window. And the cat likes to walk on our faces to get to the windowsill. And I want to be able to sit up and read in bed, but then I’d be leaning against the blinds, and that would be soooo uncomfy, and, and…you see how this goes? I need a headboard. I really do. But I haven’t bought one yet. Because it’s stuff. And also, I haven’t found exactly what I want yet.

As we’ve visited this store in the past month or so, I had my eye on an old rocking chair. It wasn’t anything special. It was old and rickety, with worn varnish and a split in the thin veneer seat. But it was low to the ground, and it was comfy to sit in. I could envision sitting in this chair with a book and a kitty. We poked around in the store every week or so, and I always looked to see if this chair was still there. I hesitated to get it because, you know, it was stuff, again, and ultimately not something I needed. The split in the old seat concerned me, since it wouldn’t be easy to fix or replace if it broke completely.

Last week, I saw that someone put a hold on it. I felt a sting of disappointment. Oh well. There are zillions of old rocking chairs out there. Probably in better condition, and besides, I don’t even need a rocking chair. I let it drop out of my mind. We have an uncomfy Ikea couch (that I hate) to sit and read on. Sigh.

I expected the rocking chair to be gone next time we visited the store. But the price tag had been replaced and the hold was taken off. I asked the owner of the store about the split in the seat. He recommended liquid nails and a bar across the bottom to reinforce it. He knocked off $10. We bought it.

The owner of the store said he got the chair from a farmhouse in a town that we had never heard of. Whoever sat in this chair was a heavy smoker. Wow, it’s a stinker. There are years, maybe generations, of cigarette smoke soaked into this chair.

The varnish is either worn away, or sticky from decay. There are spindles missing, but in an almost symmetrical way. I’ll probably add some reinforcement under the chair, and where ever else it might be loose or weak. I might sand it or I might repaint it. I’m not super nostalgic or concerned about authenticity. I’m just letting it off gas for a while until I decide what to do next. It’s comfy to sit in, and I do love me some rocking. Since my birthday is around the corner, I am considering this my birthday chair. It gets Dave off the hook.

I also got a cheap little footstool I had my eye on. It will help to keep from slouching over my desk. I needed this. I did.

So far, it’s not working very well.

Comments

  1. My cat saw the last picture and gave me a look that seemed to say, “I’m confused — that footstool appears to be working perfectly.”

  2. I confess I have lots of stuff and while making an effort to improve, I still suck at getting rid of stuff. However, I have been acquiring at a much slower rate in recent years. If that is enough to qualify me to give advice, here goes- If you love it and can afford it, then buy it and be happy about it. I own several things that make me smile every time I see them, touch them or use them. Lose the guilt and smile every time you put you feet on that little footstool.

  3. It appears that you have purchased a kitty pedestal. In the feline world, this is an absolute necessity.

  4. The bummer about the Kitty Pedestal is that he would gladly shred it to ribbons if allowed. I’ll have to cover it with a plastic bag or other noxious impediment to keep him from hooking his claws into it. This is why we can’t have nice things.

    Cassie, you are so right. When coveting new “stuff,” I have to take the time to agonize over it. If I hold off on the purchase for a couple weeks then forget about it, then I know I didn’t “need” that item. In this case, I was still thinking about it after a month. So I think I can buy it guilt free.

  5. Aunty Laurie says

    PLEASE DON’T PAINT THE CHAIR!!!! The wood grain is beautiful, and I’m sure that it would not be difficult to strip that finish off with the right Formby’s product! BTW does it have anything written on the underside, maybe the makers mark?

Speak Your Mind

*