Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When's It Past It's Prime?

I've been accused of being a bit of a pack rat. I'll admit it. I tend to save things, and there's a bit of clutter in my small apartment. Not where the house is so packed that people can't sit down without first needing to move things around, or where there's so much stuff that a person can't even walk. But I do have a lot of stuff. Part of the problem is that I always wonder if I should save something. In case I might need it. Or in case I might want to reference it later.

Clothes. You never know when you're going to need that handbag or hat. Or even shoes. A girl's gotta have options. And yes, that shirt was maybe not the best look, but hey, it might come back into fashion! (Or in my case, I often buy items from abroad, and let's just say they're a little ahead of us with their fashion I've got items in my closet still waiting for their trend to make it to the U.S.!)

And even some old shirts that may have a stain on them, I keep them. Thinking that there will be the day when I'm cleaning or just need to wear something I can get dirty. (Note to self. So it turns out that I don't need 'dirty clothes' all that often, time to throw some away!)

Kitchen. Ahhh! My kitchen. Don't touch a thing. I need it all. I love my dishes, small plates, glassware, appliances, all of it. Nothing to purge here, move on!

Books. Now don't get me started on books. I can't throw away books. I can't even give away books. I cherish books. They are sacred to me. And not only do I have a bookshelf full of novels, but I have stacks of cookbooks.

What else? Guidebooks. Travel books like Fodors, Lonely Planet, Frommers. You name it. And food guides! Michelin. Zagat. Other random ones. Do I look at them? Sure. Every once in awhile. And especially the San Francisco restaurant ones. I frequently flip through for inspiration on where to go. or use it to jog my memory of places I haven't been to in awhile.

But how long do you keep these books for? I mean, after a few years, things change. Restaurants close. Hours change. There are new chefs, new hot spots, new sites. And besides, with the Internet these days, are these hard copy guides even really necessary?

I prefer the hard copy guides to just Internet research. It's a place I can actually jot down notes. And a place to flag places I want to go check out (ask my friend Tim--there are literally hundreds of little post-it flags in my New York Zagat guide.)

Recently, in a continuous effort to purge, I went through my closet, kitchen, and books. The closet was hard. But not undoable. Just a little time consuming.

The kitchen? Really tough. But there were certain things I could get rid of (I guess I don't need four spatulas.) At least I was able to create some new space, and to reorganize myself so that I was happy with it all. And I was definitely able to get most of my items in the cabinets so that at least I had a tad bit more counter space for my cooking!

But the books? So hard! Books that I've been telling myself I'll read (but that I never will.) Old guidebooks (who really needs San Francisco's 2004 Zagat guide? Or Frommer's 2001 France guide?) I did make some progress. (Sorry SF '04 Zagat, bye bye. But France 2001? For sentimental reasons, it stayed.)

It felt good. I'm going to continue to purge. Maybe this will be come a new thing for me?

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