Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dirty Laundry

Technically not dirty and therefore not laundry, but I'm airing it here anyway.

In the ongoing war against crap, I tackled my sock drawer today. I don't know how I got to a point in my life that my sock drawer would need tackling, but here I am. It was a real effort to get the drawer fully closed (and I'm not even talking about when all the laundry is done. ahem). Wool socks, smartwool socks, cotton socks, footie socks, weird fuzzy socks, tights, stockings -- I despise stockings. I never wear them. And yet there were, I don't know, half a dozen? more? pairs in there. But mostly, lots and lots of wool socks. Well, Vermont. You know. Wool socks are as essential to life up here as maple syrup. More so. You can put peanut butter on your pancakes.

But why had I let so many years go by without getting rid of holey, heel-worn, threadbare itchy socks? Partly because socks are inherently useful, and I hate to throw out ANYTHING that might serve a purpose. And partly because I hate to throw out anything reparable. I can't darn. I hear you can needlefelt a patch onto a wool sock, but I've never tried it. But still, the socks stayed, awaiting resurrection.

But why? WHY? Maybe I'm the reincarnated spirit of a Depression-era housewife, habit-bound to wring every last drop from every ketchup bottle. Might be. I don't like tossing out rubberbands or string or twist ties. (I don't like to, but I usually do. Usually.) I tried canning this summer. I want to learn to quilt. So, yeah. Could be.

Or maybe it's just that I'm caught between that scrimping, thrifty mentality and the reality of the world in which I actually live. Material things flow ceaselessly around me, too easily gained and too easily replaced, and far, far too easily accumulating. A thrifty consumer isn't too many steps away from becoming one of those sad people on those hoarding shows. 

So it's time for another not-a-resolution: no more stuff comes in without something else going out (preferably by donation). I'm not going to delude myself and think I can keep up with it for all three of us all the time, as well as the household. But I can stick to it for me.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tia,

The first time I visited my soon-to-be husband's family his mom was counting out 31 single socks. We spent some time discussing the meaning of that number (4 people living in the home) and how long to hope for mates to show up. Your post is nostalgic for me.

Grace said...

In our house, old socks become cleaning rags before finally going to the Great Ragbag in the Sky.

I find it's *somewhat* easier to justify throwing out old, disgusting rags when the drawer starts to get over-full, than it is to justify throwing out socks.

Grace said...

P.S. I still wish there were a ragman who would come and pick up all your old, holey clothing and turn it into high-quality paper. Just shows that I have an inner Depression-era housewife too, I guess.

tia said...

Yes, a ragman would have been perfect!

I do sometimes save old cotton socks or dishcloths for cleaning, but I don't like wool socks for that so much. BUT I could totally have saved them for stuffing dolls or knitted animals. Crap.

Well, socks divorce and wear out all the time -- won't take long to find more. I haven't even looked in Tom's drawer yet...

Medifast Coupons said...

That was my new year's resolution, something new comes in, something old has got to go. Well it is the 24th of January, and I have been getting rid of clothes. Even the hubby is helping. Unless the 80's comes back full force I am good, because that is what I am presently getting rid of. I can't believe this is how I used to dress, funny stuff.

gourmetmom said...

Ah yes the sock drawer! Congrats on taking it back! Aren't we all sort of living in a depression now? I know that I haven't hit the stage of keeping Oj cartons to fill with kindling like my grandfather did but I know I think twice before buying and keep things longer than I should with this what if feeling. Good ridence to the panty hose, definitely invited but a guy!

Micmacker said...

Sock puppets. Then put on a show.

Cindy said...

You truly inspired me ... I now have a few empty shelves in my dressing room (it's not that fancy, trust me) and I can see AND USE the floor in two closets! Yay!

So many donations I used every box I had saved from online Christmas ordering! A double whammy of efficiency!

I love the stair thingie - can't imagine anything cuter or more usable than what you wrote about! What a fun project!

I got a quilter for Christmas and am working on setting up a craft/sewing room -- I'll keep you posted :)

AG Ambroult said...

Mmm--that's a good policy. One in, one out. We instituted that policy for stuffed animals, because the grandparents are relentless at buying them. My kids' solution? Leave them at grandma's so they don't have to get rid of any beloved stuffed friends at home.
anyway, after reading this, I'm going to consider a one-in, one-out policy for everything. Somehow I still think it'll be a losing battle.