March 29, 2007
I’ve been driving around all week with a 13-gallon trash bag full of footwear in my back seat. I didn’t intend for that to happen. I planned to drop the bag off in the donation bin behind the oil change place on my way to work on Monday morning, and Sunday night put the bag where I would see it as a reminder. Saw it. Completely forgot about it by the time I passed the bin a few blocks later. I am now hoping that publicly declaring my intention to drop it off will spur me to action. After all, it was posting on a message board that led to me filling the bag. A thread titled “How many pairs of shoes do you have?” made it impossible for me to ignore the bloat in my collection. I guessed at my number, then counted and found I had more than I’d guessed, then remembered the box of spring and summer shoes I’d stashed in the basement. Can you say “excess”?
Over the weekend, I weeded through them, filling one bag with pairs to donate and another with pairs fit only for the trash. (I also added a pair or two to the little pile of athletic shoes I plan to send to Nike for the Reuse-a-Shoe program, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m just kidding myself about that. The odds that I’ll actually box them up and ship them don’t seem very good. If only there were a drop location closer to me, I’d have a better chance.) I still have a lot of shoes and boots, but at least now they aren’t overflowing to places they shouldn’t (like a box in the basement).
I need to find a way to be less sentimental about my stuff. Intellectually, I know tossing an object doesn’t mean losing the memories associated with it, but emotionally I’m not convinced. I see the things and I remember the stories and I worry that if I don’t have the things anymore I’ll lose the stories. Take the Bass boots. I haven’t worn them in probably a decade, maybe more, but I look at them and remember buying them the weekend before I announced my engagement, when the not-yet-Mr. Karen and I took a trip to Grand Rapids. They survived many earlier rounds of wardrobe pruning, but they’re in the bag now, along with the white pumps I wore in my brother’s first wedding in 1985 and a bunch of other shoes with stories. Maybe next round I’ll be able to give up the faux Birkenstocks I bought at Jewel the summer my dad was dying.