I’ve written before about how I used to hold on to everything that I ever bought and everything that I was ever given until I had to move and knew that there was no way I was going into a new place with all that stuff.


I believe that this need to hold on to stuff was passed down by parents who grew up poor and who, not knowing if and when they would be able to get something new, would hold onto an item until all the life in it was unquestionably gone.


When times got better, this holding pattern fast developed into the putting up of things that were given as gifts, which meant preferring to place the linens in the “press”, setting the glassware in the cabinet and leaving the serving platters in the hutch for that proverbial rainy day.


It just never seemed to rain though, and the only things that got cloudy were the glasses, cups and stemware that grew dusty from non-use. After a while, important pieces of paper made their way into the cups, and the glasses held drink stirrers along with other wedding favours and memorabilia.


Years later, while searching for something totally unrelated, you could discover that your mother still had seven sets of white sheets that have yielded to beige, several past-their-prime tablecloths, quite a few no-longer fluffy towels and a number of living room curtains that had long since lost their will to live in any room.


And they were all unused.


However, I’m trying to decide whether the person who puts things away is better than the person who puts everything out.


Ever go into a house and every available space is covered with those things called tchotchkes?


The owners of these items are people who have never seen a porcelain figurine that they didn’t like. And even though they obviously live on this island, they don’t have a problem displaying every single souvenir from “Antigua” that was made in Nepal.


I once went into a local store known for selling souvenirs and noticed that they had several roosters on display in the house wares section. They weren’t really my taste, but I attempted to take the cover off what I thought was a cookie jar until I realized that its real purpose was to serve no purpose at all except that of being displayed.


And I wondered who on earth would buy such a hideous thing until I happened to see it gracing the shelves of a quite a few what-not-stands in quite a few houses, leading me to realize that it was actually quite a popular item.


I can’t say often enough that I don’t judge – behavior, preferences or taste – because I could say that these instances of “putting up” and “putting out” are equal wastes of good money.


But I won’t. Just like I ain’t calling nobody a hoarder.



9 thoughts on “Knick-Knack-Paddy-Wack

  1. I know what you mean. I put all the fine china away, with the express purpose of using it for ‘nice’ events. I think we’ve used the plates three times in my ten years of marriage.

    1. That’s better than a lot of people I know. But when I surveyed all the gifts we got for our wedding, we resolved to use them all – and we do.
      The kids can get their own stuff.

  2. Just got back from my Dads and I saw one of those put outs of a chicken. My Mom must have bought it at a rummage sale and just put it away. The house is filled with that stuff. Things given to her or things purchased that just were put up on a shelf. She’s been gone for four years and Dad still has them.
    I got not stuff. Actually I got a little bit of stuff but it all has meaning. I just found two ashtrays my Uncles made my Grandparents back in the early 50’s. I remember them sitting on the coffee table when I was a little girl. That’s the stuff I have and I am picky about what I keep. But, I got sisters who like stuff.

      1. I hear you. Mine will say other things, just not sure what. I’ll have to think about that. Maybe I’ll ask him next time he calls. What bad thing will your kids say about you?

  3. This really made me cackle! Being Nigerian, I have witnessed the system, shall I call it, of hoarding almost passed down from generation to generation as though it were part of our culture. My parents kept these wine glasses and fancy crystal decanters from their wedding that they never used, because they don’t drink. To get rid of them? Complete problem.

    Love your style of writing, and thanks for following my blog! Xxx

    1. Okay not to make this a complete love fest but I’m enamored with your writing style too.
      Anyway, when I view (in small doses) the show “Hoarders” I realize that our parents really aren’t that bad.

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