Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mom's Stuff, Part 1: Dumpster Diving

My mom is planning to move on May 1, and she's been living in a big house in Roseville, a suburb of St. Paul, since 1960 (with a brief interruption in the 1980s). She's got a big Dumpster in the driveway, and my brother and I (with assistance from our spouses) have been throwing stuff in it as much as we can. There are also boxes and boxes labeled Goodwill, with stuff to be donated to that worthy cause, and then, of course, the boxes of stuff she wants to take with her -- enough of those to prompt Hubby to ask me more than once, "How big is this place she's moving to?"

This has been a good incentive for us to keep to our own downsizing agenda. Sunday, we came back from Mom's with my husband resolving to clean out the garage and the attic -- this weekend.

So on our way to Mom's on Sunday, as we pull up and eye the large Dumpster, I say "I promise I won't climb into the Dumpster and say 'Hey, this is cool!' and pull stuff out." He thanks me for that.

Then we park our '91 Honda (rather a piece of junk itself) next to the Dumpster, and the next thing I know, Hubby is saying, "Hey, that's one of those nice oak wall shelves your dad built, isn't it?" And he's climbing into the Dumpster to pull it out!

It's especially appropriate, I think, that we salvage those shelves, because I know that my dad made them from salvaged wood originally -- oak 2x4s that he reclaimed from some railyard or other. He thought that the wood was too nice to discard, and he was right. The shelves are narrow ("Perfect for paperbacks," says Hubby), but the grain is really quite lovely.

Then I spy the old avocado ceramic cups and saucers that were Grandma's, and insist that those don't belong in the Dumpster either -- at the very least they should go to the Goodwill because somebody could use them; and I know it's my unsentimental just-get-it-done project manager brother who threw those out. So I dig them all out and Hubby gamely assists me in putting them in the car to take home.

So now we are the proud owners of more stuff. But it's good stuff, and I am going to go through the buffet and remove something to make room for the avocado dishes. I have some other cups and saucers that once belonged to my other grandmother -- but I don't ever remember Grandma Parker actually using those dishes, whereas I do remember Grandma Clausen serving holiday meals on her avocado dishes; and since I have other mementoes of Grandma Parker, I tell myself I can let the other cups go.

Although . . ., I've always liked those teacups-on-a-stick you sometimes see in gardens, and I do have a couple of ideas about how to mount them for such outdoor display. Hmmm . . .


  1. From one dumpster diver to another....
    I LOVED this essay Sharon.

  2. Dumpster Divers Unite!
    I have a hard time letting go of somethings- this said as I got another wallpaper book from a place on the way home from school this afternoon....
    Cool dishes.


Thanks for reading, and for sharing your thoughts.