Metro-East Living

Wally has collected a lot in 40 years of marriage. How can he decide what stays and what goes?

Wally Spiers
Wally Spiers

Sometime in the next few months, we will have a home improvement project going around here.

We don’t have to do the work, but we have to clear the way for the workers. That means many of the things we have collected in 40 years of marriage will need to be boxed up and stored out of the way. It also means there will have to be a lot of thinking done about what remains after renovations.

Like many of our baby boomer generation, we are facing that question of what to do with our good stuff. After all, we aren’t getting any younger, we’re not getting any more space and this stuff is getting harder and harder to care for.

I don’t think this is going to be much fun. My wife and I are both accumulators, and there is a lot of sentiment involved.

We love to buy books from book discounters. The books end up piled in stacks around the house, on shelves and spilling over everywhere. Who doesn’t love books?

Some books are just too good to let go of. That’s why I am looking at a volume of “Shakespeare: The Collected Works.” It has been with me since college more than 40 years ago.

If I should desire, I can pull out the 1,443-page book with 38 plays, 155 sonnets and all sorts of explanations and notes to check on a play or something. I never have since I finished the class in college, but you never know. That’s how you end up with thousands of things like that and why you can never seem to get rid of them.

Or there is the telescope tucked away on a shelf in the bedroom. It is a portable model, 11 inches long when compact. But it expands to 36 inches. I have no idea how powerful it is because it is too darn heavy to hold.

It is brass covered with crumbling leather. I once took it to an appraisal to see what an expert might know about it. If it was a pirate telescope like in the movies, I thought it might be valuable. She knew it was a telescope but not much else. My mother bought it at a sale somewhere many years ago.

There are a lot of cabinets full of glassware we are fond of, acquired at auctions or from family. There is a cabinet with 150 compact discs of music with many more CDs I don’t listen to tucked away in drawers.

There are sets of high school yearbooks — mine, hers and others I oversaw when I was teaching high school journalism. And that’s just some of the good stuff we have to deal with now.

The attic, basement and garage stuff can be dealt with later. It’s sure not going anywhere soon.

Apparently it is going to end up like all the stuff we see all the time at consignment auctions and sales all over the place where people like us find good stuff to buy.

That stuff has to come from someplace you know.