We’re about to undertake a modest kitchen re-do and, as part of a larger initiative to reduce the number of belongings in our household, we are having to make some difficult decisions.
When we moved into our 1912 Victorian almost 21 years ago, we started filling it up with “collectibles,” a word I use loosely. Once word got out that we were collecting certain items, our friends thoughtfully and generously added to these.
My husband brought into our marriage several really neat collections, including antique framed portraits, antique vegetable cans, antique snuff cans, antique cameras, varied forms of “cheesecake” (a.k.a. antique porn), old Coca-Cola memorabilia, old cigarette memorabilia and old glass pinball machine backs. Over the years, he amassed a matchbook collection and a collection of “miscellaneous,” most of which has been displayed in our Pussycat Lounge. We also have the cork from every bottle of wine we’ve opened since 1990.
After we got married, we began collecting coffee mugs and refrigerator magnets and any and all things chili pepper. We have a chili pepper napkin holder and spoon rest, strings of chili peppers hanging on the walls, chili wreaths and wall hangings, pepper platters and pepper pitchers, table linens and tiki lights, canisters and candles, salt and pepper shakers and switch plates, mugs and magnets. It’s been fun, but it’s time for a thinning of the crop.
You know how it is. I have a friend who started collecting elephants in 1978 and, thanks to the generosity of friends, likely has more than a thousand. With my son, it’s tree frogs; my sister-in-law, it’s apples. The hard part is knowing when–and how–to get the word out politely that we’re full.
I’d like to assure our loved ones that we’re keeping a few chili treasures that we just can’t part with. The other 75 percent are being packed away to pass on to someone who will give them a loving home. Applications are now being accepted.
My husband has slowly and methodically been finding adoptive homes for a select few of his treasured collections. Don’t panic; much will remain with us, and our only child will decide the final cuts once we’ve moved on to the big flea market in the sky.
For now, our kitchen will get a mini facelift and a fresh theme. Shhh, it’s a secret; even we don’t know what it is.