Sunday, October 05, 2008

Stuff And Spong

I've felt this post coming on for a while and was spurred on by Steve's post on stuff.

As some of you know, I like to muse about stuff.

Sometimes stuff and nonsense.

Sometimes stuff and spong.

For anyone who is bemused by the word "spong", I direct you to another, earlier, post of mine (rather a personal favourite).
And I would urge you to begin using this engaging and all-but indispensable word.

Anyway, my current musings about stuff are related to the ongoing* (um..... in the sense of still existing, not in the sense of anything happening in a 'going' sort of way...) plans for decoration of our dining room.

I did start stripping off wallpaper in July, workload declining, full of summer zest and energy.

I did foresee that this would be a project requiring some months.... given the way things go in our household (use of 'go' related to 'ongoing', see above*).

I did think that I'd have made a bit more progress by now, but

(end of strategic empty space)

Any old 'ow - and heres where the Stuff And Spong comes in - I have made significant progress since the summer with a complete clear out of The Cupboard.

We have too much storage space in our kitchen and dining room. Way too much for hoarders.

The dining room has a Very Large Victorian Cupboard which has been full of all sorts of old stuff and nonsense. And Spong.

The top shelves (too large and too inaccessible) have been groaning for lo, these many years past, with:

never-used childrens' party ware;
scarcely used pasta-machine;
more cake tins than we would ever use at one time;
milk-shake-maker which worked for about 3 days;
little Ikea box full of drawers containing candles, night-lights, pastry cutters, old (or are they new?) batteries, assorted spong;
wine-making kit;
dyeing equipment;
mystery plastic cutlery, don't know how it got there, ever ready to fall on your head;
old plastic containers which might come in handy one day;
other less interesting and less useful items.

you get the picture?
here is a picture:

In addition to the old, out-of-date, never-will-be-used and simply useless, this cupboard also contains way too much crockery. We have recently inherited my parents' Greenwheat dinner service. I love this crockery, I grew up with it and am very happy to have and use it.

But we now have 27 large dinner plates.
Does anybody need that many?


* lots of bags have gone to charity shops, recycling, rubbish collection
* bits and pieces have gone to friends and family of the easily-persuadable variety
* some Stuff is cluttering up the study waiting to be given to friends with small children (watch out oh watch out friends with small children)
*some Stuff is waiting in the study (also clutterwise) to be given to local primary school

There was Stuff which my family were happy to pass on.

There was Stuff about which they were given no option, and of which they remain ignorant.
There are no pictures of such Stuff.

There was Stuff which M. was unwilling to part with last time I cleared out, but which he was now quite happy to pass on:


There was Stuff which I thought we could get rid of, but which other members of the family wanted to keep:

(should have put this in the "no option/Ignorance" bag. Its NEVER been used)
(do you know what it is?)

I'd have taken more pics. but i was having too much fun playing loud music and being ruthless.

So, here is our newly sorted, emptied, re-classified and altogether more spacious Cupboard:

Beneath these capacious cupboards are two drawers, and then two smaller cupboards.
These little cupboards contained much spong and at least one slug - discovered, during the process of the clear-out, squished beneath my knee.

I am still in recovery.

The trauma was mitigated, however, by the most precious and unexpected find of the day - in amongst some bags and boxes and piles of LG's drawing-sticking-colouring-cutting-painting-sparklythings-collage-creative past:

This is now in the garden, adorning the fence near my girl-shed and frog-pond.

The cupboards currently house the contents of our china cabinet which, now being empty, can be moved - in order to continue stripping wallpaper.

So you see, there is method in my Stuff and Spong.

(what a lot of words. My musings about Stuff always produce a lot of words. I suppose its something to do with the nature of Stuff... and Spong....)

(the drawer-spong which featured in that earlier post is now, once again, encroaching. The kitchen was not part of my rather half-hearted springJune-cleaning... Question: will the mice find it? will they find it appetizing?)


Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Both stuff and spong, I've noticed, are prolifid breeders - rather like the books at my bedside... I'm going to have to be doing an awful lot of clearing soon as I can't imagine schlepping all of my junk to Blighty. Feel free to lend a hand, Lettuce, since by that time you'll be well clued up on the clearing of stuff and spong!

Akelamalu said...

I got quite excited when I saw the contents of your cupboard, I even biggyfied the picture to get a better look! You have some lovely crockery. Why are someone else's cupboards so much more interesting than one's own? :0

Spong is a great word, I'm going to slip it into conversations and see people's reactions. :)

Trac said...

Just remember, if you want to ever get rid of your dining room chair with the holes in. (The holes are supposed to be there...)

I want first refusal.

Except I wouldn't.

Refuse that is.
Didn't RW do a Spong post once too?
Only I seem to remember saying at the time about a man I once knew called Charles Spong!

Reya Mellicker said...

Your cupboard is magnificent! I salute you. What an heroic effort. Wow.

OK ... I do not know what the blue thingy is. Will you tell us?

And yes I love the word "spong." I remembered immediately your previous spong post (that kept me giggling for a couple of days).

I never hurry up when I'm cleaning. If I do, I just get stressed out, a Very Bad Thing to associate with cleaning.

But I love cleaning. Clean cupboard=clean mind. At least for me.


Lynne said...

I loved this post! It's so nice to know that other people's cupboards collect STUFF and SPONG. So far after our kitchen remodel and total clean-out we have managed to keep spong at bay (at least for now).

Oh poor you squishing a slug! Did you have bare knees or hopefully wearing long trousers? No wonder you shuddered at the little slug in my most recent blog post. I don't mind looking at them but I certainly don't want any close contact with the slimy creatures. Poor Letty!

R.L. Bourges said...

av's comment about spong breeding is my sentiment exactly - same principle as typos, really. They breed on the page. I'm convinced of this.

I being me and me being I, of course I looked up the meaning of spong as a family name :

and wish to add the following:

- tell M he did well to rid himself of the brandy heater. The only way to heat one's brandy/cognac/armagnac/grappa is in warm hands and slowly. If there's a fireplace nearby, that's fine. But the fire heats the hands that heat the brandy that heats the innards. In that order.

- the blue thing. no idea. pray tell.

- re the slug: at least, you got to recuperate. R.I.P. to the slug :-)

- the love notes from your daughter are gorgeous - such useful reminders to have around. Definitely NOT spong.

(after reading your previous post, I see your handyman is about as handy as mine when it comes to fixing things around the house. Except mine does not breathe softly while sawing the plank crooked. He does wild gallic cursing of increasing intensity. Much more impressive than the resulting handiwork...)

Shammickite said...

You are inspiration indeed.
I may have to follow your lead.

tut-tut said...

You know, it was just this morning I declared, "this is the first day of the rest of our lives without all this stuff. We are going to make a beginning!" We are on the same wavelength it seems.

However, I like all your stuff, especially the Greenwheat, and I would love to have your cupboards.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I am inspired! how does stuff keep multiplying! and why or why does it never end....

loved the read and no worries about ever producing a lot of words - your words are always fun as are the images! spong....tee hee....

Barbara said...

Managing stuff is a lifetime activity. I just think I have it under control and a closet overflows.

It would seem you have made considerable progress. But please don't get rid of the pasta machine. It's one of those things that comes in handy every 15 years or so!

trac said...

No. I don't know what that thing is.
Do you? :O)

I did wonder if it was some kind of candle/oil burner type thing, but surely the candle would just go out as it's covered?

ramblingwoman said...

Oh, I left a comment about Spong earlier and now I'm not there!!!

Hi Trac!

Shammickite said...

Remember I said you were inspiration?
Well, I took pics of my kitchen drawers today.
Spong alert!
Spong alert!
I may be posting these pics at a later date, be warned.

Trac said...

Hi RW!!!! x

d. chedwick said...

We have too many small appliances (not my doing.) and baking pans casserole dishes used once a year.

the blue thing is a funnel candle sifter?

I have 3 round dinner plates and 4 square dinner plates. We don't eat at home all that much.

lettuce said...

they are indeed Vanilla. I've also recently been trying to do some weeding amongst my bedside books...

Akelamalu, do please spread the word!

haha trac. i'd forgotten. i will remember.

Reya, its true - done in a hurry its an entirely different, less positive kind of process.

Now, the blue thingy - its an eggcup. The top section lifts off and acts as an egg cosy. The very top section, the nose-cone as it were, is to contain salt.
All in a very theoretical way.
So now you know.

Lynne i was wearing jeans. but my fingers did encounter the squishy slimyness.... i'm still shuddering at the thought

rlb, thanks for the link! spong as a wet, boggy space, hmmm, possibly related to our use of the word.
Brandy-warmer - a dreadful 80's fad, i was never convinced and am glad to have your expert validation of my instincts.

shammie, i hope you will blog it.
(oh, just seen your second comment! more drawer spong! great!!)

tut-tut! yes! it is liberating to get rid of stuff. (but theres lots of it i like to have too)

tee hee kimy. have you used it yet?

every 15 years, Barbara? is that sufficient reason? I did love it when I used it (twice)...always mean to have a go at ravioli...

trac. see above. burning it might be fun tho

RW! you left a comment! yay!!
i knew you'd be impressed by my cupboard clear-out. (no yummy biscuits in there now tho :-[)

ched. what is a candle sifter? (it obviously looks as though it should be fire-related in some way or another)
I did try and get rid of some plates, my family protested. Next time they may go in the "no option Ignorant" pile. ;op

Trac said...

Well I would never have guessed that...

Anonymous said...

funnel thing or candle thing or sifter thing .

i love the idea of no option/ignorant piles.

d. chedwick

Pecos Blue said...

Moving really helps you get rid of and realize how much stuff you have and what you never use. I will take some photos of what still came with us. Nice post.

Pod said...

i had a reet laugh at this post. what is that cone thing? and who really would use the brandy warmer? what a contraption!
we had the green wheat set too. jugs and all. how one gets attached.
when i received my shipment from the UK to NZ, some years ago. i opened all 40 odd boxes, which had been lovingly packed, al items seeming to be vital, and honestly about half of it i just looked at and thought 'what? or why?'.
i try not to hoard, but tis in me a bit.
well done..i must off and check for spong. i haven't in a while
(did you find any dried NG's?)

Gary said...

Wow, I can't imagine having TOO MUCH room for storage. Back in the days when I lived in NYC there was never enough room (but still it was possible to hold onto many unnecesary items - go figure). I applaud your efforts at cleaning up and clearing out. Sometimes I get these urges and subsequently get lost in rememberance so nothing really goes excepts the hours I spend reliving my past. My focus in this area lately has been on clothing. Do I really need my shiny nylon jacket from the 70s? My mind says 'no' but my heart says 'yes' so it's still there. Spong - a term so useful and so inclusive. Gotta love it.

lettuce said...

trac i think you are not alone.

ched, the amount of no option/ignorant/no photo stuff which has disappeared from LG's room over the years.....!!!! (and yet, she still has so much STUFF)

pecos blue, i quite like moving and that is def. one of the things i like about it.

pod!! you also ate your little before-skool-breakfast out of greenwheat? :-)
tis in me a bit too. but less than the other two.
no dried NGs so far....
(just the slug)
(not so dry)
(imagine heaving sounds)

gary, the awful thing about more room than one really needs is - IT FILLS UP WITH STUFF (and spong)
(far far more than one really needs)
Shiny nylon 70's jacket? oh yes.

Steve said...

Oh, I am so woefully behind in commenting, especially since I inadvertently prompted this post, in a way. :)

That said, this was FASCINATING. It's great to see all the stuff that people accumulate. I never would have guessed that blue thing was an egg cup! I thought it was an oil lamp. Oh well.

And that snifter -- good lord! :)

The CD mobile is fabulous, though.

lettuce said...

hello woefully behind steve.

Vintage to Victorian said...

Hi Lettuce

Love this post and having missed the spong one first time round have enjoyed that, too. I shall now have to spend the day wondering where all this global spong emanates from. I can't believe that I've spent my whole life clearing it from drawers on a VERY irregular basis without ever questioning its source. Hmmm....

Am totally envious of your excessive storage space which has reminded me of the similar space (and huge pantry) that we had many homes ago ... in the days when we accumulated far too much of everything cooking and eating related. What I wouldn't give for such a cupboard now!

Sue x

Betty said...

O dear, I have soooo much spong! It used to breed quietly in corners whilst I wasn't looking, but now is most brazen and multiplies almost daily in broad daylight! :-(

Now that there are just the 2 of us at home, we have no excuse whatsoever for not tidying and decluttering.
Do we??
Love from one hoarder to another x

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