What Do You Have Tucked In There?

My space isn’t the only space that I’ve been working on this year. My grandparents have needed a little help getting some of their space under control. They are 95 (I’m so lucky I still have them) and they moved into their little independent living apartment 20+ years ago after being in the same house for 35 years.

Downsizing like that was really difficult. I think it would be for any of us. Plus they are the generation that went through the Great Depression and WWII so they save EVERYTHING. My Grandpa especially, can’t bring himself to get rid of anything.

This spring he finally reached a point where he should be using a walker or a cane.  There was a lot of work and drama getting his spaces cleaned out so he could get around with a walker. He doesn’t like us messing with his stuff (I don’t blame him) but it had become one of those tough love situations. He has to be safe.

I was visiting them the other week and noticed he couldn’t get his walker around safely again. So I needed to find some storage for the things blocking his way which led me to a credenza they have. I thought if I cleaned it out and reorganized I might find some room.

What I found is very typical for most spaces that get cluttered up (I’m not talking about hording, just clutter). When you can’t get to things, you forget you have them so you get more and pretty soon, you have a box full of cocktail napkins:

No one is doing this much entertaining. There are about 40 packets of napkins there.

My Grandma is actually a great sport and we tease each other a lot. For years, we’ve had a running joke about all the cocktail napkins she buys. She always thinks she needs them and I always say she doesn’t realize how many she already has.

When I started digging these out of the credenza, even she started laughing. They don’t really entertain anymore but I left her with three sets of napkins/plates for different occasions and took the rest of these to be dispersed through the family and used up finally.

Let me tell you, my breakfast toast is going to be a pretty fancy occasion for a while.

Some of these really are very pretty and some are kind of unique and special. She used to travel to Japan and it looks like some of these came from those trips. They are kind of cool so I’m trying to figure a way to do something with these other than use them as napkins.

Detail of the tissue-thin sheets

Please don’t think I’m singling out my Grandmother for hording napkins. In the spirit of fairness, I will share my stash of yarn with you some day. Grandma’s cocktail napkin collection pales in comparison to the collection of wool I have. I’m gearing up to get rid of (I hope) at least 3/4 of that soon. I just thought the napkins were a funny example of how we can lose sight of something (literally) which lets it take over some of our space.

Now will someone please tell me what “fashion paper” is?

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