In the past 5 years, I have had 5 different homes. This was after staying in one place for 6 or 7 years (my mind has gone fuzzy on the exact timing of that). Every time I move, I purge. I love it. I pour a glass (or a bottle) of wine, put on some happy music and sit next to a trash bag. All sorts of things go in. Spices that are a couple years old or nearly gone are trashed, recipes I’ve clipped out of magazines are given a second glance and a “Why the hell did I save that?” is thrown about. Into the trash they go.
Then there are the items that are a bit harder to just liberally toss aside and require a tad more contemplating. A plate (no pun intended) I picked up at HomeGoods or maybe I got for free from a photoshoot many years ago. It takes up room, is breakable and the question I ask myself is do I REALLY need it? I mean, yes. I do. But for the case of moving and consolidating and considering I have other people to split space with, I really have to think about it. Sometimes I sit for hours, staring, thinking, wondering.
Needless to say, over the years I’ve amassed many things but I’ve also trashed just as much. In the case of my last move, I just left everything for them to deal with one day. (I have my reasons.) As much as it pains me (literally, they’re extremely heavy once tightly packed into a large box) to move all my cookbooks, those are never condensed. Even the crappy bargain ones from Barnes & Noble are little treasures. I won’t part with them.
Aside from all of that, there is one other collection that I have dragged along with me with every move. And every single time, I would say to myself, “Really?!? Will I EVER do anything with these?” And every time. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I say that I will. And for almost 12 years, that was the case. Until just recently. I’m not sure what got into me. I’m not complaining.
I like to think it was the thought of Autumn’s arrival and trying to prepare for it. No mess. No clutter. Just a wonderful home to arrive to every day. No worries about doing such and such. Getting to spend the days doing what I want: exploring the city on long walks, baking, braising, cleaning…things like that. These are the things that excite me (clearly, it doesn’t take much).
Anyways, what exactly was I collecting? Corks. Whenever I’d open up a bottle, I’d save the cork. It was the design geek in me and the sentimental person as well. Some bottles had great designs, beautiful typography and others were just nice memories. Like one from a bottle of wine at an office Christmas party…where I was already the bitter, drunk senior employee, and so I was ordering champagne by the glass out of spite. I don’t like champagne. But after splitting a bottle with one of the remaining friends at the office, it was time to make them pay, literally. That’s how I get my revenge. Subtle. And at the expense of my liver. But, I’m beginning to digress a bit and head in a dark direction.
All these corks would go in jars to have on display. Soon I had too much overflow. So the extras would get shoved in a container in my closet. I couldn’t stop. I don’t know why. I told myself that I was saving them up to make something with. Maybe a serving tray. A bulletin board. Line a picture frame. You know, something crafty. And so every time I’ve moved, they’ve tagged along, in a Ziplock bag (or two) in the hopes of one day getting used.
And so, finally. I did something. I went out and got myself a dinky hot glue gun. Not the magnificent beauty I had back in Architecture school, but one that would pass. I found a frame with a look I liked. And then, one rainy, slightly humid day in September, I poured myself a glass of wine, threw on some Dolly Parton and starting laying them out within the frame. This took much longer than anticipated. As similar as corks appear, they’re each quite different. Different girths. Different lengths. Some are rubber. If you didn’t know what I was talking about, I might be labeled some sort of sexual deviant right now.
Anyways, in the end, it worked out. I hot glued a bunch of corks to a chalkboard. I now have a small bulletin board above my desk. I also have a lot of corks left still. I’m still finding it hard to get rid of them. Maybe I’ll get another bulletin board…in 12 years. Or maybe they’ll end up in the trash. Or maybe I’ll make something else with them. Or maybe they’ll do nothing. Which is probably more likely. Either way, I feel a small sense of accomplishment.