German Ordnung

German Ordnung (order, arrangement, system) is something I have neglected for the past several years. We had assembled enough material things during our world wandering years, some of it then left behind at my parent’s old house. Unpacking some of these boxes always seemed like Christmas. What surprise! Who had given us this beautiful yukata? Oh, do you remember these chop stick rests? Did we get this hand-crocheted afghan from your aunt?… But these moments of joy have faded over time.

Then within a few years of each other, both of my parents passed away, leaving me to clear out their belongings as well.

Since 2001 I have been lugging stuff from my hometown to our current residence in the hopes of sorting, donating, giving away, or junking it.

Sometimes these boxes sit in the kitchen for months until they become part of the furniture.

Then I came to realize I could not leave all this to my children to sort out some day. Not if I could help it a bit. I like to live simple, so how did we end up with all these things? Well, they were presents, antiques we picked up along the way, old linens given to us, you name it, we had it.

A month ago, I decided I had to do something about it. I came up with a remedy for this malady – One Hodgepodge Item Out (OHIO).

Every day I get rid off one item, whether it is my mom’s chipped sugar bowl (trash) or good beer glasses which go to the teachers’ lounge at school where young teachers from overseas grab them up quickly. Some of it ends up on a flea market table I set up, and the proceeds go the our son’s Kalahari fund raiser. What bliss. Some things go to the Altkleider (used clothing) container, some go to charity. But one item a day must be handled and designated.

This system really works, even if it is just one item at a time. The upshot is, I do not want to leave such a Unordnung to my children.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

– Confucius  (China’s most famous teacher, philosopher, and political theorist) –

You should see my husband’s face in the morning when I push a vase for the teachers’ lounge into his hands and he gives me this inquisitive look. OHIO is all I have to say.

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