Spring Stuffing Season

We may be baking with summer temperatures, but it’s still April — the season for spring cleaning. Time to throw open the windows, air out the house and declutter closets, shelves and attics. But around here, it’s spring “stuffing” season.

Old houses are notoriously storage-challenged and ours is no different. There’s a decent closet in the master bedroom and a sliver of space in the guest room but that’s about it, aside from the attic. Which is why in spring, I heave our summer clothes down the attic stairs and stuff/wedge/cram them into any spare closet nook, dresser or shelf. That’s why my wardrobe is scattered among 4 rooms.

That’s why I can’t find anything.

Adding to storage limitations is Martin’s penchant for shopping. Every time I’m out of town, he entertains himself by flashing his credit card at every big-box store in a 30-mile radius (You thought that only chics do retail therapy? Think again.)

Martin’s journey begins innocently enough — an outing to buy batteries — but he’ll quickly snap up some dvds for the kids, tube socks and boxers, and then a few “as seen on TV” items — a bio-enhanced cutting board the repels germs; an upside-down hanging tomato planter; a hand-held steam cleaner that spits out lavender and lilac aromas. But his true weaknesses? Large tupperware containers, flashlights, throw-blankets, first-aid kits, and water bottles — guaranteed, he comes home with those on every trip.

These $200 shopping excursions drive me nuts, which is why he hides most of what he buys. Especially things he doesn’t want. Because Martin lives by some strange shopping commandment: thou shalt not return purchases.

Instead he shoves unwanted wares — sometimes with the receipt taped to the box — on a top shelf, far above my 5’3″ frame, where they sit undiscovered. Until spring stuffing season.

That’s how I found the hideous electric-blue tea kettle, roosting beside the first-aid kit collection. And a brand-new electric toothbrush (rejected when he found a “cooler” model). Or my personal favorite: the FlipFold — a plastic board that facilitates the folding of clothes, directions included.

In the past, I’ve gotten rid of Martin-gear by smashing it to smithereens. I disposed of old furniture and artwork (“artwork,” I use loosely) stored in the barn, by hurling it out the hayloft door. Not only did the tv, picture frames and particle-board hit the ground in a magnificent smash, but the journey rendered them unsalvageable.

But heaving plastic containers out of the house isn’t as dramatic. So I’ll go the old-fashioned yard sale route. Somewhere out there I’m sure someone’s thinking: “I’d love to fold my clothes…if only I had a plastic board that could show me how….”