I’ve been reading The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify, a needful reminder.  We may have moved to Uruguay somewhat minimally — ten suitcases and a pallet with sixteen cartons, a BMX bike, and a floor lamp — but oh my, how stuff has collected since! Some of the ideas in The Joy Of Less I had come up with on my own. In the 1980s, I parted with my yearbook collection and (worthless, seriously) old journals in Germany by putting them in a box with a “dispose” date. In 1997, when my father died, I took all the tools and materials in his workshop I’d known inside and out for over thirty years and laid them out in the “wrong” places, making it simple work indeed to sort trash from treasure the next morning. It was like walking into someone else’s garage sale.

In the past week, several boxes, some with perfectly good stuff, have gone to EMAUS, the local thrift store. For example, the electric buffer I bought, thinking I would assume a more conscientious attitude toward our car’s appearance. I didn’t. A nice hard shell suitcase that became “oversize” after its first trip when the airlines changed their specifications. A heavy-duty hoe that I thought just the ticket for cleaning the ditch in front of our house. Wrong. It’s simply taken up space in the garage for over six years.

And for almost two years I’ve had the uncompleted, last work of Tex Farrell stored with our suitcases above the stairs. Haunting as it is, and fascinating a glimpse of his technique as it is, there’s no really good way to display it. And what to do with some large pieces of his leather he left? Aha! Knife and straightedge and now we have dog protection for our “new” leather couches, recently purchased from a couple who moved back to Europe.

leather protection for leather couch
OK, not particularly fashionable, but neither is a 4′ x 8′ painting I did when I was 17

But what exactly to do with this?

The last, uncompleted leather work of Tex Farrel

Today I took the scraps from the couch pieces to Carlos, shoe maker and repairer who has a tiny storefront in Atlántida. I also took the incomplete head, figuring he could at least use some of the leather.

To my surprise, he was absolutely delighted to receive it, and explained that it was of his friend Tex’s nieta — granddaughter. It wouldn’t mean anything for anyone else, he explained in Spanish, but it means a lot to me.

Another de-cluttering win-win!

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