I am writing this from the sofa in our laundry room.
You don’t have a sofa in your laundry room? I didn’t either until about five months ago when I got a new couch for the basement, one that better seats the long-limbed children I am raising and their friends who visit. It replaced this little two-seater, an IKEA Klippan with a clover green slipcover that got reassigned to the laundry room. The Klippan sits now with a stack of folded sheets on one arm.
Here’s the thing, these lanky children keep growing and getting older—one is headed to Temple University this fall—and suddenly I can’t bear to give anything away. They might need it for their college apartments someday is what I have been telling myself.
The striped quilt, the one that the cat likes, is thrown over the back of the sofa, which holds a Pier One pillow that once was in the living room and a suede pillow that I bought at a shop in Hampden. Beneath my feet is a braided rug from L.L. Bean. Another blue and white woven rug is in the corner, folded into a plastic dry cleaner’s bag. Used rugs can’t be donated, so I had it cleaned and bagged.
There are curtains, a wicker chair and a tiny end table with a top that looks like the slice of the tree. In another corner stands a tall, skinny pie safe that my daughter and I think would look great if we painted it lavender.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. For the first apartment I had after college, my father made me a narrow coffee table from a piece of old barn wood. It later served as a bench at the end of my bed. It’s now behind the sofa in the living room, the place where my son leaves his baseball glove and my daughter her store bags after a prom shopping trip.
The laundry room has become our own Goodwill because I don’t want to get rid of things I will only need to buy later for the children, but also because I want to send them into the world with something from this rowhouse where we have lived for 10 years.
Somehow, some way, it makes the thought of their parting easier. Instead of grieving the little time that is left before my oldest one launches herself into the world, I can wash blankets, fluff pillows and box the set of glasses that a friend gave me. Maybe one day, one of my two children will serve me an iced tea in one of these glasses.