Oprah De-Clutters, I Caretake

Ulrich SignatureOprah has raised millions of dollars for charity and had thousands of articles created in her honor as she de-clutters her life and possessions. All very laudable. I can understand wanting to breathe free of all those things. She’s gotten rid of vases, furniture, clothing, jewelry and memorabilia like a photo with MC Hammer. Maybe my signed 1990 paperback of A Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is a sorry comparison.

I was sure she was to be only admired on this topic. After all, de-cluttering is a new byword and I’ve seen newspaper articles telling exactly how to do it tucked right between department store ads for dinner rings and newly released $70,000 automobiles.

Then I saw this one page article in her March 2014 magazine and I stopped. There is a

Oprah's Italian tub!

Oprah’s Italian tub!

photo of Oprah’s prize possession. The divinely inspired bathtub, made for her and only her by Italian stonecutters who carved it from one piece of onyx. It sits, as you can see, in her bathroom, too beautiful to even pierce for water faucets as they sit to the side, waiting for a goddess.

She describes a last effort to save her prize possession as “facing down a design crew,” of thirteen people standing in her bathroom reminding her of the all white new bathroom she had approved. Picture this: There is Oprah with thirteen people in her bathroom that could fit how many? Forty? As I was writing … and she quivers in favor of her goddess one-of-a-kind tub in the whole world.

I knew then and there as I read that I would have a green tub in a white bathroom. What does she do?

Oprah answers, “Okay, take it out. That’s it. I’m done. I’m letting go.” We’re all supposed to clap here before commercial but not me.

Two months later she has an epiphany after talking with the evil de-clutterer Peter Walsh. She realizes she commissioned the tub when she felt like she had truly made “it” and the tub made her feel special. Now she knows she’s special and doesn’t need the tub.

My cabinet has a shelf and drawer on either side.

My cabinet has a shelf and drawer on either side.

Well, duh!

To explain why I am not Oprah and have a limited appreciation for de-cluttering, let me show you a treasure of mine. This cabinet was found in an antique store going out of business and I paid $725 for it. It is five feet long, twenty-three inches deep, and three and a half feet tall. I don’t know what kind of wood it is, but I was told it was made in the early 1900s. Oprah felt special owning her tub. I feel lucky and sure I live with a beautiful thing (as is my husband, but that’s a different story).

If I sold this there would be nothing to replace it with because I would have sold it to save

The handle.

The handle.

my granddaughters’ lives or to serve my husband a last meal that did not contain dog food because that’s all we had been able to afford since I had sold my signed book by Ulrich who coined the phrase “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History,” a phrase I’m sure Oprah appreciates.

Dear Evil De-Clutterer Peter Walsh and Very Rich Person Oprah, do you ever consider average people caretake? They hold the beauty others created to make a peaceful home with the few valuable things they can afford and when their life is over they want a daughter-in-law or a granddaughter to care about it, and if they don’t they want them to find another caretaker. Please don’t cavalierly say you are now past the attachment when you are merely replacing one beautiful thing for another. Is someone else caretaking that green onyx tub? Can I?

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18 Responses to Oprah De-Clutters, I Caretake

  1. Oprah doesn’t de-clutter. She replaces. You hit the nail on the head. I like your way better. 😀 😀

  2. She forgets sometimes the difference between where she is and where most of us are. Easy to do in her situation.I’ve been enjoying your travelogue!

  3. Honie Briggs says:

    I love this post. I cannot add another word; it is just too beautiful to pierce with a longer comment.

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’m all for de-cluttering, but getting rid of that beautiful tub because it doesn’t “fit” the new white bathroom is nutty. Can you imagine how those Italian stonecutters who crafted it must feel? As if their work was for nothing, I imagine. I’m with you–she can certainly send the treasure my way!

  5. That’s right! It’s not as though Italian stonecutters don’t expect their work to last thousands of years! Another example of America’s lack of appreciation for deep-rooted culture.

  6. Argus says:

    Things are just that ..things.
    De-clutter sounds like the word of someone trying desperately to invent and instill a new paradigm; and by de-cluttering in the public eye pushing it as ‘highly original and entertaining etc etc yada yada …’ and all good clean money-making fun too. If folks are too thick to figure out for themselves what they need in their lives, or not, then they deserve Oprah so it’s win/win all the way.

    For myself I like nice things (dammit, I’m meant to) (Leo) and if I had that goddess bath tub I’d really enjoy soaking in it; and that with a perfectly clear conscience. So why is she (i.e. why, did she say) she’s getting rid of it? Oh … ratings, of course.

    So … you have a clutter that you bought because you loved it and you are hanging on to because you love it, and (I gather) wild horses couldn’t declutter it from you. Then I’d say that you hold true values—and aren’t just playing to the audience. People like you have a true sense of values and no need for onyx bathtubs …

    • You’re right. It’s amazing how the popular craze of de-cluttering so often involves “money-making fun too.” I’m all for getting rid of what a person doesn’t care about (as long as it’s not small children), but it’s not a virtue. It’s housecleaning. Yes, Leos lead the way for enjoyment (and honest work). We Aquarians watch and learn. No, there isn’t a need for an onyx bathtub, but should it arrive by UPS courtesy of Oprah, well, I’ll not send it away. Thanks again for commenting Kismet (can I call you that?).

      • Argus says:

        So … if our own minds consist of umpty zillion brain cells united by electrickery and finer stuff — she tells us in public that her mind is a committee of thirteen people whose decree is Law? I cam imagine her telling the new chef … “If today is Friday breakfast is oatmeal” and don’t you ever forget that~!”

        Kismet? Why not? As Will Spokeshave famously said “A rose by any other name, would prong the nose as ouchfully”. Anyway, I like it …

  7. If Oprah really wanted to declutter, she would give all of her possessions away and become a nun who takes a vow of silence. Don’t think thats going to happen. 🙂 Really good blog Rebecca.

  8. We called it downsizing when we did it a year ago Memorial Day. But let’s face it, I didn’t have a specially designed bathtub. The worst I had to let go of was more than 500 books we donated to local libraries.

  9. Books can be priceless as you know. The libraries were lucky. I did that as well when we moved a year and a half ago.

  10. This post is as good as the rest. I loved it. I’ll be looking forward to your newer posts 🙂

  11. Denise Hisey says:

    Well said Rebecca!
    They really don’t live in the real world.

  12. It appears a success amnesia often sets in when riches go beyond most of our imaginations. Thanks for stopping by.

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