R is for Rummage

Rummage is a fun word…

Hold on a sec while I look up the etymology.

v. 1540s, “arrange (cargo) in a ship,” from rummage (n.), 1520s, “act of arranging cargo in a ship,” a shortening of Middle French arrumage “arrangement of cargo,” from arrumer “to stow goods in the hold of a ship,” from a- “to” + rumer, probably from Germanic (compare Old Norse rum “compartment in a ship,” Old High German rum “space,” Old English rum; see room (n.)). Or else from English room (n.) + -age.

Meaning “to search closely (the hold of a ship), especially by moving things about” first recorded 1610s. Rummage sale (1803) originally was a sale at docks of unclaimed goods.

I’m about to use my word of the day in two separate thoughts:

My pocketbook is a pretty organized place. I try not to let it become a swirling sea of ephemera and bacteria. I usually carry a very small purse (by most women’s standards), but recently I bought a large, copper-colored, faux-(of course) leather “big girl’s bag”… I always think a woman holding a large purse means business, she has everything with her and under control, and she is more mature than I am. I know I’m wrong about this, as I have seen the contents of some of those bags. I can pull a Band Aid, a hair tie, or a small children’s toy out of my bag in a few seconds, while most of these Superwomen don’t even have any, never mind be able to find them. But still, the fact remains that a bigger bag seems more grown-up, somehow.

My desk is also a very organized spot. Not an item out of place, papers lined up at right angles, and I’ll freak if you plop something onto my desk and not into the carefully-labeled inboxes.

Unfortunately, my super-organized mojo only carries me so far. My car is pretty clean, pretty well-stocked and pretty organized, but beyond that, in “private”,… chaos.

My home is CL-UTT-ERED! Now, granted, our place is about 450 square feet. And we three have a ton of stuff. That’s not to say that I had any room in here when it was just me, because that’s patently untrue.

I’m a bit of a hoarder, and hate to get rid of anything, because I KNOW I’m going to need it. This comes in part from living with the female Felix Unger (my mother) all my life. The woman saves almost nothing. A huge box of photographs, report cards, and childhood mementoes were divided between my sister and I a few years after we both had moved out of the house. I remember when my grandmother moved to a smaller apartment and my mom ruthlessly threw massive amounts of great stuff away (G’ma was a bit of a hoarder too, but she had “living through the Depression” as an excuse), and I can easily recall my mom throwing out little nonsense items that were in a box on my dresser because she thought they were garbage. A lot of tears were shed on both occasions. (Geez, I can never let my mom read this blog. While it’s all true, she doesn’t come out looking too good. She’s great, I swear. Love you, Mama!)

The other reason I do this is because I have been “caught without” many times in the past. I hate the feeling. Additionally, I hate buying something for the first time, thinking to try it out before stocking up on it, falling in love with it, and never being able to find it again, or find the exact same thing again. I have issues.

So, all this equals a lot of “rummaging” for me. If FI asks if we have something, I roll my eyes, because of course, we have it. I point myself in the general direction of the item and perform some version of a rummage, whether it be controlled movements and switching things around carefully, or a wild, frantic flinging about of everything in the general area. Just call me the “Item Location Specialist”.

The second reason R is for Rummage today is because a neighbor and I were discussing our annual community rummage sale. Every year our neighborhood joins our town’s day and has a mass rummage/garage sale. Most of the same people participate every year, and you could easily spot the newbies. They bring out a few good and completely random things, an hour or two into the scheduled time (thereby missing the early birds), sell half of their items in a couple of minutes then close up early with the notion of doing it again next year with more stuff, because they’ve heard from us old-timers as we converged upon their little blanket (amateurs!) of fresh goodies.

The rest of us put out some fresh stock each time, but mostly we are trying to get rid of stuff we’ve been putting out for years. While we aren’t being stubborn with some of these core items, there are others items that really can go. I’m sure nobody will ever buy my tiny little bread-loaf tins, even though they are totally adorable. Each year as we pack up, we talk about customers that said they might be back for such and such an item, and we’ll hold onto it for one more year. Each year, we get a couple of boxes together with charity donations. Each year we talk about not participating, or perhaps having two sales a year. Yet, our containers remain.

This month I joined two “Sell your stuff locally” communities on Facebook. I haven’t posted anything just yet. But I’m working up to it. I think I would miss the rummage!

4 thoughts on “R is for Rummage

  1. My desk and purse are super organized, also! And my car is very clean. As is my closet… but my night stand is stacked with TBR books, and my dresser is a mess of To Be Put Away clothes. I’m not a hoarder, I have the opposite problem! I want to give away almost EVERYTHING. I used to live in a 450sq ft place all by myself, but I had downsized from a 2BR house, so once I started giving stuff away, I couldn’t stop! Now my husband keeps me from giving anything away – he’s convinced he’ll use it or we’ll need it soon. I guess it’s nice to have that balance though!

    – Allison


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