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Jan 3, 2012

The Ditching Begins (again) + Which Sewing Machine Goes?



Greetings, born-again declutterers!

We are starting the new year right here at MPB, digging through the detritus and dumping, dumping, DUMPING.  As you know, my energy for these kinds of purges isn't always there, so when it is, the best bet is to ride if for all it's worth.

I've made good progress so far and it's only Tuesday.  Remember when I set up my stereo system (after seven years without it) only I lacked audio speakers?  Well, a few weeks later I found these mini Advent speakers in the trash. They're not great but were good enough for the Burt Bacharach/Hal David Lost Horizon soundtrack I listened to endlessly.



But I learned something, readers, and I think this is an excellent exercise in ditching.  I had originally intended on selling (or donating) my stereo receiver and turntable, then decided against it.  So I set it up and listened to my records again; I bought a few new used ones at the Salvation Army.  And guess what: after about a week, I had totally stopped using it.

I have learned that for better or for worse, I am not going back to my records.  So now I can get rid of my stereo components without fear of regret.  Because, friends, isn't that the fear around decluttering --  that we'll ditch something and later wish we hadn't?

Meanwhile, for the last five years or so, we've had our computer printer in the bedroom, atop this broken cart.  Today, I moved the small Ikea table that used to sit in the corner of the living room (and supported the stereo components) into the bedroom, where it now serves as a printer stand/night table.  The cart with the broken wheel has been ditched.  Good riddance to broken furniture!





Now that the dogs are no longer sleeping in bed with us, we've moved the carpeted dog stairs into the living room, so the dogs can climb up onto the air blower (which blows hot(ish) air in winter cool(ish) air in summer) in front of the big window.  I wanted to sell those stairs (a flea market find), but Michael thinks we should hold onto them.  Alas, some compromises must be made.

I've already posted a few furniture items on Craigslist and am now facing the dilemma of which sewing machine(s) to sell.  I'm deciding between two machines in tables: the Kenmore 158.141, and the Pfaff 30.  They are both wonderful machines -- the Pfaff a powerhouse vintage straight stitcher, and the Kenmore a 1.3 amp zigzagger.  I've thought about listing them both on Craigslist and letting go of whichever one sells first -- or both!





They are very different machines.  The Pfaff is beautifully engineered and has a knee pedal, which I love, but the Kenmore is also great, and in its way, more versatile.  Both could be considered workhorses.  I'd keep them if space weren't an issue, but neither does anything that other machines I own can't do -- a concept shared by an MPB commenter a long time ago that makes a lot of sense.  The Pfaff doesn't do anything my Singer 15-91 and 201 can't do, and the Kenmore 158.141 is essentially a larger and more powerful 158.1040.

Which would you part with?

In other news, friends, I am planning a very fun adventure for those who care to join me later this month -- it's a secret for now but it involves fabric shopping in....New Jersey!   More to come so stay tuned!  (I'll also shortly be telling you about my near-psychedelic trips on herbal sleep aid Valerian.)

In closing, have you started your 2012 ditching yet?  What's your rule about keeping broken things -- or don't you have broken things where you live?  (Be honest!)

Have a great day, everybody!

45 comments:

  1. Well done on the ditching I've been doing a bit of that but most of it is sell or donate right now. I am ditching too though!

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  2. If you want to part with the Kenmore, and would like to make a donation to a certain 501c3, I'm your girl. :-) We have that machine, or a very similar one, and we LOVE IT.

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  3. My hat is off too you! Ditching sewing machines is hard. I can't imagine ditching any of the 40X's or 500!

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  4. That's an excellent rule to follow in deciding whether to ditch things--it's so hard to get rid of useful things, but they're not useful if you don't have room to use them!

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  5. Ditching both machines will be beneficial in your treatment (which you have orchestrated post-haste, and your example makes the rest of us eager to participate in our own, respective, treatment plan).

    Books were ditched last year, and more are on their way (to Half-price Books, they don't pay much for used books, but it's something).

    The storing, lugging around, and searching through the flotsam of our lives can be comforting, but that's such a fleeting feeling. Perhaps commercialism, and hoarding-as-the-norm is a viscous cycle ("How big is your off-site storage locker?").

    A few years ago I was buying a cheap place, and the mortgage lady said, "You certainly qualify for much more.", and without thinking I said, "I want less."

    Time to revisit that thought.

    Perhaps we should revel in a new mantra, and become the unencumbered. Surrounding ourselves with select quality possessions, while the rest is sent off to new places. The joy is in creating, not warehousing.

    The piles are being formed here, with an editorial eye on the broken this go around (thanks for that good steer, Peter).

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  6. This is totally biased, as I am a Pfaff girl through and through, but I'd keep the Pfaff & ditch the Kenmore. Or ditch both if you don't have the extra space - especially since your other machines can cover the same ground both of those machines are capable of covering. But, if you're gonna keep just one... keep the Pfaff :)

    I go through my ditching in giant phases (aka, right before I move), so I'm not at that point right now but I'm sure I'll have a big destash of my entire life at some point this year.

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  7. Part with the Kenmore! Then let me know when you list it so I can bid stalk it. I have the same machine sans table and oh how I wish I had a table!!

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  8. Machine wise, I think it depends on whether you can cover the functions of those two machines with your others or not. I'm guessing you do, so I would be tempted to ditch both, but if you wanted to keep one, I'd pick based on how easily repaired/spares available are. Round here, that would mean the Pfaff stays :)

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  9. Broken things carry bad feng shui. That's my motto now. My husband can fix anything. But it took me years to accept the truth that he doesn't WANT to fix broken junk. Same truth as in I don't WANT to fix everyone's clothing problems just because I know how.

    Thank you for the gentle EBAY reminder - I think of you each time I am successful at staying away these past few days.

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  10. I have nothing to ditch. I am a minimal person. My husband does have stuff that he needs to ditch.

    I don't collect anything but the vintage photographs which I actually share with others for the fashion aspect of it. I have absolutely no fabric stash, infact I have no fabric.

    I would ditch all the records to, I have seen some displayed as art on walls. Maybe, keep a few favorite ones. My husband said he needs all his stuff. Over the years I have boxed things away, and he has never asked where most of it is. Most things we don't use regularly, and most things when stored are soon forgotten about.

    Keep up the decluttering. I love not having stuff that I don't really use or want.

    Josette

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  11. I think that your idea of listing both and parting with whichever goes first is the way to go. And you may well find that you are able to let them both go!
    As for keeping vs. ditching stuff, I have a good amount of storage space, and it's well filled with my collections! But once something is broken or otherwise useless, it goes. If it is reparable I donate it, if not it goes to the curb. I like to get it out a day or two before pickup; every place has there share of pickers these days, and I feel that if someone can use it, all the better!

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  12. SeamsterEast@aol.comJanuary 3, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    The Pfaff 130, the zig-zag version of the Pfaff 30, was until a few years ago considered THE sewing machine for DIY canvas work/cushion work/sail work on boats. The Sailrite LSZ (zig-zag) and LS (straight stitch) machines -- far more robust with more punching power -- have replaced the 130 in the market place.

    Still, the Pfaff 130 has a certain old time appeal with the boat crowd. Sometimes 130's are sold on eBay for faaaaaaar more than their intrisic worth.

    Suggestion? Promo it on eBay -- or on Craigslist in the "boat" section -- as a canvas workers go-to portable machine (it fits in a standard white plastic case), and can easily be made to fit in a Pelican waterproof case. Take care, though, because __sail__ work requires zig-zag, though canvas work does not and should not use zig-zag.

    I'd be interested except I already own a Sailrite LSZ (which can nail 8 to 10 layers of acrylic Sunbrella canvas) and a Pfaff 130 (which can use some "hand assistance" with more than 4 layers), and a little Elna (Lotus?) workhorse.

    For the guy or gal wanting to do some canvas and/or cushion repair on his own boat, and/or wants to get a little repair business going on the side, a Pfaff 30 can be a low cost entry point.

    My screen name, SeamsterEast, comes from the canvas repair I've done on boats. I don't do so much any more except for myself because my building didn't seem to like all that boat canvas going through the lobby.

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  13. Part with both - and imagine the people who will be using and loving them. That should make the loss easier. Think of what you can do with that amount of space!

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  14. Im moving near the end of the month and have made a mental plan to purge myself of about 1/3 of the stuff I have. A lot of it is clothes I don't wear much anymore. A lot is going to goodwill while some are going on etsy.

    I love the idea of simply intentional items surrounding you. It makes me feel goo knowing everything has a function and not just sitting there in a 'I might use it later' category.

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  15. Fabric shopping in New Jersey? I'm in!

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  16. Go, Peter! I say be brutal and ditch the Pfaff. If I were you, I would keep the Kenmore zig-zagger, the Featherweight, the treadle, and one serger. That's really all you need.

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  17. The Kenmore, simply because I'm rather attached to Pffafs. I learned to sew on one. I still use one. My Mom still owns one. So yeah, ditch the Kenmore, keep the Pfaff!

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  18. Yeah, well, I have zero sentiment for Kenmores and oodles of it for Pfaffs!

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  19. The old Pfaff- because it has to be better than my new Pfaff.
    Destashing as we speak- local market stall is good.

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  20. I think you should keep Pffaf as my auntie(who lives in Denmark)swears by it. well done on de-cluttering exercise. I am bound to start in next day or two(at least to do my sewing room/office/study room - which is all in one room by the way.
    Ditch the Kenmore and keep Pffaff!!!

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  21. One garbage bag of clothing, two dumpings of the paper shredder and it oddly doesn't look much different. It's certainly a work in progress.
    No opinion on the sewing machine front, but really if you can come up with good reasons not to keep each machine, why keep either one?

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  22. Why not ditch the Ikea table as well as the the one with the broken wheel and use the Pffaf as the printer stand? My nightstand is a No. 40 library cabinet with a pristine Singer 101 in it. I have both a nightstand and a sewing machine.

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  23. I am sure happy those carpeted dog stairs I ditched a few years ago found a good home. :)

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  24. Unless you can use the Pfaff as a printer table, I'd ditch both since they don't add any capabilities you don't already have. If I were choosing one to keep, I'd pick the Pfaff. It's gorgeous-- and should sell well.

    -lw

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  25. I'm a Pfaff person, so I'd keep the Pfaff. It's also prettier.
    Heather

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  26. Over the holiday, I went through the stash(es). See, I inherited my mom's stash when she passed on and she'd inherited stash from other ladies who had retired, gone to Florida and no longer would be sewing wool, etc. etc. I was very brutal, which was easy because there is an organization in a town not too far away from us where the DH went for a sewing machine workshop, called 'Sew Green'. They collect old machines and fix them up and sell them cheap and have classes, for which they need...fabrics (funny how that works out). So, I went through and culled fabrics that I thought would please beginning sewers - fabrics for making skits and dresses, shirts (both knit and woven), and even a couple of fabrics that frankly someone could make coats and jackets out of. Great stuff. Now, if only I can get the DH to take all those boxes over.....

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  27. I am familiar with Sew Green -- in Ithaca!

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  28. Fabric shopping in NJ?? Count me in.

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  29. Keep the Pfaff 30. It has all metal gears. The Kenny isn't nearly as strong a machine.

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  30. I began my ditching a few days before the new year began...4 huge bags of clothing. I am letting go of those skinny cloths. If i manage to lose the weight i've put on then i'll either want new clothes or i'll want to make them.

    I sent a perfectly good cd stereo unit to Goodwill...it was miss22's as a teen and she left it here when she moved out.

    A small cheap cabinet was also sent to Goodwill. It hadn't been used for years, so it needed to go.

    I feel partially cleansed...but more will have to go.

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  31. SeamsterEast@aol.comJanuary 3, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    The Pfaff 30 uses a metal "ladder-type" chain (made with what appears to be strong wire) to drive the metal gears. The chain is a weak point and eventually breaks. That chain is no longer available, except cannibalized off used machines.

    FWIW, I knocked my Pfaff 130 out of time trying to sew a belt loop back on my blue jeans. The part that was knocked out of time was not geared, but was just a slip fit held tight by a screw in the surrounding metal piece. It appears to be a deliberate design implimenation intended to protect the machine's other parts in case of too heavy cloth and/or needle strikes.

    I like my Pfaff 130 but it is old enough to have been a wedding gift groom to bride of a woman who passed on an elderly woman ten or so years ago. Think 1952 Chevrolet.

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  32. Oh my gosh, I have that exact same Kenmore! I guess I missed the post where you introduced her. :D I only own one machine, and I absolutely love my Kenmore (her name is Maggie, after the Grandma who taught me how to sew). She's quite similar to the Kenmore my Grandma owned, so that's probably where the attraction started, and it only grew with how lovely of a machine she is.

    Honestly, I'd recommend selling the Kenmore if you have to part with any of them. I bought mine off of kijiji (similar to Craigslist), and it remains one of my best purchases. Let someone else discover the joy of sewing with such a good machine. :)

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  33. The let's see if we still want it (your stereo components) is how we do things also. We are collecting what we don't want for a yard sale. The goal is to have a clutter free calm home.

    I have one Singer treadle head going north to a friend in July and the cabinet to Daughter. I have 2 other sewing machines to sell; one yard sale and one through a sewing shop. I have kept 2 treadles and one Singer Featherweight extra as they have family attached to them. Once I made up my mind about them, it was an easy decision.

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  34. Really, all a person really needs is a machine that does a couple utility stitches and sews a nice seam. The reason we have more than that is that some machine are just so pleasureful to sew with. Since both machines are superfluous, which one makes you smile when you walk past ? Which one purrs the nicest and smalls the best? I know those Kenmores are great machines, but they do sorta lack any style, don't they ?

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  35. Fabric shopping in NJ together?

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  36. I've just ditched a load of old Knitting Magazines to the charity shop, we're never going to get through all that knitting! And I sold all my CDs as well as I never listen to them, just the mp3 now... Keep the Pfaff if nothing more than for its stunning good looks...

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  37. That busted silver cart is a TV table stand from the 80's. I had one in black they came from Conran's! We ditched ours over a decade ago.

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  38. I'd let both machines go, I think. When I read your article in the last Vogue Patterns magazine, it didn't read like you were feeling the love for the Pfaff, and I don't recall about the Kenmore right now. Especially since you have other machines that you use for the same capabilities. Dare I say there are some who would argue that the 15-91 and the 201 are also redundant?

    I know the regret of tossing something only to wish you hadn't. Fortunately only 2 items come to mind - a coat pattern and a set of plastic deer which I now realilze would be great winter decorations. 2 items out of how many - probably worth the risk.

    I think another thing that has us spooked about ditching - the fear that we might toss something that's actually worth a good bit of money. I call it the Antiques Roadshow effect.

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  39. I say good riddance to both machines! Think of all the space they'll free up!
    I just took about 5 warm coats and jackets to a local thrift store. It felt so good to get that space in my closet. Now my remaining zillion coats and jackets can wiggle around. I got rid of a big garbage bag full of patterns and another full of fabric. (Don't go looking for them either Peter, they're in California!).

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  40. Peter, I feel like you wrote this post for me! I NEED to start the daily ditch. My husband is a hoarder, but of the neat variety. I've decided to start ditching things weekly, if not daily. In fact, today I pulled out 6 old blankets that never get used to be given away. DH would be pulling half of them out and hiding them from me if he knew because they were his in his younger days. Also, I have 4 Singer 500a machines and 6 other various vintage machines as well. I've decided to get rid of two of the 4 500s. See how inspiring you are!

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  41. I was wrong about the Pfaff 30 - according tot he article you do enjoy sewing on it. I was thinking of the Pfaff 139 which you already sold. So the question maybe should be do you love sewing on the Pfaff 30 as much or more as the 15-91, 201 or Featherweight?

    Also - I noticed in the magazine photos that the treadle you have uses back clamp attachments. If you still have the 66 you found on the curb - you should be able to take the bar that holds the presser feet out of that, move it to the treadle. That way you can use all the low shank feet you have for your 15-91/201/Featherweight.

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  42. Gail, you're right. I was very fortunate in being able to find on eBay a lot of back clamping feet at a great price. Not that I use them much... ;)

    https://picasaweb.google.com/101177577152766699680/SingerTreadle#5686728068138388274

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  43. Just like your experience with the stereo, I think ditching "stuff" is all about the timing. We need to "be ready" to let it go. It helps me to consider my spaces (what and how do I want to use those areas in my home). For example, my dolls must all fit inside a huge antique armoire my sister gave me. When it gets full, someone is voted of the island.

    However . . . I'm completely ignoring my fabric hoard . . . I'm just not ready yet . . . ;)

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  44. My 15-91 and 201 would would go packing in a heartbeat for a Pfaff 30...but than again, they should go, they hardly ever get used. I am a huge fan of my Singer 301(s). One of the biggest problem I find having (too) many vintage machines is keeping them all oiled and in operating condition on a regular basis.

    Stan

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