Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!

Sep 20, 2011

The Ditch is Back

Readers, you probably already know that I do not do things by halves.  I hope you'll remember this as posts about throwing stuff out (aka The Daily Ditch) become the new normal here at MPB, at least until I've cleared most of the junk out. 

You may or may not recognize the serger above.  I bought it used on eBay and it didn't even come with a thread stand or presser foot -- I had to find those on my own.  This machine caused me nothing but nightmares from the get-go -- it's simply hell to thread -- and since I jammed it on a flat-felled denim seam two years ago, it has sat on a shelf at the top of my bedroom closet.  Every time I look at it my blood pressure escalates and yet I have never mustered the courage to get rid of it.

I have finally decided that this baby has to go.  I'm putting a sign on it that says "Works, but needs a tune up."  I'm not mentioning that an exorcism might also be required.  I apologize to those of you who are offended by my decision, I just can't look at it any longer, though I admit it's a better looking machine than my Brother 1034D, and much more solidly built.

Let's move on.

No ditching effort would be serious without addressing Cathy's shoe collection.  Cathy has more pairs of shoes than I do by a multiple of ten.  Many of them were picked up for a pittance, some even found in the street (obviously I'm not the only one with a daily ditch obsession).  Too many are cripplingly tight or need repair and Cathy is not the type to repair her old shoes.  Where I'm miserly, Cathy is an utter spendthrift and fortunately at present she has very little money, though her taste is impeccable.

I managed to identify four pair that must go and go now.  Their memory will live on in various Cathy photo shoots.


But there's more!

I bought this knapsack for a song right before a summer vacation and it is the most uncomfortable knapsack ever made.  It looks good, however, which explains why five minutes after I left it in our building trash, it was gone.  Like shoes (men's, at least), I really think when it comes to knapsacks, you get what you pay for.

Readers, in our disposable age, there are so many cheap appliances created that are utterly unnecessary, and this battery-operated crapola Conair beard and mustache and ear and nose hair trimmer is one of them.  There's nothing this trimmer does (in theory) that you couldn't do with a pair of scissors, and I'm not exactly Sasquatch, after all.   OUT!

You probably own or have owned computer speakers in your life.  You can probably tell from the color that these were purchased back in the day when all computer equipment was beige or putty or sand, or whatever that awful color (or non-color) was called.  These were actually good speakers in their day and they still work, but I don't need them anymore.   Plus all those dreadful wires...


If you're like me, your medicine cabinet is bursting with expired health and beauty products that really should be tossed.  This Burt's Bees facial scrub was never much good -- way too coarse for my delicate punim -- and the peach smell made me gag.  Coming to a landfill near you! 

But wait -- there's more!

I picked up this compact fluorescent "putty" (blech) Luxo lamp on eBay for a great "Buy it Now" price (which should have been my first clue), thinking it would be the perfect lamp to sew by.  Think again!  Like many fluorescent lamps, it hums and -- at least until it warms up -- flickers, which drove me crazy, and the cold, depressing light it emitted made my skin crawl.  Hopefully some aspiring mortician will find it.

Finally, I used to have a thing for mid-century modern dinnerware.  I still have too much of it.  These Finnish Arabia dishes are (nearly) all I have of a set called Anemone.  They are scratched something awful (don't let the photo fool you) and weigh a ton.  I found them at a local thrift store and that's where they'll return.

Friends, I apologize for only indirectly alluding to sewing in this post.  In fact, I feel so bad about it, I will share my latest pattern purchase.  I'm not only about ditching, after all!


In closing, I hope I am inspiring at least a few of you to downsize -- or to shop more selectively so that you never have to reach this point of desperation.

It's so true what they say that at a certain point, your stuff owns you, rather than the other way around.

When in doubt, toss -- and don't look back.

Happy Tuesday, everybody!

P.S.  If you simply must read something about sewing, check out my latest BurdaStyle sew-along post!


  1. Peter, you continue to inspire by example.

    I have a TV set a friend of mine made me buy because I didn't have one, and it has been on for only a few hours in about 4 or 5 years. Away with ye.

    Making it my mission to stock up a thrift store with my barely used stuff.

    Thanks for showing so many of how easy and therpeutic the process can be.

  2. For a second before I actually read everything I thought that pattern was one of the things you were ditching and got irrationally upset.

  3. This post made me laugh so many times. But you're right, older computers were that beige color, weren't they? Now we have darker colors or white. Thanks for the laugh!

  4. You are an inspiration Peter! I think I finally will get rid of the bag of clothes I filled for Salvation Army... it has been sitting in my corner, probably for the last 6 months...

  5. Mother Mary I love your chihuahua's!!!

  6. Peter, you are definitely inspiring. I have some ditching coming up & when I do, I shall also post the stuff leaving to my blog. ;-)

    Thanks, Beth

  7. Wow, a day of rest and you're really on a roll! Congratulations :-). You won't miss that serger at all, anything that raises your blood pressure that much isn't worth the closet space.
    Keep it up :-).

  8. I've just found you and spent the last couple of hours reading and snickering when I should be working. You're marvellous...

  9. Hi Peter, if you haven't already tossed it, you can snip the cables from that lamp and use it to repair sewing machine power cords.

    - Rain

  10. It is good to ditch! I have realized that the more space I am allotted the MORE stuff I save. Argh! Getting rid of stuff feels good and makes the home life that much more enjoyable! Keep ditching!

  11. I have to laugh about the computer speakers. They look a lot like the pair I use in my classroom (why would the school buy something so practical like speakers???). My speakers were from something we like to call "curbside computers" - a.k.a. my husband likes to see what gets left out in the neighborhood on trash day. He then cobbles stuff together - even made one he called "Frankengeek" - ditching is good.

  12. I too have been having a blast and many a ditch party at my house this summer. I just posted about how I actually feel lighter when I do this regularly. I want to live my life more freely, not merely be the curator of a life. Less stuff helps me do that.

  13. I was beginning to think after the last couple of posts that you were using difficult questions such as 'is sewing art', 'what is art', and 'if the designer dies, should the couture house die too' to procrastinate further about chucking stuff out. I was pleased to see today that you have made up for lost time by chucking HEAPS of stuff out. You are an inspiration! I need to take a leaf out of your book!!!

  14. Have you, by chance, also seen George Carlin's skit about "Stuff"?

  15. I downsize, if only to buy new stuff.

  16. For a good sewing lamp try purchasing "Lights of America" Sun Light Desk Light. It mimics the light spectrum of sun light so it doesn't have a yellow cast like incandescent. Also I like that it doesn't emit a lot of heat.

  17. I'm truly inspired and a little worried about all the clothes and skin/hair care products I'll have to tackle when I get home from work. It's a bit embarrassing how much random 'stuff' I have.

    But if you can do it, so can I! :)

  18. I'm in ditching process too - honestly it began before the Daily Ditch, but your idea of choosing a thing / day is one I'm going to steal !!

    I moved house a month ago and was truly appaled at the amount of things we had to pack and move. And realized I had not enough hangers for all my clothes. So instead of buying new hangers, I dump clothes.
    And it's incredibly liberating. The bonus side : I'm rediscovering the slow sewing process, because getting new clothes is not a priority right now, so I can afford to spend the extra time to muslin, making samples and getting the details right.

  19. Well what a mantra to live by "When in doubt, toss and don't look back" LOL!!!! (possibly might have a diff meaning in the UK than US ;-))

  20. Is that still from "How Green is My Valley"? Or what was the name of that film about the kid in Wales, coal miner's son, who was a gifted student and the teacher who worked with him to get him into university?

    I wish I could ditch and not bring home just as much other stuff. Today we dragged home 1/2 roll of fiberglass insulation batting. Don't ask why.

  21. Betsy, I think you're thinking of "The Corn is Green."

  22. Beard trimmers are used by quilters to unsew fabrics. They clip threads without damaging the fabric.

  23. I'll have to disagree with you on the beard trimmer, Peter. While I have no experence with using it to trim facial hair, it works great as a seam ripper. I think some people also use it for removing machine embroidery.

    JustGail, who seems to be having problems with comments to day.

  24. Heh... Serger: Huskylock 234D?
    I have that. Bought new nearly 20 yrs ago.
    Probably jamming due to looseness of 2mm screw holding the cutting blade in position on the bottom underneath (if you've never visited the website for McMaster-Carr, please allot at least 30 min for first viewing - but they have 2mm screws). But my machine just keeps on going, even though threading it is a bit of a chore; don't think it'll ever wear out.

    Love your approach to just about everything. Kudos.

  25. Wow I just have to say....Those shoes that cathy is wearing are absolutely ADORABLE!

    Kind of depressing they had to be thrown out! Oh well I always make it a rule never to have more than three pairs of shoes. Cause if you get them in colors that go with everything who cares right?! ^_^ (course you may disagree.)


Related Posts with Thumbnails