De-hoarding de poems

This is a picture of the jam jars in my pantry. I count thirteen and that doesn’t include the outpost colony of orange marmalade and apricot preserves that live in the back of my refrigerator.


The jars have sat unused for at least a year, some much longer. If it were up to my husband they’d be tossed, but anytime he comes near what he calls my “hoarding”–- a term that includes the jellies but also my soup cans, bags of dried beans, sewing notions, cleaning fluids, beauty products, boxes of stationery and assorted office supplies—I body-block him and shout about wastefulness. We sure have a lot of fun cleaning together.


Therefore in the interests of marital harmony and shelf space not to mention expiration dates, my summer and fall goal—let’s extend it winter too (wild ambition is not one of my faults)—is to use up all the jam. Jam on chicken, jam on pork, jam on toast for gluten-loving visitors. Then I’m going to cook up the beans, send out lots of letters, slather myself in all manner of lotions and ointments, and use use use all my unused things until I’ve achieved a Marie Kondo life-changing tidiness.


Yeah. Well. We shall see. I might just settle for tidyish.


But there’s one collection I know I can get through and that is my stash of “unused” poems. Over the seven years I’ve been writing this blog I’ve collected a lot, and I know I won’t use most of them. Some poems are by poets I’ve featured too many times, some I don’t much remember why I liked in the first place, and some demand more time than I’m willing to take away from my other writing projects.


I hereby resolve to post poems several times a week until my Poem Elf folder is empty. It’s going to be simple. Photos and a caption. I’m not going to write commentary, and I may or may not include a short biography of the poet. Whatever prevents me from putting poems out in the world and posting them on this blog will be eliminated.


Project Tidy-Up starts this week. Also posted on Twitter.




  1. zarana

    Hahah, lovely coincidental timing. This morning, in the middle of work swamp-iness and some heartbreak, I decided I would no longer brook the 99:1 ratio of useless to useful emails in my box. I am hitting “unsubscribe” to all but the joy-producing ones. Which include yours, dear Poem Elf. I feel like the lucky kid sister who will gain as you clean out your closet. Virtual hugs.

  2. Kelly

    Go Poem Elf! I am all for decluttering! Whatever makes you feel good and frees up some valuable space.
    Happy to stop by any morning for jam and toast.

  3. BGCholewa

    It’s only “hoarding” if the expiration date has passed…!! Thanks for much-needed motivation to declutter. Can’t wait to see what poems have been lying in waiting.

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