Monday, July 11, 2011

Where have all the flowers gone? (the case of the empty vase)

empty vases from under the sink...
Opa has always loved having flowers in the house. We are lucky to have a yard with mature gardens that offer many blooms throughout the summer season. The only thing that brings him more joy than arranging them these days is taking their pictures.

When Oma was still alive, bringing home a bouquet from the grocery store, (or sometimes two if they were on sale), carefully measuring and trimming the ends, and displaying them in a vase on the coffee table was part of his weekly routine. After 95 years of birthdays and 68 anniversaries, they were not lacking for empty vases, baskets, or other containers to hold them.

When tackling the pantry, where they were precariously stacked inside each other in topple-over, accident- potentially-requiring-sutures, waiting-to-happen fashion, Mom led the initiative. This was a great place to begin downsizing because it wasn't emotionally loaded. (Generally a good starting point when facing the dismantling of an entire household.) We cleaned, sorted, and boxed up the lot, (at least a dozen baskets, two boxes full of vases, and quite a few holiday themed ceramics) then drove them to the florist who had originally made the deliveries. If they were less than delighted to receive them, they were great fakers.

This week, I decided to do the same with the small collection that was starting to gather under the kitchen sink in our current home. It was a great outing for us and Opa came home with a prize.

Today's Downsize Challenge is to take inventory of your empty vases and make new arrangements for the extras. Personally, as long as I have one thing big enough to hold peonies during the week in June when they bloom, and another thing small enough to hold the daisies, I feel well prepared.

This challenge should be fairly easy on you. Many florists around the country have initiated vase recycling programs. Some even offer discounts or store credit for your return. If your local florist has not thought of this yet, your inquiry might really start something. Please do take the extra few minutes to clean them first. I don't have a dishwasher, but soak mine in dish detergent in the sink to get them in prime condition for reuse. The baskets used for flower arrangements can be re-used too.  If your favorite florist won't take them back, consider finding a new favorite. As for the little water tubes, they might accept those for re-use too, but if not, notice their potential role in other areas of the house.  A few have found new careers in my sewing basket (great as needle holders, for bead storage, etc) and tool box (perfect for little nails and small hardware). And remember, glass and plastic can usually be recycled if all attempts at redistribution fail.

Opa's smile shows the power of a single flower, so pick one today for somebody you love. Don't worry about the vase. There's sure to be one in the utility closet somewhere...