Here at my Budget Vogue desk, I’ve been going through a lot, a great deal, a whole bunch. I’ve been going through, sorting, contemplating, agonizing, pausing.

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Is it anxiety, you ask? Is it trauma? No. It’s storage bins, trunks, boxes. I’ve been carrying around a lot of stuff for decades, and COVID has provided a time to edit, to categorize, to mourn.

There is an Irish sweater my Aunt Mary brought back from the Emerald Isle in 1973, a cardigan that fit my 10-year-old self. I think of Aunt Mary, long since gone and remember how excited we were when she brought our family back sweaters and Waterford from the old country, the land of her parents, my grandparents, the potato famine, poetry and song. I keep thinking I’ll turn that sweater into a pillow, a Christmas ornament, maybe a bag. And then I simply return it to the bin. Maybe later.

I’ve gone through hundreds and hundreds of real photographs, those kind with writing on the back, old cursive spelling out names like “Nancy, Jeanne, Gert.” And I wonder what to do with all of them, tucked into bins along with York Photo mailers and old negatives.

I am tempted to ask my teenage students who think themselves so tech savvy if they even know what negatives and York mailers are. Hah! You think yourselves so smart! Do you even know what film is?

I’m currently going through dishes, china, beautiful table settings that, yes, one should have close to one’s face and mouth during these times of COVID.

I am going through cabinets and getting rid of cups and mugs that have no business being at my dinner party, my breakfast gathering, my brunch. This is an A-List event, after all — fine china that can go through the dishwasher is invited. Boring chipped plates? Gone, adiós, ciao.

These next several months are glorious times to celebrate food and dishes, only the best, only the invited, only the fine. Life is too short to have spaghetti-stained bowls; it’s time to replenish, replace, remove.

So, it’s time to cleanse, dear Budget Voguers, to go through — mentally, physically, emotionally. And the other side? It’s lovely and light. And perhaps made even softer by a sweater made from an Irish sweater while drinking a cup of tea from a beautiful china cup.

Susan Dromey Heeter writes and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at