I gave away my Kitchen Aid mixer, and I liked it.

I could hear the collective gasp when I did it. A young mom in our hyperlocal Buy Nothing Facebook group put her most coveted wish on that week’s “Wishful Wednesday” post. I like to scan those posts to see if I have anything to offer because – let’s face it – I’ve got a lot of junk in my trunk, so to speak. And sometimes I like to leave my own fervent and most coveted wishes for things I would like or need and someone else may no longer want. 

I highly enjoy my Buy Nothing group. I’ve gotten to know several of my neighbors through this group since the pandemic began, and we have given and taken and traded items, like neighbors have traditionally done. When I first joined, I thought it would be more about people snatching and grabbing whatever they can get for free, and my presence would be short-lived. This is not the case. The local Buy Nothing groups are about connection and conversation and sharing products and gifts and talents and even services with no money changing hands. 

My favorite post this year was the neighbor who was giving away a rather large and generous fistful of condoms – “Expire in 2024, take all,” the caption read. I had to leave at least one comment, as this was so On Brand for me as to be ridiculous if I didn’t participate.

Usually when someone posts something they are gifting, neighbors who are interested will make their cases in the comments of the post. When it “came” to the condoms, I rode that post to completion, making my case as hard and long as I could. I have no evidence of this, but I believe my winning comment was, “My interest is coming hard and fast. That’s what she said.” Yeah, I got them. And as I don’t have a uterus or the kind of lifestyle that requires condoms, I gave them to adult whippersnapper friends who will put them to good use. 

But I digress. On that fateful Wishful Wednesday post, this neighbor said, “I have big wishes for a new hobby! A Kitchen Aid mixer!” 

The noise in my brain skidded to a stop. I had a Kitchen Aid mixer on a shelf maybe 20 feet away from where I was sitting and scrolling. It had been gathering dust for at least two years, and likely more. I had been thinking about giving it away for several months, but hadn’t figured it out, what with the pandemic and all taking up our collective brain cells. 

My heart pounded and my stomach dropped. I sensed that I needed to give that mixer to this neighbor in my Buy Nothing group. But was I really ready to give away something so substantial? Something so solidly a part of my past life? 

The mixer was easily 10 years old. I remember when these stand mixers first hit Costco. I wanted one so bad. Not even a special one. Just a regular, plain, ordinary white one, and I received it as a Christmas present that year. A status symbol, to me, of being a “good mom” and a “good wife” and a “good homemaker.”

The mixer was 10 years old, but in excellent shape. I made cookies or banana bread in it probably once a month, but little else. It was always a bit wonky for me. There was this one spot on the bottom of the bowl – oh, I always loved the bowl. I still love that bowl – where the mixing blade would never hit, so there would be hunks of unmixed dough. I probably could have fixed it, but I didn’t. My husband at the time mentioned something about adjusting it, but he didn’t. We didn’t figure it out, not in the ten years we had the mixer, and so I didn’t use it very often.

When I left my marriage, I took the Kitchen Aid mixer with me. The mixer was shiny and white and mine. I moved into an apartment and then I met the love of my life and we moved in together and there the mixer sat, on a shelf, gathering dust. I tried using it a few times in my new home/new life, but it didn’t fit. The hand held mixer was new and easy to use and a cinch to clean and it got every square centimeter of dough, no matter what bowl I used.

“I have big wishes for a new hobby! A Kitchen Aid mixer!” My neighbor posted.

I got up from where I was sitting and scrolling and walked to the kitchen and the shelf and the mixer and stood there and stared at it. The cool metal curves and shiny white enamel and the thin yet unmistakable layer of dust.

I walked back to where I had laid my phone down, clicked “reply,” and said, “I have a Kitchen Aid mixer. It’s 10 years old and in excellent shape. I will NOT clean it. It’s not dirty, just dusty, but still.” 

Within an hour, that mixer was gone off the porch. I felt both happy and sad, which is not unusual in my life, to feel more than one emotion at a time. Happy to unload something I didn’t need, along with all of the associated baggage, and to give something meaningful to a neighbor who would appreciate it. Sad that the mixer and I hadn’t fit together, that I was letting go of another part of my previous life. 

Ultimately, though, I felt free. Letting go. Making new connections, even – especially – during a pandemic that has physically separated all of us, and still teaching us the importance of community. 

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