Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I've got to admit, I am maybe a little bit ADD with the moving. My house is a bit ripped up and that makes me feel anxious. Unable to focus, even more than usual. That's saying something, as I am Anxiety Queen on the best of days. I'm more than a little bit OCD on some fronts and having my house in such flux is horrifying on levels I can't even put into words. My functionality over time really does depend on certain structures remaining constant and when there is change on this level, I have to work extra hard to get things done.

In each room there is a packing project. Maybe two. Or three. Here there are pictures being dusted, sorted and boxed, over there are things getting washed and dried and carefully wrapped in tissue. Piles of clothes, faire garb (I don't know why I am holding on to the bodice I wore two sizes ago...), books, papers, yarn, art crap... OH DEAR GOD THE ART CRAP. Scrapbooking stuff, beads, fabric, floss, you name it I probably have it in a Tupperware bin. I found three years worth of old Mary Englebreit magazines in the bottom of my Art Crap Chest, dating from like, 1999 - 2001, seriously. I am totally gung ho when I start each packing project, then I find myself distracted and wander away to something else. All day long. Round and round I go. Quite a lot is actually getting done, but it feels disjointed and vague.

I am driving myself somewhat crazy, but finding it impossible to focus enough to do it any other way. I am excavating these layers that have been relatively untouched for several years and I feel the need to spend a little time on each layer as it is unearthed. I am revisiting the person I used to be. There are some things about her that I want to invite back into my life. I am trying to pick and choose which doors to leave open. Some of them I am choosing to keep closed. It is a journey.

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When my grandparents died, their home was filled with Stuff. Most of it had history, had a story attached. Most of the stories we knew. Some of them were mysteries. In the end, story or not, it all ended up scattered. In the end, you can’t take it with you. I am trying to remember this, as I gaze upon my hoarded treasures. I need to use them while I’m still here or let go of them so someone else can enjoy them.

Crazy Aunt Purl had a great post today about stuff. Go read it, it's really awesome. I've been wrestling with the same conundrum all week. I think having less will make it easier to live a little more harmoniously. Unfortunately? I need to buy some specific new stuff for this move. This has been weighing heavily upon me. Polar bears going extinct, recession, gas, resources are limited. I feel guilty for buying more stuff when I know it is better not to consume. I have a lot of guilt for wanting more stuff.

I guess the way I’ve rationalized this to myself is to say that where there is need, I'm going to buy good stuff that is not as disposable instead of cheap crap so maybe I won't need to replace it in 5 years. I am going to take better care of what I have. And yes, dammit, if I have stuff that can be repurposed/remade/reused to some other function, then gods bless it, I'll make that work out too. I've got some *great* ideas to reuse things already on hand. My brain bubbleth over with projects. There WILL be tutorials!

In the end, I think that it is all about finding that balance. I am a hoarder. I can admit it. If I have one thing, then I want all those things. One teacup in a cute pattern is not enough. I want a set of four. One adorable tiny ceramic rabbit is not enough. Please I want ten. One book in a series? No, I want the whole series. And now I'm getting rid of so much stuff that seemed so damn important at the time. I am thinking of all the money I spent on that stuff and how utterly useless most of it is to me now. How meaningless. How much of it was based in wanting the trappings rather than the substance.

It isn't that stuff is bad. Stuff isn't bad. It's that sometimes, stuff gets carried away. I get carried away. There's absolutely such a thing as too much of a good thing. Boy howdy. /art stash> /teacups> /ceramic bunnies>

My battered, second hand dresser that I bought 15 years ago at a yard sale finally gave up the ghost. One side split wide open. One leg has been missing for years and I’ve been propping it up with an old copy of I, Claudius. It could probably be salvaged with wood glue, clamps and a block of pine. I'm not going to fix it or replace it. For the cost of a few extra hangers and a couple of baskets, I was able to reorganize my clothes so that they all fit into my perfectly functional wardrobe.

After all, who needs a dresser and a wardrobe? I really don’t. That they didn't used to all fit means I’ve probably got too many damn clothes. Or something. And on the plus side? Now I get to re-read I, Claudius.

I’m not on a Stuff Diet. But I am trying so hard to make better choices about how I consume. I am working at being a thoughtful consumer, working harder than I ever have in my life. I'll come away from this move with less stuff overall and I think I'll feel ok about the balance I am trying to strike with what I do end up buying. I think I will try to hoard less, or at least be aware that to hoard is my natural compulsion. I will try to be less of a Smaug about Stuff.

Like my buddy Linda says, we've got to do it for the polar bears.

4 comments:

Phoe said...

I like the way you look at packing. It really is like saying goodbye to parts of yourself.

I wish you luck with your "stuff". :)

KnitNana said...

You know what? That's all any of us can really do - what you've described? It's the human condition - at least in America! We do collect stuff, we ARE acquisitive. It's okay. Purging occasionally is good for the soul - so Good for YOU! And the way you do it (the move and the purging) is the best way to do it for you.

I'm saying that you are doing it right. I know this in my gut - and oh yeah, let that dresser go, hon!

We each define what is "enough" for ourselves. You're on the right road! And moves are cathartic!
(((hugs)))

spinningleaves said...

I LOVE "Smaug about Stuff" I may have to adopt that at some point. I am quite a Smaug about it myself...your Mary Englebreit magazines made me think of the archaeological layers of old college papers and yoga journals moldering (thankfully not literally) in my shelves. We are possibly moving soon as well and I always dread the purge cycle because I want to be like the little old ladies in Labyrinth..."oh it's your horsey, you like your little horsey, don't you dearie?" and stick all of it to my back and walk around with it because it's safer than letting it go. I admire your discipline in finding balance and trying to let go of the other 9 rabbits.
besos,
spinningleaves

Mouse said...

I totally understand what you mean.. especially considering that I just did a huge purge, moved, and am STILL packed into this house from floor to ceiling with shit I thought I needed. Moving into a smaller house with less storage (its an old house that lacks ample closet space and a garage) has really put everything I own right out in the open.. and not in a positive light.
We're with you! Hang in there!