Where did I get so many pens? And hangers? And scraps of paper? And bottles of lotion? And shoes?
Why on earth have I kept this for so long?
As I make preparations for Italy (10 Days?!) I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff.
No, that isn’t euphemism for the emotional calisthenics my heart and mind have been running. I mean I’m divesting myself of my junk, by articles, my items, my possessions, my baggage, my crap.
I’m more annoyed that I have to deal with it than anything else. A rather large part of me wants to pack a small suitcase and simply walk away.
I have visions of that scene in “Waiting to Exhale” of piling all the stuff — but my stuff, not my cheating husband’s — into a giant heap and setting fire to it.
I’d confidently stride away looking fierce, snap my fingers and say “never again.”
Overdramatic? Maybe a touch, but that is how deep my desire to be rid of the things right now is. I’m getting rid of as much as I can for, in my mind, my time in Florence isn’t a little sojourn over to Europe. It isn’t even a year fellowship in my mind. In my preparations I am overhauling my life and my concept of “home.”
Florence is the first stop in what I hope to be a longterm nomadic life.
Tis a life that doesn’t need quite so many pens.
I’ve always had this “rainy day” mentality. Save things for when you will need them. Save them because they are too nice to use. Save them so they don’t go to waste…
Saving so long the act of saving becomes wasteful.
For all the time that has passed, it has lost it’s purpose and value. So why keep it?
Oh, but have I toted it with me over countless moves. Holding on entirely too long. With this particular item there is a sentimental attachment to it, for the child I was and my home in DC, so it might make the cut — also for the sheer incredulity that I have kept it this long.
What of the other 100s and 1000s of pieces of detritus I have glommed onto my life?
I didn’t even remember that I had all of 2001 of “Time” in storage. And there I was contemplating if they were all worth keeping. Sure it is interesting for the fleeting moment of memory and “huh”… but past that?
Why are all the things worth holding on to?
There is the hope that one day they will prove useful. And I know that there have been times where an old shoebox, old holy jeans, cards, scraps of ribbon, piece of junk jewelry has in fact come in handy. How much more often have I just moved it from one place to another where it gathers no more use, no more joy, no more remembrance, no more care from it.
I just don’t want to feel like the thing — and the money I spent on it — was wasted.
I have yet to actually miss anything from the great purge of 2012. Same with those of 2010, 2008 and 2007. To say nothing of the 100s of times I have hacked through closet or drawer to get rid of this or that.
What value does it have if I don’t miss it when it is gone?
I want to feel like I got my full use out of the thing. I want my money’s worth. Barring that, I want my perceived value back for it.
Here’s the thing: It doesn’t work that way. Except for maybe art and true collectibles, things– all of our many things — lose their value as soon as they are purchased.
Time from store to home ticks off pennies and dollars, and the loss compounds as the item sits unused.
Someone once told me the only idea of economics I grasped: the value of a thing is the price someone is willing to pay for it.
A thing has no value sitting idle in our closets and cupboards. It is squandered there. To say nothing of the cupboard, table, closet, container that it is sitting in.
So once free of the idea of need for it, why expend yet more energy kavetching on the best way to sell to get top dollar for the thing? Time = money right? Spending that time is just more lost value on the thing that is already — realistically — invaluable.
Donate it, sell it quickly at a low price, free-cycle it, whatever! Just suck it up, realize that we’re not going to get what we paid for it and instead get what someone else is willing to pay for it and be done with it.
Hopefully the process will force us to be more choice in our purchases in the future.
I’m giving myself this little pep talk daily if not hourly: Whatever value the thing had was in its purposefulness and need fulfilled. Use it up. Or if it’s usefulness is done, it is time to be rid of it.
The more stuff we have, the less we use.
Or in my case: “if you’re not willing to take it to the other side of the world, time to say goodbye.”
It might not feel as good as watching it all burn as I stride away with my little suitcase but it feels good.
Be one with your stuff. And may we…
Always Be IN,