Friday, October 12, 2007

Less Stuff

We’ve been getting rid of things. It’s always harder than you expect, especially if you’re at all sentimental or have pack-rat tendencies. Both terms fit me. And, surprisingly, my husband falls into those categories as well. Never thought I’d marry another pack-rat.

Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step towards solving it. So this past year we’ve been going through old boxes of stuff; old clothes, old papers, old photos, books, old school work. And then there are the odds and ends of computer paraphernalia and electronic trinkets, like obsolete computer towers and keyboards, a parallel port flatbed scanner, various cables, multiple-end jacks, a headset for verbal IM-ing, floppy disks, a top-of-monitor webcam w/ cables and software, old games I never play. Some of these things I don’t want to put out on garbage day – there are hazardous materials in there. I know there are organizations in town that take them and remove the bad stuff, but that means I need to find the business card I picked up from a booth on Earth Day. I know it’s around here somewhere….

We really have made progress, thank goodness! Our bedroom is actually pretty big, but until recently almost half of it was taken up with boxes of stuff I packed up before I went to Korea in July ’02! I’ve lived in this house since April ’05, and still haven’t unpacked everything. Partly because my husband has had to get rid of some of his things so I’d have room to put mine away, and partly because going through all that old stuff is NOT a job I’ve been looking forward to. He’s been steadily throwing away his old stuff for the past year, and has made great progress. Now it’s my turn.

Last weekend I went through four or five boxes of old clothes, old papers and old computer stuff. When you haven’t seen something for two years and haven’t missed it, it’s not hard to give away or toss – unless there’s some sentimental value to it. Those are the things that make the entire process difficult.

Reducing our ‘stuff’ quotient is something both of us feel pretty strongly about. We both prefer open space and clear surfaces in our home, and at the same time, we both have a fair amount of dust collectors. Nice things, to be sure, things that mean something to us, but needless to say our rooms are not as open and surfaces not as clear as we’d like.

This desire for fewer possessions goes along with the rest of the way we try to live. Naturally, as with most people, we don’t always live up to our own ideals, but we continue to work at it. And that’s the important thing. Heard an interesting piece on NPR yesterday about a similar topic:

We’ll keep chipping away at the stuff, and recycle when we can.

Less is the new more.

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