For the past three days, I’ve been preparing to merge two homes: the suburban one where the kids went to school and the Cape house where we all played. There is just soooooo much stuff to deal with; it’s pretty overwhelming. I don’t qualify for those hoarding shows on television, but I am amazed at how much I have amassed.
I don’t buy everything I see. However, if I find something I like, I notice that I buy multiples. Yes, there were four boxes of instant oatmeal (the big ones that you could use as a drum) and eight boxes of red quinoa. There’s a knitwear designer that I like, and you guessed it, I’ve purchased all of her books; ditto for my favorite fiction author, Mark Helprin. And if something was ever once “scarce” in my history, you can bet I have it stockpiled: 17 Bean Soup Mix, tahini, and discontinued yarn fit the bill. There were twenty wooden cigar boxes patiently waiting for me to decoupage in my studio; they ARE hard to find, you know. I was not alive during the Great Depression and don’t have it to blame for this behavior.
I read somewhere that some folks work on the premise that whatever they need, will be available when they need it. I’m not one of those people, but I’m thinking I might want to become one. I have stockpiles and stashes so that everything is at my fingertips when I want it. It was not until we decided to move that the full implications of all this came into focus. I guess it’s never too late for this old dog to learn a new trick.
As I fill up boxes of goodies to be delivered to shelters, food pantries, recycling centers and the dump, I’m determined to live lean and mean, well, maybe just lean. After I finish reading a book, I’ll pass it on to some else. Knitting projects will be created with yarn from my stash, likewise for quilts and fiber art. We’ll eat up “stuff” from our pantry and look forward to some empty shelves. Isn’t it weird to be looking forward to empty shelves?! I’m reminded of a former boss telling me that I’d do well to remember that life was very much like Chinese checkers: you need empty space to jump to. Empty space gives you freedom.