Monday, November 21, 2016

The Misery of Shedding Stuff

At the beginning of this year, I signed up for an online course called "A Year to Clear What Is Holding You Back."  The idea is to unclutter your life by following the instructions that are sent to you every day.

As with most things I start, I was gung-ho at the beginning, and I did a bunch of clearing out.  But eventually it fell by the wayside, and I lost the energy for doing that hard work.

Now I need to take it up again!  Planning a cross-country move, I need to get my stuff in order and get ready to go.  I want to travel as light as possible, so I need to deal with as much of my stuff as I can.

I have a large cabinet crammed with art supplies.  Do you have a fetish for art supplies?  I surely do, and it's hard to give them up.  What am I taking and what will go into the garage sale?

Just some of the art supplies

My watercolor teacher says you should never throw away anything you've painted, not even your "dogs" -- there might be a day when you can go back and do something with them.  So I have a very large stack of artwork.  Can I bear to toss any of it, even if it's not very good?

Books!  As a former English professor, I have books galore, despite the fact that I have been ruthlessly shedding them over the past few years; I have to keep them  just because I might need them at some point.  Some I haven't read, some I might like to read again, and some have such great sentimental value that I could never get rid of them.  How are you with books?  How do you get yourself to part with them?  When I retired, I did a pretty good job of shedding my academic books, but I still have a few, and those are the ones that are hard to part with.  My books are in the two left bookcases, and I have another bookcase in the bedroom and cookbooks in the kitchen. My goal is to get down to two boxes of books.  Okay, maybe three.  Can I do it?

Just a few of my many books

And art work -  all over the house.  My own photographs, other paintings or photos I love -- do I take them all?  How do I pack them?  I want to put as much as I can into the car to go with me, but I'll soon run out of room there.  And how to pack?  I have one very large photograph, framed with glass, that I don't think will fit in the car, and I would be heartbroken if it's damaged.  And I have a very large unframed canvas painted by my mother -- should I try to move it as is, or should I take it off the stretcher bars, roll it up, and reassemble it when I get to where I'm going?

Just one little corner full of artwork

I'm open to taking any advice you might have about moving cross-country and how you dealt with it!  Right now it's pretty chaotic, but I still have almost a month to go, and I intend to make progress every day!

One corner of chaos

Do you love George Carlin?  I do.  Here he is, talking about "stuff."

Until next time --


Evelyn S. said...

You're moving? I can't even imagine! As for "shedding stuff," I NEED to do that so badly. I can barely get into the 10x10 craft room that has been renamed "crap room." And books are another issue, although I am nowhere near your collection. I did keep the first American Literature text I taught from in the mid-60's. It wasn't new then, either. When my youngest teacher became a high school teacher in 2002, I passed on some of my teaching materials to her; she retired two years ago and finally got rid of them. Sometimes, I just want a stranger to come in and take care of it, because I just don't have what it takes.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

It's so hard. But I'm determined to make a new start, even in my mid-60's. All signs are good that it will work out -- I put a deposit down with the movers today, and now I just have to get busy, day by day, and get everything together. It's exhausting to think about, but I know I can do it!

Karuna said...

About five years ago I decided if anything hadn't been used in the last three years it had to go, unless there was a VERY good reason to keep it. Last year I changed that to if I hadn't used it in the last two years. That has worked very well for me.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

That's good advice -- I'll keep it in mind!