Stuff

April 15, 2008

I saw this on the wall of an empty building in Charleston. It struck me because it is an on-going debate I have with myself (and Adam). Those of you who have known me for a long time know that I am a pack rat and I come from a long line of professional pack rats. I am not a big shopper, but I am a big "saver". I tend to create piles and nests of things that I might one day use for a project or articles/letters/photos that I might one day organize or re-read. I hold onto sentimental clothing items. And I pick things up from the curbs on garbage day...an old stool that I might one day re-paint, a lamp that just needed a new shade, outdoor climbing structure etc.

This pack ratting can cause problems...tripping over the "nests" on my side of the bed, trying to locate one of the many things I have saved, and occasional "discussions" with Adam about why this or that needs to be saved. One of the best things that has ever happened to me is marrying Adam. For many reasons, but one critical one is that with his military obligation comes the mandatory moves every three years. It is a pain to move every three years, but thank goodness we do because it forces me to go through my pack rat nests and whittle them down. And each time I do, I feel better and I swear that I won't accumulate so much stuff in our next house, but I do. I can't help it. I think it must be a genetic condition.

The frequent moves are a good way for cutting down on too much long term stuff. And our frequent travels are also good for me. Each time we travel I comment to myself and to Adam...wow, isn't this nice....we don't have piles of stuff everywhere, we don't have mounds of laundry because we only have enough clothing for five days, we don't have tons of toys because the kids don't really need them. And the same goes for our current living situation. Here we are living in a house for a month with one bag of library books, one large tin of tinker toys, one baby doll, paint, markers, paper, bikes, and beach buckets...and we are content, happy, and fairly clutter free. Now that doesn't mean things don't get a little messy each day, but it is so much easier to clean up when there is less stuff to start with. This isn't a new lesson for me, but it is one I think I will need over and over again. When we get back home I am resolved to attack my "piles" of stuff.
Kellie said...

Thanks for sharing this, Lucia. I have nests, too. There is a certain security for me, and I am constantly asking myself that same question. I really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Melissa said...

Great post! I am also a packrat, but I daydream about getting rid of almost everything and living clutter free in an RV.

Karen said...

I can totally relate to your pack rat tendencies, Lucia. I spent part of today going through some of my "nests" and actually managed to come up with 2 full garbages bags of items, one for the trash and one to donate. It felt really good, but the flipside is I still have so many more nests to tackle! Trust me,you are not alone in your fight against the clutter.

Anonymous said...

About once or twice a year, I get the 'bug' to clean out. I may throw out 1 or 2 bags of stuff. And yet, when I go through the house, I really can't tell I've done anything. Then I swear I will go through and clear out all the broken toys(and/or missing pieces of toys), but then I go, "But I saw them playing with this 'bit' of a toy just the other day. Alas, it never makes it to the garbage. I've started asking just for books/good videos or family passes to zoo/botanical garden/etc for xmas/b=days. Please no more toys that will not be played with or will be broken shortly after opening. So good luck on de-cluttering and thanks for the reminder.

Jan

Lori said...

lucia, i love your art projects! and that graffiti really speaks to me, too. since moving to our new house a couple of years ago, i've been on a purging mission, trying to get it down to the essentials. for me, it's like peeling an onion - the first layer was easy to get rid of, but i'm into the difficult part now!

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