Monday, May 5, 2008

Why so much stuff?

One of the most stressful aspects of moving to Barnesville is considering moving our household, which is packed to the gills with stuff. Everywhere you look is ... stuff. Now we are supposedly people dedicated to simple living, and yet we are surrounded with, bulging with, bursting with ... stuff. What are we going to do with all this stuff? How are we going to fit into a smaller house? What do we get rid of? What do we move? What do we store? How do we find time?

How does it happen that we ended up with a house overflowing with stuff?

This past weekend illustrates how busy-ness intersects with stuff collection. Though we had a very busy weekend planned, I was determined I was going to sort through at least one closet. Probably, I figured, 50 percent of what we have in closets and drawers can be thrown out, and once we get rid of that stuff, we'll be clearer on how to deal with the rest of the stuff.

However, the weekend involved non-stop running. On Saturday, Sophie had to be taken to dance rehearsal, I had a picture that had to be reframed, Sophie needed a last-minute purchase for her dance performance, which involved time in a very crowded mall, I had to bake brownies and stuff cannolis for the performance, Roger had to clean out the garage (which he did, with Will's help), while Nick had to mow the lawn. The boys had baseball team photos in Catonsville. Will had a guitar lesson. The boys had a baseball game. Sophie had to be dropped off two hours ahead of her performance. I had to get showered and changed for the performance. By the time 7 p.m. rolled around, no decluttering had happened.

On Sunday, we had worship services and photos to shoot for the Washington Post, which made the day somewhat less hectic. Bill came over to talk to us about house rentals. I went to my Quaker writing group and then out with my friend Alice. I was able to clean my closet a little bit. But as usual, junk got stuffed away so the house would look neat.

I think the busy-ness of our lives drives the clutter accumulation. There's no time to deal with stuff so it gets stuffed away. And there it lingers, waiting for the magic moment that never comes.

Until it comes. And then it's not so magical.


Anonymous said...

I can appreciate your situation, having recently moved myself. It is easy to feel oppressed by our possessions! At least I did. I felt very overwhelmed when I began the decluttering/packing process. I still had a breast pump and baby bottles in my kitchen (my children are 11 and 13)!!
What was to helpful to me was to everyday do *something* to prepare for moving, no matter how small, so I felt like some progress was being made. Most days I gathered up 3 containers: a white bag for Goodwill, a black trash bag for the dump, and a box to put away things I would take to the new house. I would just work in one spot, like a closet, at a time. It can be daunting, but after you make a little progress, you'll feel better and gain momentum.
We'll miss all of you! I am so excited for you though, it sounds like a wonderful opportunity.

Diane said...

Thanks for the advice!

And now I think I know who you are!

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to be secretive or weird by posting "anonymous"! It was just the only option on the screen that I tech-ignorant as I am, it is a minor miracle that I able (finally) to figure out how to post. I hope you will continue your blogging in Barnesville. I plan on getting a lot of vicarious pleasure out of your adventure. I understand how hard it must be to leave home and go to such a new and different place. Personally, I would not be so brave in following a leading. I don't have that much faith, I am sorry to say. I don't mean to make it sound like you are jumping off a cliff, just that I am an especially nervous person! It sounds like a great opportunity for your whole family.