Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ON FUN ~ Why My Bumble Isn't On Freecycle...

Image courtesy puuikibeach via Flickr

At the age of 45, writer Regina Brett wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer listing 45 lessons that life had taught her thus far. As a breast cancer survivor, many of those lessons were learned the hard way. Five years later she added five more lessons rounding her list up to 50 and turned her popular list into a book called God Never Blinks. I found her list to be entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking. I thought I would go through each of her lessons learned and write about how that lesson has or has not come up in my own life, now that I am 40 and feel old enough to have finally learned something.

"Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful."
~ LESSON #42

As a reformed pack rat, I agree that what you surround yourself with has an impact on your attitude. Long before there was the official term hoarder and TV shows about the syndrome, people like myself were just considered overly sentimental, lazy or without discerning taste. We hung on to every token and memento. Even if we pressed them into notebooks and albums it wasn't good enough. Scrapbooking wasn't an official cool hobby to have and there wasn't an industry of supplies to support it. We were just junk collectors.

I must say, the digital age makes it easier to trim down the clutter. But there is still something to be said for discovering an old shoebox of stuff and flipping through the memories in your hand. A box of joy like that is OK to keep. Seven years of old phone books is not. The key to not being a hoarder is to stop bringing the crap home to begin with. Just because it is on sale or free does not mean it is necessary. Freecycle tests me on this every day. I can't tell you how many bizarre things I try to rationalize owning just because they are free for the taking.

With a house free of the junk I used to gather and my joyful collections organized and in their place I have a less stressful environment in which to live. I kick Andy's crap into a corner and give him the stink eye every now and then. When two pack rats marry each other, something's gotta give. My brave concession was difficult to make but very liberating. Lucky for Andy he is useful, attractive and a source of joy for me. Otherwise I might get carried away during one of my junk clearing modes and list him on Freecycle too.

9 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have no problem purging, if I can just get to it. Until then, yes, things do accumulate...

kaye said...

lucky for Andy *wink, wink* I like to throw things out--but I still have a bunch of non useful stuff stacked in bins and such.

Margot said...

I know this sin all too well. When we decided to retire in an RV it was obvious that some stuff had to be stored but that a ton of it would have to go. I'm still embarrassed by the boxes and boxes of STUFF we had been hauling around for decades. Very good advice here. Wish I had taken the advice in my thirties instead of my sixties before it became a painful job.

Julie said...

I have a problem with "collecting" things... mostly books.
I feel like I can't pass up a book sale because, well, books are a beautiful thing!
Unfortunately we have no room for anything more in our house, we have no room for what we HAVE already. I passed the library annual book sale today and didn't go in... but there's still three days left. ACK!

Beth F said...

I feel for you. We're two packrats too. It's horrible (and fun). I try not to read freecycle but there are so many cool things people are giving away.

Susan said...

Oh, lordy! I have to stop bringing home books! Goodwill is evil! Now I use the excuse that I have to buy books for my MIL now that she's unable to go to the library. I need to read more and compute less. Then I can purge the shelves.

Lin said...

OMG! I just joined Freecycle to just get rid of crap!! I hope you don't see my ads and add to your collection! hee! hee!

boliyou said...

I do love me some Freecycle. It's not just a great way to get stuff you have a use for, it's a great way to purge without useable items going into a landfill (can you tell I'm my city's moderator?). :)

stacybuckeye said...

I'm a total pack rat, but lucky for me and my marriage, Jason is not. We were moving every two years for awhile but now we've been in this house for 7 years and I shudder to think of moving again. Purging does make me feel good though. I've gotten very good at keeping my closets cleaned out.