No Island is an Island. Oh wait.

This morning I was surveying my jumbled bedroom--tattery quilts, improvised window coverings, listing shelving-- and thought: I just need to get rid of all of my stuff.
I then immediately thought: and then I can get all new, better stuff, that I will keep nice and take care of forever!
Then I laughed out loud and my husband thought, probably, "she's a loonie."

So today I've been thinking about stuff. I have a ton of it and I don't like to throw any of it away, but if you sat me in an empty room with a notebook and forced me to write down everything I own I probably would draw a complete blank: uhhh, lots of books?

There's something in the socio-cultural air right at this moment-- a post-recession urge to purge. Our voracious appetite for cheap credit for cheap crap got us into this economic mess-- maybe craftmanship, quality and austerity can pull us from the mire. Can you live in a smaller house? Get rid of your car? Quit your job? Have no-impact? Quick, hold your breath, no carbon emissions!

The simplifying dogma is so appealing-- so monkish and holistic. Eat simply, speak simply, go about your daily chores (plucking herbs in the garden, baking bread) in a state of quiet contentment. Free yourself from attachment to all that Stuff, and soar!

We're gorged with garbage. But how do you unstuck the bottleneck without being completely wasteful? My competing impulses battled just a minute ago: I bought (suddenly embarrassed to admit it) two bottles of agave nectar at Costco. They were yoked together with a neat little collar with "pry tabs." (I pondered the "pry tabs." Someone with a poetic bent gets to name bits of packaging.)

But the neat little collar is not recyclable. So do I embrace simplicity and tidiness and chuck it in the garbage? Sounds good! Except, we live on a tiny island and our dump is full. Everything I put in my garbage can will languish in our over-full island dump for the rest of eternity. I can't cope with that guilt!

Or do I keep it? I held it up to my eyes. Add some feathers, some glue...It could be a cool little owlish mask. A potential craft activity? I start feeling a little crazy, debating with myself in front of the garbage can. The thing is now sitting in my "deal with this" pile, which also includes a handful of sprouting potatoes (plant them!) a cork (make a corkboard!) reciepts (enter them!), a plastic pie cover (christmas wreath!) and about 34 wooden laundry clips.


  1. :)

    It is like you tore these thoughts from my mind.

    And the funny thing is, as we prepare to move again we are talking about getting into someplace smaller because we just fill all this space with crap. But then I think, WAIT! We need space for my SANITY! and so I can fill it with CRAP I don't need...


  2. I've been selling stuff on ebay and getting good results. I inherited 2 big boxes of scores that I know I'll never look at and have made about $200 so far. I've decided to sell our way back to clarity and it seems to be working! By the way, my ebay seller name is "collectedwits"--how no one else thought of that one till now is a mystery to me.
    As far as the junky, crafty bits...maybe one big contained bin could be dedicated to it. And then you could do a huge art installation out of all of it once a year!

  3. For years when we were raising the children and we were always "planning to build the permanent house"....I saved STUFF....most of my furniture were other's throw aways or what I'd find sitting on the road for the garbage I have a storage unit that I MUST go through...and WEED OUT THAT STUFF IRENE!!!!! that is my new years resolution. NO STORAGE UNIT. thanks for this encouragement. aloha, mama irene


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