Occasional Detours Ahead

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My blog is taking different directions for a while. I'll be posting about Blue Collar & fun at the Markets but there will be some very personal posts once in a while. This might be the time for you to seek the door with the lighted, red EXIT sign.  or go out for some popcorn for a couple of weeks. I need to purge and I need to write about it. Not for you, but for me. The Muse is upon me and I think I’m channeling Erma Bombeck. Don't I wish. It may end up sounding more like Stephen King meets Sigmund Freud. Frightening and disturbing.

The problem with climbing out of my occasional bouts of ennui is that I usually go to the other extreme- giddy with dozens of ideas for projects I want (or need) to do. Manic? Maybe, but I choose not to go there.. This time it's different. I need a major change. The wheels are turning and I'm not moving. I’ve come to to the realization that I must do something about all the stuff in this house. I’m overwhelmed. It’s stifling. Neither Neicy, from ‘Clean House' or the crew from ‘Hoarders’ have knocked on the door yet but…..it’s time for some changes before they do.

A former daughter-in-law once commented that when I died, she’d simply hang a sign

on my front door and let people think it was a gift shop. It would be sold out in no time. Incidentally, that comment has no bearing on the fact that she eventually became a FORMER daughter-in law. I still like her a lot.) She was teasing me and while I was amused at her comment, I knew it really was true. I was a stuffaholic. Stuff was my drug of choice.

When Pat was fishing in Alaska, the money was very, very good and I learned very, very quickly from the other fishermen's wives about retail therapy. We stayed home and ran the house for three to five months at a time with no husbands around to deal with problem plumbing or flat tires. We helped each other. We did lunch. and we Shopped. 

We even had a mantra.

 I want it. I need it. I deserve it. 

 I bought stuff. Stuff for the house. I decorated. I painted and wallpapered and accessorized. The house was stuffed with stuff. It still is. The same stuff and more. Those days are gone and the stuff has got to go.

The woman I was then is not who I am now.

My life has turned upside down since Pat died in 2007. So many changes. Every minute of my life is totally different from the way we were. Forty-two years of us funneled down to me – alone. What have I learned? What do I know for sure?  One thing: You can cherish the past but you can’t live there. Moving On. I won’t purge the memories. Must I get rid of that lovely big menu from that wonderful dinner at Thirteen Coins? It’s mounted on my wall. I smile when I see it. Do I need to see it to remember how I felt when he asked the waiter for it - as a memento for me? I’m not sure. I just know I can’t keep living in a house so filled with stuff.
I do know thisis not the answer.
Oh, I've tried to purge before but never very successfully. I always found more reasons not to get rid of the stuff. Sentimental, economical- always some excuse for putting stuff in a detail labelled tote and putting it in the garage. This time I want to analyze WHY I've needed to keep all this stuff and what mind-set I have to acheive to be able to let go of  it. It's become a burden and I'm sinking under it's weight.

To be sure, I am NOT wiping Pat and those 42 years from my life. I have a house full of THINGS that I don't (and probably never did) need but I seem can't get rid of them. I paid good money for them. It wold be a waste. So many excuses, so many things, so little room left.

I'm going on a journey. It will take time and planning. I found a good road map.  The Wastefulness of Decluttering; or How to Make Less Count for More. Leo Babauta's article begins with  this quote:

It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.’ ~Bertrand Russell

 and ends with this one

‘Don’t water your weeds.’ ~Harvey MacKay

with lots of good advice in between the two. It's short, sweet and well worth reading, if you're interested.
<---------------- Zen Habits is where I stumbled across it.

to be continued...



Packrat said...

Okay. Bluntness here. Just don't get in a huge hurry and be sorry later. Decorate and display and then box up what you don't want to get rid of right now. No one else can tell you how to purge stuff from your house.

I've read many articles about decluttering and weeding out and getting rid of stuff. Quite frankly, for various reasons the authors made me furious. I'm a hoarder, too. I'm proud of it.

BevB said...

You are so right. (and I always like seeing your advice- not bluntness- just honesty) Believe me,I am proceeding thoughtfully. I'm thinking along the lines of: If I don't NEED it or LOVE it, why should it be taking up MY space?"

Packrat said...

Now, that is an attitude I can live with. :) Sometimes though, the things we don't need or love were given to us by a family member. In my family, I have to really careful not to hurt anyone's feelings.

adozeneggs said...

Aw honey, sorry I've been away from blog land for a while. I seem to always have other things to do at night when I used to stay up until 1am reading and commenting. I may have taken some of my readers for granted.
Anyway, I think it's great to purge. I constantly purge, having grown up in an overly neat and clutter free house, it just comes naturally. But i can understand the feeling of wanting to keep stuff.
I've helped my hoarder MIL purge a couple of times and it's very difficult usually ending with her stomping her feet and crying. I hope you're not that far gone. If you want any advice let me know. For starters you should start small, then work your way through your house. And by small I mean, just a desk, or a dresser, then move to closets, then entire rooms.
Good luck to you and I swear I'll come around more often!!

Andrew's Mom said...

I've started to make piles for a yard sale myself. I have so much that I want or think some day I'll need. It helps bury all the frustration in my life. Onward and upward.

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