Sunday, September 09, 2007

Letting Go of Possessions

Yesterday, the yard sale to end all yardsales happened at the home of Betty and Delma, who have been trying to de-clutter their home of all sorts of things for months. It was a multiple family sale, and Tracey, Angela and Annette and others participated. Including me! I had several full bins of "stuff" from a few weeks ago, when Barbara and I purged my closets and organized stuff in the family room. An odd assortment it was, clothing that I have not worn since moving here (old T-shirts, "mom" jeans, some clothing that simply doesn't fit or was kind of worn down, and odd accessories like a lot of the rhinestone jewelry that was such a part of my party-going self in the 80's and early 90's).

So it was all lugged to Betty and Delma's. I set my alarm for 5 AM, got up but moved so slowly that I did not get there until a few minutes after 7 AM when the early bird crowds were already descending! I got my stuff kind of spread out, trying to price things (I am terrible at this part, how do you assign a price to something you paid a lot for, but never use and probably never will?).

One of the funnier items in my "collection" was a bunch of miniature perfume bottles which I had collected for maybe ten years. The perfume reeked, but the bottles were cute. I priced them at $.25 each and they were the first items to go. How many years did I dust those little bottles and re-arrange them on the Waterford tray? This was all pre-kid, and I haven't even had them unpacked for over five years. So letting them go was easy.

I had a lot of those "moments" yesterday, looking at possessions that had been a big deal to me at some point of my life, and now were just stuff, taking up valuable space in my storage-challenged house. T-shirts from events, like Passport, Academy of Friends and the first International AIDS conference I attended in 1998. That sort of thing. All mattered a lot at one time, but I still have the memories and the shirts and clutter really weren't adding anything of value to my life.

I have had a lot of thoughts lately about the disposing of possessions. Things I truly valued or loved, I hope to share with others who might appreciate them, and I would like in some cases to pass them along sooner, rather than later, in my life. Other things have simply ceased to matter so much. I had an unnatural attachment to a pair of very fancy and very expensive high heels that I purchased some time in the late 80's I am guessing. I haven't had them on my feet in over a decade, I don't think. But I moved them across the country for some reason. I tried those on and the effort caused actual pain...could not even get my foot comfortably in the shoe. So that was an easy decision!!!

Things. We want them, we seek them, we buy them and later, we change or grow tired of them. They seem to matter so much in the acquisition stage, but later, they are just "stuff" to pack and unpack. I am not living a simplified hermit life, far from it. But I am happier these days with less clutter, less stuff, surrounded by things that matter. There is still too much clutter in my house, but I am working on it, slowly but surely. Who will I be when I finish shedding it all? Probably the same person, but without the two "designer and collectible" Barbies I have carried around for years, meaning to sell them on e-Bay. And without the jewelry that I never wear, I am still the same person, right?

At the end of the sale period, Kim and Tracey loaded a lot of stuff into Kim's truck and she took it to Goodwill. I tried to be very rigid and did not pack up much of the stuff I brought, donating all the leftover clothing, jewelry, whatevers and keeping only the new in box Barbie, some Waterford items I will give to friends and those darn dishes that I have carried from place to place since 1985. Those are either going on Craig's list or to Replacements.

After all was said and done yesterday, I had about $75.00 in my pockets (much of it in ones and quarters) and I had done a trade with one friend. She needed the old stereo/DVD player for her massage studio, I need the massage! So that one was easy. I cannot bring myself to charge money for stuff for friends, that just seems wrong!

Committed to not re-acquiring, I did pretty well, only getting a few Beanie Baby stuffed animals (4) for Sofie. I spend $1.00 of my earnings. Sofie doesn't need them, of course, but was thrilled to have more creatures for her collections.

If I had more time (who doesn't use that refrain?) I would be scrap booking or organizing photographs from the past five years into a great book for Sofie. This is on the "to do" list for when I am actually on disability or have finished with the idea of going to work. Not now, but hopefully at some point, I will simply shift my focus and do all the little projects I keep thinking of. My stuff is not what I want to leave to my daughter (or anyone, for that matter!). It is the essence of me, my life and experiences, that I want to figure out how to share, preserve and leave for her to have forever.

Yardsaling was tiring, but fun. It is no way to make a living, that is for sure, but it was good to get that stuff gone. I went home, crawled into bed and took a three hour nap.


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