Tuesday, March 26, 2013


My husband is a big George Carlin fan. He used to have a poster of all the dirty words you can't say on TV (or something).  He gave it away when he moved in with me. Ahem.

Anyway, one of Carlin's great bits was about stuff. And how Americans have lots and lots of it.

I thought of it because I just cleaned out a closet and filled over 5 large bags to throw out or give away of stuff, and yet the closet is still full. What is all this stuff?!

Christmas stuff.  Birthday party coming up stuff.  Kids' stuff: Shoes to grow in to. Snow boots they will probably grow out of before next winter. Out of season clothing. Clothing to grow in to. Clothing I can't bear to part with because the kids wore it when they first came home.

Stuff we don't know what to do with now that everything is digital: CDs, DVDs, old computer files. Boxes of college mementos. Boxes of high school mementos. Boxes of grade school mementos. Every time we move or have kids or I just can't stand the state of the closets I go through the boxes and throw out things. The mementos get more carefully curated and the boxes condensed. But still they fill up our (3, only 3) closets. And every week the kids come home with pictures and paintings and cards and notebooks... do I start boxes of mementos for them? Ohmygoodness!

Ever go on vacation for a while and live out of suitcase, then come home and wonder why you own all these things? Ever dig through a box of out of season clothes and wonder why you ever go shopping?  It is just me?

I think of how much stuff we own, and then I think of how much stuff our Ethiopian family owns.  Now, granted, they don't have much need for snow boots. But still. They own less objects and clothing than can be counted on two hands. We own more objects than we really have room for in our small apartment.

So I've been trying to get rid of things. In the past few weeks I've gone through our drawers and closets, our cabinets and cupboards and I've filled bags upon bags of stuff.  I've donated it, left it out on the curb for some enterprising person to make use of (I love the informal NYC recycling system!).  I've brought things to work. I've given things to Lily's day care. Every time I bring a bag out of my house I feel lighter.

I want to get to a Zen (or Zen-ish) place with this stuff. I want to have a Zen-ish home. I once read or heard a rule that everything in your home should be useful or beautiful or both. We're working towards that... but oh boy, do we have a long way to go...

This is the Before. The After is coming soon...

1 comment:

  1. I'm feeling this way for sure, we have a decent sized apartment for a couple, but we've really got a lot of stuff. We've decided to stay in this apartment for another year or so as we welcome our first child into the family and we've got a LOT of clearing-out to do before that happens!


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