Okay. So it's been a fairly stressful and busy month. We could go into the gritty, gross and icky (yes, I'm aware of the redundancy, but I don't care) details, buy frankly I don't want to. I'm sick of the details, the drama and the not fun parts of being human. I'm not saying that the difficult bits should be completely ignored, but I am saying that we should all get breaks from dealing with them. Agreed?
I recently read It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. It's a fun, fluffy little book about organization and living happily with less stuff. Basically it's a case against mass consumption, buying things just because they're on sale, and holding on to worthless junk just because you 'might need it someday'. And while the book did at times feel like it was trying too hard to be cool it did get me thinking about my own collection of stuff.
I will easily admit that I have been guilty of "collecting" things I don't need. The book calls this hoarding, but I think it's such a negative way to say it. It's sort of like saying "I'm on an eating plan" as opposed to "I'm on a diet". So much nicer. Anyway, I've taken steps this last year to be kinder to my wallet, the planet and my closet by just not "collecting" so much junk. However, I will say that when I left Oregon I couldn't part with it all so whatever I didn't sell when straight to the storage unit. Into it I crammed furniture, a fair amount of clothing, every paper I wrote in college, cat toys, shoes I have never worn, photos of people from college whose names I can't recall, pop-culture kitchen items and books I have never read and do not intend to read in addition to an astonishing collection of what can only be referred to as "useless shit". The important things are there too, it's just hard to locate them among all the other stuff.
Most of my stuff is there, while very few things made it into my car when I left. I wanted to lighten up my life, be free, carry less stuff, live more with less, blah, blah, blah... But I am glad I left with so little because it has made it easy to be mobile and it's been kind of fun to know that I really can be okay with less. Clothes, gear, a small box of books, a moderately sized box of shoes, a collection of CDs, some bedding and my laptop are the main things that followed me when I left Oregon on that day in June.
But somehow my collection has grown over the last few months. Books, shoes, clothes, gear--it's all multiplied, exploding out of the shelves and boxes that have been trying to contain it all. It's been a bit overwhelming, for lack of a better term. So since I was preoccupied with worrying about taxes, friends, relationships, the price of gas, my jobs, my writing, my family, US politics and how I was going to get that stain out of my sweater, I decided to take that nervous energy and put it to good use. I headed to my room, opened a box and began to toss things out.
First it was a pair of light hiking shoes that I never wear because they give me blisters. Throwing them out was simple enough. Then I sorted all of my work out/rafting/hiking clothing on the bed and decided just how many tank tops, shorts and cotton tee shirts I really needed, then threw the ones I didn't want/need into a pile to go to donation. Then, just for kicks, I went through my bag of gear and paired that back down. Then it was the sock and underwear drawer, the office box, the camping/kitchen box and finally that mysterious none-of-the-above box. When it was over, two cardboard boxes were full in addition to two grocery sacks of trash. I purged and it felt great. Fabulous even.
And what's more, my problems seemed to sort themselves out, too, letting go of what didn't matter and reorganizing what did. Purging, as it turns out, is very therapeutic.