Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Cleaning is in the Air

From Zen Habits:

When Gandhi died, he had less than ten possessions including a watch, spectacles, sandals and eating bowl. He was a man of non-possession and didn’t even possess a house.
“You may have occasion to possess or use material things, but the secret of life lies in never missing them.” ~Gandhi
I have never been one to collect things or hoard, at least that is my perception of myself.  Time and time again, I find myself overwhelmed with stuff.  Something doesn't match here.  Am I minimalist or not?  Can't pretend to be one.  lol.

When I was a child, all of my toys could fit into a small suitcase.  Kids today have enough to fill a toy shop.

When I was 22 and had just given birth to my daughter, all I owned was the clothes on my back and a purse and a old 4 poster bed stored at my parents.  My mother gave me a couch, a sewing machine in a table and two chairs.  That is all I had for several years.  I had 2 place settings, a skillet and a pot to cook in.  My tiny kitchen had empty drawers and cabinets.  All my clothes fit into one drawer, my daughters in another.  I didn't have a TV or stereo (and certainly not the CDs, DVDs, surround sound, players, computers, printers...gadgets we have now).  I saved up to buy a radio because I didn't have a credit card.  Such a simple life back then, I was happy.  I lacked nothing, I had what I needed.  I read a lot and spent time with my daughter.  I walked everywhere....some times miles and miles.  I was healthier then too.  I think I was the only woman in the city back then that had an old fashioned baby buggy with a real baby in it!  We covered the waterfront!  lol.

When I ran away from my first husband, I was right back to having the clothes on my back, a purse and whatever jewelery I could stuff in my pockets before leaving.  Started all over again.  Life was down to the essentials.

Seems I have a theme going on here.  It looks like it's going to happen again in just a few years.  We will pack a handful of boxes of prized possessions to mail, that will be it.  We will start life over AGAIN with nearly nothing.  I am looking forward to it!  I think of the pick up a suitcase and LEAVE......nothing to drag and weigh me down.

In-between those times, I gathered stuff.  I am a sucker for tiny things I find in thrift shops.  I am not poor by any means, but the thrill of finding something unique in this homogenized work keeps me on the hunt.  When we sold our house this time last year, I sold and gave away so much stuff it nearly killed me with exhaustion.  I packed and packed and packed.  Where did all this stuff come from?  80% of it was rarely touched or used.  We might need it sometime was always the excuse.  I guess coming from having nothing and the simplicity of it to having more than you know what to do with, it all seems so insane.  At least for me.

I will be on home time in a few days and what has occupied my mind on a nearly 24/7 basis ever since we moved into an apartment at the end of February was that I cannot STAND having so much stuff!  Boxes are lined against the walls because...we might use it some day? 

Living in the truck has brought back the EXTREME need for simplicity.  Everything on the truck has to be necessary and if it can have more than one function, all the better.  When I was unpacking for the apartment, I found that I could not stand opening all the kitchen boxes.  I have a dinner set for 12!  I will not be entertaining in the apartment.....why unpack it? It was like unpacking for a library with all the books we had between us.  Why?  We use to both love the library....why own all these books we read and put on a shelf?  I have a huge collection of vintage cookbooks I never cook from. 

The same thing with the doll stuff.  Oh, so much.  So many scales, things for a SD, for a MSD, tons of things for a Yo-SD, dollhouse scale, what is going on?  Re-ment, furniture, foods, clothes....even for dolls I no longer have!  And I continue to make clothing as though everyone was bare naked.  Sigh.....time to do some serious reassessment, I declare it is Spring Cleaning time!

All of this is leading up to my dolls and the changes that are going on there.  It's time to cut the cords to STUFF.  In order to do so, in order to bring it all down to the essentials, I will take it step by step.  The first thing I want to do is divvy every single dolly item I have to each doll. I want to see what each actually has and if I can cut that down to essentials for them.  I am going to rely completely on how I feel as I go.  Whom among my companions is essential?  Who would be the companion(s) my heart cannot live without?

More to come...

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