Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Need Your Input!

Maybe I'm feeling a certain way because I'm under the weather with a seasonal allergy that gives every indication of quickly turning into a full-blown sinus infection.

You know how it goes. The headache day after day, eyes sensitive to light, dizzy when you tilt your head, sneezing, throat ache, body aches, out of body experience (I wish! lol).

So anyway. I don't know if I'm merely feeling funky or at some bizarre mid-life crisis thing?

But for the last year, I've struggled with the concept of minimalism. You know - frugal, basic living. Ridding myself of STUFF: clutter, figurines, knick-knacks, excess furniture, dishes, bowls, cookware, yard crap, old books I've collected, vintage jewelry, Christmas collectibles and on and on and on.

I don't know if I'm just feeling my age/mortality (okay, it IS only a sinus bug!) ... or is something deeper at work - an inner dissatisfaction simmering under the surface?

Mind you, I'm not remotely what you'd call a hoarder. If anything, I'm a very tidy, organized individual. A typical Virgo you might say, with a place for everything and everything in its place.

Still though, I'm feeling overwhelmed these days. My place is small and I've (once again) acquired more than I'm comfortable with.

My question is this: Do you ever REALLY feel the urge to chuck at least half of what you've got? Do you guys ever feel practically burdened by having to move stuff, clean stuff, shift stuff around, rearrange stuff, pack up stuff, sort stuff, and so on?
Have you ever seriously considered downsizing your home, your life - to take a hard-nosed no-nonsense look at what's really worth keeping as opposed to what you've gotten into the habit of holding onto?

Do you get tired of being a 'consumer'? Of bringing MORE stuff into your home?

I dunno. Maybe it's just my current mood.

But on the other hand, consider the following:

1) You can't take your stuff with you, whenever that time comes. My kids don't really share my taste in old, vintage antique crap. They don't start drooling over a 1960 Mid-Century Modern pole lamp. Actually, I think they'd rather p*ss glass than have to deal with any of my collectibles down the road. So who am I holding onto all this for? Me, I guess. But is this really what my life's all about? Stuff?

2) Is the economy going to worsen? If so, would I be better to try and sell off the excess and get while the getting's good? Because the sad truth of the matter is that no matter WHAT the fair market value of any item supposedly is, it's only true worth is what someone is willing to pay.

Furthermore, I have these altruistic fantasies. Like working in a soup kitchen. Except we're a small town, I'm somewhat disabled, and there's not too much I can find/am physically able to do in that regard. But I'm sincerely feeling the desire to pay it forward - somehow.

This sounds totally ludicrous, but when reading literature from the early 20Th century, I'm always envious of those adventurous characters who backpacked or bicycled across Europe in the those days. Paying their way via odd jobs and seeing the world via the back roads of small hamlets and villages, farms and vineyards. Can you imagine?!

Even a decade ago when I was still somewhat able to walk my brains out, I had the inner desire to put my life on hold and set off across the US. Not by car, you understand. But by foot, with all my simple needs carried on my back. Just to do it, to have that experience. (In all honesty, I probably would've made it 40 miles, gotten a blister and decided to chuck the whole goofy idea for a hot bath and civilization lol).

So that's what I mean. Am I just being silly, or moody, or is something vital seeking expression? The way I feel right now, 2/3rds of what I own could go bye bye for all I care. Maybe my system's low on chocolate (egad!)~

What about you guys? Ever feel like this? And if so, what do you do about it?


  1. I wouldn't worry about your children if I were you.
    As long as you enjoy the stuff around you, you should't throw it out because you think your children won't want to do anything with it when you're gone.
    1- it would surprise you what they'd love to keep to remember you
    2 - if they don't want it, they are capable of throwing it out themselves just as well

    I myself just recently had to move and therefor downsize on the clutter. I had these two questions for myself:

    - Am I ever going to use it again?
    - Does it have a sentimental value of any kind?

    If both questions could be answered with no it went out if I answered one question with yes it stayed.

    hope this helps.

  2. @McPig - you made two very wise criterias for choosing what to keep vs what to dispose of! And that does help, it simplifies things certainly.

    Part of my problem is that I'm sentimental about the the 50's and 60's for the way that time (retroactively, of course lol) makes me feel. So I'm always trying to recapture that feeling via objects.

    I think?! ;D

    It's weird what the kids have expressed an interest in so far. For example, my grown daughter wanted the super-sized old Tupperware container I always used for Chex Mix lol. Or mom's old crock-pot that had one of the rare heavy glass tops.

    Isn't that funny?! It's never the things you think they'd want lol

  3. Well, a super sized Chex-Mix bowl is pretty hard to come by, so I'd say their reasoning is sound. Plus, maybe it reminds her of the times that y'all made chex-mix; i.e. holidays and special occasions?
    I understand completely what you are talking about. I go a little nuts once or twice a year and just throw stuff away. I cannot STAND being surounded by STUFF! In fact, this past whenever it was, I finally went through all my old drawings and sketches from me youth, about 20lb of paper and crud that I've been dragging around for the last decade and a half, and got rid of a lot of it. I innitially felt kind of bad. I mean, innitially innitially I felt good at having gotten rid of so much ballast, but then I thought, "What have I done?! Those were quite literally irreplacable!" Then I realized, "Well, just because they're irreplacable doesn't mean they're actually worth anything." I mean, it's not like I go through those stacks and stacks of old pictures of rainbows and clowns and say, "Ah, those were the days!" Mostly they just sat under my bed and collected dust. So anyway! I cut it down by about half, chucking stuff that was lame or that I couldn't rememeber, and in the process, I actually found some pretty good stuff that I didn't even remember having drawn! Like, there were some oil pastels jobs that were actually pretty good!
    So yeah, I hear you when you say you can't stand the clutter. I'd say materialism is one of my biggest flaws, but it's also one of the easiest to fight because I LOVE throwing stuff I don't need away. It brings me great joy to rid my life of stuff that will only weigh me down and to ask myself what it is that I really need. :)

  4. Ballast! That is a PERFECT word to describe what it feels like!!! BTW - you never mentioned that you were an artist as well, post some of those pastels if you get the chance - I'd love to see 'em!
    We're all decently artistic in my family as well, but I haven't had the interest in painting/sketching in like 4ever :O Now, photography is catching me old fleeting noggin'- and I can't wait to get some wonderfully creepy pix of the woods around this joint once the leaves have finished falling.
    Back on track tho. I'm not sure if it's a touch of OCD thrown into the mix as well, but giving in to the *urge to purge* crap feels soooooo good! Right now I've got 4 lots of stuff listed on Craiglist, really neat vintage Christmas bling. But all I'm getting is spam thus far :(

    And I hate how it costs so much to list on ebay, between all the listing fees, final value fees, paypal fees!!! Jeeeeez - plus the headache of crabby people. And then you can't get squat at a rummage sale. So I dunno what to do, put I'm too cheap to pitch out the good stuff lol

  5. I know what you mean about being to cheap to throw certain things away, and some stuff you just can't anyway! Like my old CDs. I never listen to them. Never load 'em into ye olde stereo for a reminiscent session. Heck, I never even look at them! That's what MP3s are for! But I can't just get rid of them because a) CDs are actually worth something, unlike most of the detritus that cumulates under my bed, and b) my parents gave me every single one of those and it seems almost like a betrayal or a slight to get rid of a collection that cost a few hundred dollars at least. What to do, what to do. I’ve been considering selling them online for $5 a pop, but like you said, that could easily wind up costing more than I could ever hope to make off the whole endeavor.*Le sigh*
    I’ll post some pics of my “art”, but just for you! I’m really no judge of whether something is actually good or not, but I thought they were all right. The most shocking thing I found in all that old stuff was a collection of semi creepy anime. I have no memory of having gone through an anime phase, but my John Hancock in the bottom corner assures that I did. xD
    BTW, are you ready for this weekend’s M.A.D. C? I must apologize for having the last week or two, but you have no idea how swamped I was! I’m not even going to go into it. I’ll just say that my email was the only thing I had time to check. Anyhoo! I’ll give you a hint as to what I chose: Beatle’s Mania. ;)

  6. Ooooer, my word verification word was STABS. Stabs what? Stabs who? Creepy. :\
    Had to tell you that. :)
    Anyhoo! I'll only avail you of my presence for a little while longer! I don't think you're abnormal for wanting walk across country; my sister wanted to be a Victorian Lady Adventuress! Obviously there are a few flies in the ointment for that plan, such as: the Victorian era has passed, we don't live anywhere "adventurey," and she doesn't have a bottomless dowry to draw upon for all of the expenses an expedition can accrue.
    I used to want to raft down Yukon River in Alaska. Wait, no, I still want to do that. I want to build a raft out of those blue water retention kegs that people put under gutters with a little shack/house on top and go from the mouth of the river all the way to the Bering Sea. You have to go during the summer so you et caught up in too much ice and it’s really hard and sorta dangerous, but I always thought it would be really fun. Like a real adventure. :) The only problem with that plan is the possibilty of running into a creepy mountain man or two. :\ (I consider that to be a dragon in the ointment)

  7. Ooooh - I love you and your sister's fantasy adventures!!!!! Me thinks I spent too much of my (not nearly enough) misspent youth mooning over old Gothic/Barbara Cartland paperbacks LOL

    And honestly, if my back weren't so messed up - I'd be with ya ZG on the rafting thing. Together we could surely overcome (or die horribly)any suspect mountain men we'd chance upon. ;D

    Seriously, I am LOSING MY MIND with all the stuff I've gotta get done in the next ... let me figure it out ...EIGHT (8) days (daze). And I've also committed to help a good friend paint the inside of his new home. And here I am, reading my best blogs and trying to win a few scary books whilst I'm at it.

    Honest to goodness, I swear I will get my committments taken care of and be BACK ON GROOVE per the challenge. Say, you are a beautiful writer. Would you ever be interested in doing a guestpost for me on my site? After the first of the year, mayhaps?

    There's just so much I need/want to do right now and I don't dare take on any further obligations because I'd feel horrible to not be able to follow thru.

    We'll have to chat about our fantasy adventures in depth sometime; I'm also wanting to build my own tiny cottage out of river rock & stone lol
    And with a bad back, no less :P

  8. I would be honoured (ooh, fancy!) to write a guest post for your delightful blog! Fist of the year sounds splendiferous! Maybe I'll write about New Years resolutions. Or maybe not. Who knows!
    BTW, a river rock cottage sounds be-u-ti-ful! I would gladly do the heavy lifting for you!
    I know what you mean about having too many commitments. Catechism on Sundays, and that takes all week to prepare for; finance class on Thurs, though it's quite enjoyable (Ever heard of Dave Ramsey's University of Financial Peace? Highly recommended); liturgy class on Weds, this starts next week and I'm really looking forward to it because it will get me on the road toward becoming a certified catechist (YAY!); PLUS all the usual hullaballoo, cook, clean, work, gym, etc., etc., times infinity. Oh, and I signed up for NaNoWriMo in Nov! I'll be spending all my "free time" next month writing a novel! You should sign up, M. It's great incentive to sit down and get something written, which I need as I am a consumate procrastinator. Seriously, I put the "pro" in procrastinate, and if that's an incorrect spelling, than call Webster because they need to change it. Anyhoo! It sounds like fun, you should do it! Maybe one day, when you're a Best Seller, you can look back and say, "Boy, I'm glad I listened to ZG!" ;) And I'll put you in my acknowledgements! Let's see, "I'd like to thank God, without Whom I wouldn't exist; my parents, all due respect and love etc; and all my M.A.D. and marvelous blog friends for inspiring me to let my inner oddball meet my outer oddball, go out for coffee together, have a little con-fab, maybe call eachother in the dead of night, and write this book as a joint venture into insanity!"

  9. When I was young and single I vowed to collect only what I could fit into my car should the need to move arise. As I aged, married and kept a house I started collecting the normal household things.
    Two years ago I looked around and realized I had way to much stuff! I am not a hoarder either but some of the stuff I had was useless; I had drawers and closets full of old items. The urge to purge was strong. It took me several weeks and several trips to Good Will but I managed to get rid of a lot of stuff. I feel much better, though sometimes I do want to chuck a lot more.

  10. @ZG - You actually are quite a fluent writer! I could see you meeting the nano or mojo or whatever the Nov. writing challenge is called lol. Seriously though. When I get on blogger - for some bizarre, menopausal reason - my thought process and any resultant creativity comes to such a screeching halt that I'm certain my readers (all three of them) must think my blog is being ghost-written by the head of lettuce slowly rotting in the back of my frig.


    And I appreciate the help with lifting all those stupid stones. As soon as some deranged billionare gives me a nicely forested plot of land to erect on (that sounds dirty, doesn't it?!), I shall come calling for you help, forthwith! :D

    Hugs to you, you energetic little stinker!

    @Sari - LOL. I am RIGHT there with you. I swear to goodness, I am thiiiiiiiiis close to having the rummage sale from H*LL, then donating the rest. I really don't know if this is some kind of OCD thing, like the opposite of hoarding? Or if it's a *middle-aged* awareness creeping on? But I keep picturing myself cozily ensconced in a wee, tiny brick/rock/stone cottage surrounded by TONS of trees (am a real tree hugger here, vegan, the whole nature lover thing lol), flowers, with my basic needs met and pounding out novel after novel on my keyboard.