What is with our obsession to possess things? A better question is why do we hang onto things instead of letting go? Maybe this doesn't apply to you. Just me.
Books are my biggest problem. I love to read. I have to read, even if it's only a couple of paragraphs before I go to sleep. I have my favorite books, my "keepers". Then, there's the TBR pile. All those books I have yet to read. How did I get all those books that I haven't read? Many were free books. I remember my first writers' conference. Holy cow! They gave away books! There were books on our chairs in the dining room. There were books—free books, lots and lots of free books—in the Goody Room and in the publishers' suites. I couldn't resist. I've been to a lot of conferences since that first one. I'm more discriminate now about what I take. But still... Even if I read all day every day, it would take years to read all those books. But, wait. I don't just read a book once. I reread my favorites. I can't part with my favorites.
Consequently, my bookshelves overfloweth.
This doesn't just apply to books. DVDs. I love movies. Almost as much as books. At least, DVDs are smaller than VCR tapes. I had hundreds of those. Like books, I have my favorite movies. I'll buy a DVD of a movie I didn't get a chance to see when it came out. I'll buy a DVD of a movie I did see when it came out. Some movies I have to watch two or three times to "get" it—like Inception. I have "tunnel vision" while watching a movie. Somehow, my brain can't take in everything. While watching the main action, I often miss what's happening on the sidelines. Getting the DVD helps me see the whole picture. Besides, even with 700 channels (slight exaggeration) there are nights when there's nothing on TV so we'll watch a DVD.
Again, my shelves overfloweth. I know, I know. I could use the library and rent DVDs. But, I don't.
Then, there is paper. I'm often overwhelmed by the amount of paper in my life. I know the adage about handling a piece of paper only once. Hah. Easier said than done. I'm getting better but still... It's almost a cliché to say that computers were supposed to eliminate paper. Hah, again. Computers create more. What happens if the computer crashes? We have to have backups. I've heard too many stories from writers whose computer seized up and even the experts couldn't retrieve the contents. Or, worse, the backup drive (or memory stick) was corrupted. With a paper copy, at least the work isn't totally lost. And don't forget research. Copies of computer articles, newspaper clippings. The list goes on.
It's not just writing that creates paper. We're told to save anything related to our tax returns. Okay, but what about the closing papers on houses we've bought and sold? Paid utility bills, credit card receipts and statements? Letters and cards from family and friends? What's important and necessary? What's sentimental?
My file cabinets (note the plural) overfloweth.
Clothes. We hear all the time about how to manage our clothes. If I buy a new blouse, I should get rid of one. Yeah, right. How can I get rid of a perfectly good piece of clothing? Am I the only one who thinks I'll lose the weight and be able to wear that (fill in the blank—dress, slacks, shirt) again? I still have a dress from thirty years ago when I was at my smallest. Will I ever wear it again? Not in this lifetime. I'm saving it for my grandkids to play dress-up. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
My closets overfloweth.
When we lost two loved ones, we gained the contents of their condos. Lucky us. Yes and no. Both women were savers. They had some very nice (read, expensive) things. And they had junk, as in "I might be able to use that someday" stuff. At 102 and 100 when they died, they had a long time to accumulate things. Plus, they were hugely influenced by living through the Great Depression. Waste not, want not was the motto they lived by. Good advice, unless you're talking about plastic take-out containers and many times reused food storage bags. Those were the easy things to dispose of. It took two years before I could even deal with all their "stuff" that filled my garage, basement, and dining room. My children took what they wanted. Despite many pleas, I couldn't foist any more things on them. They were the smart ones. I did have a massive garage sale and donated a ton of stuff, but I still have way more dishes and kitchen equipment than I need. And don't get me started on cookbooks. Even my son, the chef, doesn't want any more of the ones I have.
As you can see, possessions are overwhelming me. Last week, I wrote about setting goals and making a plan of action on how to accomplish the goals. After I posted the blog, I followed my own advice. I picked the areas of my life that I want to change. I think living healthier (note, I didn't say just lose weight) will be easier than disposing of possessions.
But, I'm willing to make the effort. That's a start. A friend wrote on someone else's blog that she was going to purge her office. I thought what a great word. Purge. Totally expresses what I need to do with my bookshelves, file cabinets, closets, kitchen, basement, garage. That just sounds overwhelming. Taken in small doses, steadily through the year, it's doable. If I tell myself that enough times, maybe I'll believe it.