Monday, February 1, 2010

Where does all the stuff go?

I have been thinking about stuff all week. Not just because of my recent post where I define myself as an experience person, mildly persuaded to the stuff side on occasion, but mainly because we have to go through all of our stuff as we get ready to make our trans-continental (if you go by the 7 continent rule) move.

We decided, based on the quality (or lack thereof) of our stuff, that we are going to sell or get rid of most of it. I am not sure if this means we are lucky not to be stuff people, where we have stuff that is so nice we can’t bear not to send it, no matter the cost, or if we are unlucky, because though most of our stuff is hand-me-down crap, we have stuff and it is ours, and in a few months we won’t much stuff at all.

I am starting to go through boxes and files. I have piles like this, waiting to be shredded, recycled, given away.

We are taking some stuff, but mostly, it is useless. You can’t sleep on it and you can’t eat off of it. What we will take with us: books, cds, some toys, clothes, my bike, some tools, some kitchen items. Our friends down the street asked if we are taking our ladder. Honestly, we might, and not out of spite, my hubs is quite fond of it.

I talked to my little sister this morning. She said she was going through her memory box. We all have one, ironically they are all boxes that formerly held the likes of Johnny Walker and other distilled spirits; of course, this is only ironic if you know my mother. She can’t stand alcohol, yet she stored all of our childhood mementos in booze boxes. I think there is a message there.

My sister said that she felt like the box was kind of a burden, because she has to take it with her everywhere she goes. It is true; it is kind of a burden.

I have several boxes of photos and memories that must be hauled from house to house, city to city, and even country to country, if need be. It is the stuff your parents collected for you and then that you collect. It can’t be thrown away and can’t be kept at your parents because you are too old and because your parents don’t want to store it for you anyway.

They are boxes filled with things like this:

The sock monkey my mom made me when I was 4

The apron my mom made to hold my crayons while coloring

A very important manual on hibernation and migration

A stack of punishment papers, proof of the dreaded sentence-writing.
This one is 26-50 of 100: I will be respectful in family meetings.
I guess you can deduce that I wasn't.

…. These are things that I can’t bear to throw away.

I am also going through all of my academic stuff—boxes and boxes of articles. Some of them I will keep, but a lot of them I will get rid of.

If you want any articles on the Baroque, Neo-Baroque, Modernism, Post-Modernism, Colonial, or Post-Colonial… It is your moment! Speak now or forever hold your peace.

What? No takers.....?


mosey along said...

Wow.... you had to write sentences, you naughty girl. Every day I find new reasons to appreciate you even more than I do already!

And go digital on the archiving - take pictures or scan it all then you still have the memory but not the space-filler. Not that I've done it myself yet, but I have high hopes that you're more organized than I.

Eileen said...

oh, the dreaded stuff-going through. One day I will move more than up the street and will have to do the same. I wish I could weigh it all and know how much it weighed and then give myself credit for getting rid of stuff. Is that sick?

I hope your de-stuffing goes peacefully. When are we looking for you and your kin to arrive in our lovely city? I'm beyond words that you're bringing your bike. YAY! Sign me up for a pedal.

Good luck in the de-stuffing. And don't toss that memory box! (not that you would). Love your apron and sock monkey. So sweet!

senorateacher said...

Wow, you had to write sentences, too? My mother made me do the very same thing, along with the multiplication tables, ha ha.

Bex said...

I've read through your blog, and there are so many posts I wanted to comment on! Now I can't remember if I did or not, so if I'm repeating myself, forgive me :)

There were times, reading this, when I actually laughed out loud. And a few of your posts really made me think. The mark of a good blog, I believe. (As an example: I've always thought of myself as an experience person, versus a stuff person, and always held a bit of disdain for "stuff." I had never thought of it the way you put it, that things can be about beauty, about nesting, about creating spaces that make us feel comfortable as well as alive. I liked that. Anyway, digression.)

I too had my memory box. And it felt like a burden. So I decided to try and incorporate some of it into my daily life, rather than have it sit in a box. My grandmother made me a quilt out of old t-shirts and fabrics that had meaning to me. I will give toys and such from my childhood to my children, so that they live again. Childhood artwork gets framed and hung in the playroom, eventually alongside my children's artwork. Other things end up in Scrapbooks. And still other things get photographed and then given, or even thrown, away.

Still, even after all that, there are a few things I can't part with and haven't found a use for yet. Still looking :)

Good luck with your move! I look forward to your experiences in Chile. And thank you for your kind words.

Margaret said...

Oh how hard it is to let go--and how freeing at the same time. Let me just tell (or remind you) that the US Postal service has something called the M-Bag, which you must definitely check out. It allows you to ship books--and only books--at wonderfully, ridiculously, insanely low prices. It will take a bit longer than the rest of your belongings, but it is worth it. All of those books that you debate on selling for a buck or bringing.... Bring them!
When my first shipment arrived at Aduana they tried to charge me for bringing them into the country. I explained that I had the right to "menaje" (personal household items)... and the woman said "Pero Señora, ¡son 110 kilos de libros! But Ma'am! There are 110 kg of books here--NOBODY has 110 kg of books... to which I replied, "this is not even a third of what is to come!"
Bring your books. Bring your kitchen supplies. Bring your bike... bring your family... the rest... is already here! Especially us, we are waiting to welcome you with open arms!