22 January 2006

Conservation of Stuff As Practiced by a Packrat

Ianqui has a little post up today which mentions her principle of conservation of stuff: when she gets a new thing, she gets rid of an existing thing to make room for it. This is clearly not the approach I've been taking to things, but as I've been pondering the ways in which I emphasize things too much because I have trusted relationships too little (and as I've been moving towards increased emotional health and a much better quality of relationship with Politica than I enjoyed in my "pre-improved" days), I've been trying to declutter my house. And as we currently have a major home renovation project going on, it's really time to declutter. We're turning our two bedroom house into a three bedroom house, and adding a room on the first floor while we're at it. At the moment, our dining room table is in the living room, a bunch of furniture is in the garage (which is blocked by a dumpster), and our former guest bedroom/office contents are split between the living room and the remaining bedroom. Things are a mess.

So I resolved to spend some time this aft decluttering. Going through some drawers, I found:
  • a bookmark from a breakfast my mother attended in 1957
  • a bookmark from the funeral of one of my elementary school teachers who died in 1973
  • one piece of stationery from when I was a Brownie (which would have been 1968-1970)
  • a bookmark from a bookstore in Camden, Maine, which I visited while on vacation with my family sometime in the 1970s
  • my address book from the 1980s
  • postcards from various places I've visited in the last 25 years
  • onionskin paper for sending airmail letters from when I was a child
  • a card I bought in France in 1980, intending to mail it to.....heaven only knows
  • stationery I received as gifts in elementary school
  • stationery my former mother-in-law passed on to me, and I think she had it in the '50s
I've pitched a lot of things--I kept the bookmark from the Camden bookstore but moved it close to the bed so I can use it as a remembering slip, as Curious Girl would say. I pitched the funeral bookmark, and some others. I took a pile of old stationery (from the job I held in 1990-93) to give to Curious Girl for her office. I put the pasta maker I bought with my first girlfriend, and haven't used since 1987, into a giveaway box.

I kept a pile of business cards and receipts from some old trips to sort later--I may put some into a scrapbook page. I'm getting used to the idea that it's OK to make some garbage, that my memories are stored in my heart and head and don't all need tangible reminders. And I'm starting to like a (slightly) sleeker look that's emerging in some places.

I'm going to send my mother a note on my Brownie stationery. I did pitch some stationery with a silly saying ("things that are natural are never without a certain sense of grace and excellence") but otherwise I decided to just send a lot of notes. (Anyone out there want a note? I'm happy to put mail in your mailbox!)

And now, time to return to the sorting.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must admit that I am a hopeless packrat when it comes to bookmarks. Ok, when it comes to a few other things as well. But especially bookmarks.

I need to incorporate this principle into my life. I've had the same issue about clinging to things to make up for the untrustworthiness of relationships. Time to trust my relationships more. Particularly as we live in an old house without much closet space...