Friday, March 25, 2016

                      STUFF and MORE STUFF     

     I will never forget George Carlin’s schtick about “stuff.” He spoke of how we scurry around making as much money as we can so we can buy a ton of stuff. Then we use the stuff, throw it away, and buy more stuff. Or we sell the stuff so we can go buy more stuff. Then we get ready to move, and we have to decide how much we value our stuff so as to determine whether we want to pay good money to move the stuff or sell the stuff so we can move and buy more stuff. 

     The topic of “stuff” looms large as Mr. Wonderful and I consider which stuff we want to pay to move, and which stuff is sentimental. A realtor friend of ours in Florida told us, “You need to detach from all your stuff as well as from your house in order to make practical decisions about what to keep and how to eliminate the sentiment from all of your decisions.” That was good advice but easier said than done. Mr. W. wants to pay to move all the books in his library as he said, “We will have a library in our new home, and it will need books.” I ask myself (silently) how many of these one-pound tomes he has read in the last ten years, and why must we take those books when we can go to a book sale when we get there and buy a library full of good reads for less than $25. Most of these books have copyright dates pre-1963. I say nothing, however, as I am trying to stay unemotional.

     I ask myself how much I value such things as the two years’ worth of WWII love letters I inherited from my father. Now that two-years’ worth weighs about 4 ounces. Or what about my 30 plus writing books. Will I ever write again? I have about $500-worth of books on my shelf. Do I want to pay to move them in the remote chance I will need them two years from now? Will writing techniques change between now and 2019? Will my fingers still move two years from now? Will I have one tiny creative notion at that time? Who knows?

     Cleaning out cupboards, closets and drawers is not for the feint of heart. I budget about 15-minutes per dresser, but then underneath a 1962 garter belt, I discover a letter from my 4th grade boyfriend, and there goes ten good minutes alone. Or I’m looking through my half-slip collection and find a journal from 1956. There goes an hour. What starts out as a 20-minute project turns into a week of nostalgia and frustration.

     What would you pay to move? Other than antiques, what furniture could you not live without? What will you do with your 1974 journal? Do you have a lot of stuff, or do you live with the minimum? Moving does not just mean packing boxes; it means discovering memories and trying to put a price on them. Too bad there’s not a flash-drive for household contents.