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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Get Rid of It

So much has happened recently, I don't know where to start.  Oh yes I do.

I finally had it up to here with my boss and quit my toxic job, so I'm updating my resume and looking for work again. Fortunately for me, work made an exception and cashed out my two weeks vacation, which ends this Friday.

But last weekend, we went to the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington, and again, we learned a ton. So much so that I haven't finished transcribing notes.  There were two talks that really influenced me- one was on the benefits and how-to's of living tiny, and the other was on improving soils. I'll get back to the soils later* but first I want to give you a little info on downsizing, to which Steve and I had previously agreed, but so far I've done nothing about.

First, I have to admit that I'm a pack rat.  Not a hoarder, per se, but my pack-ratting habits could easily descend into hoarding. I have all kinds of things squirreled away 'just in case', so the very notion of going through everything and making a decision about it is daunting.

The best start to the process of downsizing is using the 365 Day rule: if you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it. I have to use my own rule in this instance because, where the speaker had rock-climbing gear he hadn't used in a year and probably wouldn't again because he got it in college and now he's forty-one and unlikely to climb rocks again, I have a sewing machine that I probably haven't used in a year, but definitely need to hang on to because I have future projects that will need it, plus it's a good tool. I hang on to good tools.  But I could probably get rid of some of the fabric I've been hoarding for a while.  I don't see much point to ridding myself of my knitting supplies because they don't take up that much room and they're necessary for a particularly productive hobby, but I could probably rid myself of the art supplies I'll never use again.

And then there are the books. Books are much harder to go through, and I've already done it once, but yes, I need to do it again.  I'm keeping all my homesteading books, and I'll keep my complete Jane Austen, but I think it's time to pass on my children's book collection. Which brings me to one of the more important tenets about letting go of stuff.

One of the children's books I'll jettison is my Tasha Tudor Book of Fairy Tales which I received for my seventh birthday.  Like the velveteen rabbit, the book's condition will attest to how much I love it, which is why I still have it at the tender age of fifty-four.  Never mind 365 days; I haven't cracked it open in 365 months, which is a little over thirty years, so why do I still have it?  Because I spent many happy hours with it?

The thing to recognize with the sentimental stuff you can't let go of is that the memories they hold are not really held within them; they're held within you.  Getting rid of that book will not get rid of the memories- those will stay with me until the Alzheimer's hits, and if that happens, the book will not help anyway. So out it goes.

Getting rid of my ten years (Feb 1992 - Dec 2002) of Martha Stewart Living magazines complete with index is not going to be so easy though....

* In this instance, later means a different post.
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