Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Sargaso Sea of our Stuff

I stopped losing my balance last Tuesday, and have decided the malady is not going to return (which is what it did when I had it years ago - I 'relapsed' and had it at least twice).

So I spent the past few days working doubly hard to accomplish all those things I couldn't get done when I was sick. We have one of the storage units half-empty and hope to finish moving the rest in the next couple weeks. It is beginning to seem as if we are merely stirring our stuff around, instead of winnowing and reducing the clutter - as if we are becalmed in a Sargaso Sea composed exclusively of all the stuff we ever bought and don't really need. Now there is a nightmare scenario of Karmic proportions for you.

I'm really beginning to regret that I didn't "just say no" to all that stuff before we bought it. Which is the point of that really great book by Dr. April Lane Benson: To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop. If only I had read it forty years ago! (Impossible of course since it was only published two months ago.) Well then, for all the rest of you - take advantage of her wisdom while you are young. (If you are not young, it is never too late to start.)

Out of all her good advice and excellent exercises, I think one simple rule would have saved us from at least ninety percent of our purchases: "use only cash, check or debit card". Yes, sadly, I am one who finds it all too easy to buy things I don't really need when using a credit card. Which is why I closed two credit accounts in the past two months, (yes, better late than never).

We still have boxes of books in storage, and no more room in the apartment, so we must choose which books get shelf space and which books get adopted. I'm down to my favorites - already gave away many boxes. I have packed a box of books to resell at Powell's three times - and unpacked it three times, putting the books (double-parked) back on our overcrowded book shelves. Oh, I am a ridiculous and sad example indeed!


Marina said...

Nothing ridiculous about that! I could get rid of almost anything else before my books (as my groaning bookshelves will attest).

Pandababy said...

I guess it takes a fellow bookworm to identify with my dilemma.
My shelves are not only groaning - they are whinging and yelping and threatening to go on strike.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to desert and betray old friends.

Perhaps you can put shelves on the ceiling, on the doors or a glass floor that opens in sections?

Or you could download your favorites and store them electronically?

Pandababy said...

So true, and my books are such good friends. I do have some digital books, and that helps, but sometimes I just have to be willing to share my friends. I finally did it - took a box of fine paperback friends to donate to Friends of the Library today. At least I was leaving in good hands.