Monday, June 22, 2009

The Burden of Stuff

It comes in by the bucketload.

Some of I buy; some of it comes wrapped around the stuff I buy; some of it gets sent to me, without asking, delivered to my door like physical spam wanting In! In! In!

A lot of it, I'm afraid, comes in with my husband. I do my best to just dump that Stuff in his "study" until he realizes he can't walk across the floor, and cleans it up.

My father has a lovely saying near his computer: "Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Unfortunately, by that standard, there are some days I'd like to toss out half of the house's (living) inhabitants.

Every once in a while I purge the Stuff, but it usually comes down to:
- sentiment: family pieces of furniture I can't part with even though the only one willing to sit on them is the cat.
- books: we are all (even the toddler) acquisitive book hoarders. I try to limit myself to books I plan to read again within the next two years.
- other people's Stuff: sure, I don't need those old computer parts or 800 match-box cars, but apparently the other residents of The House think they are essential. And will NOT be distracted with a newly re-discovered Hobbit book. Although they are happy to sit down together and read it over and over... while hoarding their Stuff.

Also, purging Stuff is too much like cleaning, which I hate unless I can see an immediate improvement. I'd much rather let the house get really dusty, so I can feel a great accomplishment about getting it finally CLEAN! and SPARKLING! than spend a little time every day (or even every week) keeping it neat. Especially during gardening weather. Or baking weather. Or any week I have to go to work. Which I guess is always.

So, it was with some upset that I looked around The House after Bad Cohen finished a thorough cleaning yesterday, and saw that we had a nice, clean, cluttered house. Really? Hours of work, and it still doesn't look like the home of my dreams? (The home of my dreams has lots of flat, empty surfaces - just the occasional photograph or vase of fresh-cut flowers to adorn a table or shelf.)

I'm tempted to start the ruthless practice I've heard of some other moms using, going through the house before bedtime and putting anything left out in a box. Any item not returned to its correct place by the following bedtime gets donated, trashed, or sold.

But then they'd just have to buy more Stuff to replace it. And really, I'd miss my jewelry. And my cat.


Blogger The back of the hill said...

I am SO not ever showing this post to Savage Kitten! It would merely strengthen her in her conviction that I have a problem.
Books everywhere and a twenty-five year supply of pipe-tobacco is NOT a problem .... it's insulation.

6/22/2009 8:48 PM  
Blogger Samantha Wilde said...

You funny, mommy! I am SOOO with you.

6/23/2009 9:51 PM  

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