Monday, June 21, 2010

Stuff - ad nauseum!

Posted by Terry McNichols

I have written far too many posts about the need to purge our belongings as we age.  Once again, however, my husband and I are trying to get rid of some excess baggage.  We carpeted our cozy nest and it felt so good to have a fresh start that we began reassessing – again – some of the stuff we hoard.  We lack a garage but have a very small attic which we tend to overfill time and time again.  I am reminded of a few lines from a Wordsworth poem:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
(The World is Too Much With Us, 1807, partial)
Wordsworth was contrasting Nature with the world of materialism and “success.”  He believed that by being insensitive to the richness of Nature, we might forfeit our souls. 

I am not saying anything quite so profound, but the line “Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers” comes into my mind regularly when I’m thinking I want to hold on to the things I’ve owned.  Unfortunately, I am much happier purging HIS stuff than mine, as evidenced by my crabbiness at his “bag” collection (you really DO need a bag to pack for EVERY occasion?) but my blindness to my similar fetish with bags collected on our various trips.  Surely my collection should be saved – his tossed?  I did however notice once again the difference in attitudes in my own household for purging.  My husband looks at every item that is leaving the house as a lost-forever memory or opportunity.  He mourns the things he has had to give up, remembering the one thing that he needed soon after it was gone.  I, on the other hand, see the endless possibility of replacing something that was purged, should the need arise again.  (He calls it “throwing money at the problem.” ) That happens so seldom that to me it is a worthwhile gamble. 

But this week, with our new-found desire to keep the place relatively uncluttered, we have both been in the purging mood at the same time and the stuff has been flying out the door to Goodwill, EBay, or the kids, whenever we can convince them to take something off our hands!  Cheer us on! 

(Photo by Ed Yourdon, shared via Flickr)

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