“I don’t need this stuff…I don’t need anything except this ashtray. That’s it. And this paddle game. The ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game and the remote control, and that’s all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle game. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that’s all I need. I don’t need one other thing, not one – I need this! And this! And that’s all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair.”
Sitting barefoot under a tree on this serenely gorgeous September afternoon, I should be content to just be. But I can’t get my mind off all the stuff. The stuff in the house. The stuff in the garage. The stuff in the barn. The stuff in the other house. (Yes, we just bought a 2nd house). The stuff in the other garage. The stuff in the other barn. The stuff in the cabinets and closets and boxes and drawers.
This is not the first time I’ve proclaimed this, but
I AM SO TIRED OF ALL THE STUFF.
I don’t deal well with clutter – physical or mental. Disorder and chaos make me feel overwhelmed and out of control. Truthfully, the “Where’s Waldo?” books even kinda stress me out. I spent the first half of my adult life wanting and wishing I had more; a bigger house, nicer car, more shoes, and an endless supply of essential throw pillows. But now all I want is less. It’s not exactly the Amurican Dream, but collecting and cleaning and organizing useless junk is not how I want to spend the remaining 301,128 hours of my life (give or take a few).
I’ve been on this journey of simplifying for about 4 years; unfortunately most of it has been verbal. I talk a good game. I get on a kick and clean out a couple of closets, haul it off to Goodwill/consignment/the dump, but to be honest, I haven’t made notable progress. I continually bring more in than I remove. The closets are overflowing, the utility is packed, and there is such a quantity of food in the house we could survive the apocalypse by bartering frozen okra and jars of salsa.
Do the cowboy and I really NEED 16 towels and 32 washcloths? What about the collection of coffee mugs in the cabinet or the accumulation of boots by the garage door? Does every flat surface in the house have to be “decorated” with lamps and vases and picture frames? And have we EVER used the pickle fork that came with the flatware?
My makeup bag contains no fewer than 27 cosmetic items, when I’m certain paring down to 8 items would achieve the same underwhelming morning makeover. I have an entire drawer devoted to hoarding nail polish and Jamberry stickers, and I haven’t done my nails since April. And don’t even get me started on the clothes (the ones that fit now, the ones the optimist in me hopes to wear, and the ones the pessimist in me is afraid to let go of)…and shoes…and bags…and oh my goodness, the jewelry.
Why do we feel the need to possess 207 dvds when we have Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime and a library card? For that matter, why do we have Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime when we hardly ever watch tv? And can I confess the only reason I stockpile books is because smart people have books and I want you to think I’m smart even if I never intend to read most of those books again???
I may not have the body of a minimalist, but I sure have a frustrated one living in my brain. One who needs to go home and start decluttering. Again. But it’s so much nicer spending this afternoon lounging under a tree, soaking up the 72° weather, and pinning dozens and dozens of great ideas to my “Minimalism” board on Pinterest.
Yes, I get the irony.