As Tess and I merge households and I clean out accumulated clutter from the house I've lived in for 18 years, I've come face to face with a side of myself that is not pretty. Since I was a kid, I've held on to things out of a misguided cross between sentiment and a self-delusionary hope that one day it will be worth a fortune. This has created space issues that Tess is helping me resolve with a few tough love techniques.
I'm quickly being forced to examine why I have so much crap. And I'm learning that purging one's self of useless but interesting stuff is good for the soul (and the relationship). We spent much of weekend packing up my excess and hauling it to Value Village where much of it originated. I am trying to look at it all in a Buddhist fashion that way. And it does make me question the value system I had when I acquired most of the crap.
For instance, I went through an extended phase of collecting old, mismatched dinnerware from the 50s and 60s. My cupboards were overflowing with enough place settings to run a good sized restaurant, yet I don't entertain. I could have got by with two plates and a few cups. Instead I had hundreds. Out the door.
With them went the skies and poles from when I was high school (which is about the last time I skied). The boots went walking years ago. And the various maniquins that decorated my family room fit nicely into Tess' trunk to their new home at the "Village." All of my ratty old rattan furniture followed. And about 100 t-shirts that I've saved since grade school. Add to the stack my collection of Vegas and Reno memorabilia...at least the stuff I could part with. Gone is the "Lost my ass" coffee mugs and playing cards. Gone are the 14 or so ashtrays I'd "ended up" with as souveniers of casinos that ended up with my money in exchange.
Goodbye hockey gloves. I never played hockey anyway. Goodbye shop class project wine rack. Goodbye buddhist shrine, candles and chanting stool. I chant no more. Goodbye endless number of souvenier drink cups from New Orleans, defunct cruise lines and bars that exist no more. Goodbye four wall hanging guitars with broken strings. Goodbye green accordian that was broken and I couldn't play anyway.
But there is still more crap. So I frantically turn to eBay. Save me eBay. You were part of the problem. You forced me to buy more crap. Now take it back. So I list part of my cocktail shaker collection and my glasses and swizzle sticks from Playboy clubs. I list my McCoy cookie jar and my four enamelware camp plates with grizzly bears, salmon and deer images on them.
And I'm terrified that no one will bid. So once again I'll pack up the truck and haul even more of my maddness to the Village to feed someone else's obsessive cumpulsive behaviour. But maybe it is for the better. Letting go of crap is a very spiritual thing. I do find that the older I get, the less I need "things" to ground me.
But in the meantime, go to eBay and bid on my stuff, okay?