Make the stuff stuff-less

"I've reclaimed my life.  I have eliminated the last 40 years of the waste in my life."

 Note, she did not say she'd eliminated her life, or her memories, but the WASTE in her life. 

Mary is a dear friend who I think of as The Second The Hallmark Store.  She was clearing things out a few years ago (it has been a long process).   She fully admits she has a mantra - she won't send anybody a card, although she buys cards.  So I happily, and freely, took collections of blank, gorgeous cards, and wonderful unopened notes from her own Hallmark Store. There were 100's of cards!  And I used them.

This recent go-round, she actually tossed over 19 years of received, one-way correspondence, out the door and into recycling.  She's the neatest collector of all things once valuable: like college papers (her own for her undergraduate degree and for her Masters);  and college brochures and curriculum books, because she had a business as a college adviser (for those sweet young things that needed a place to go for the next 4+ years).

When she retired from that, she became very active on private boards for many years.  More papers, especially when she was in charge of a huge multi-million dollar building project for a group.   At the same time she worked for a board governing a high school for amazing students, who were finding their way in more than trying circumstances.  More papers.  Now gone.  Not the memories.  Just the stuff.

Hey, Mary, what boxes did you toss out?  Clothes of parents who have gone on, a long time ago.  Gave boxes of books to the library to sell to those who have not received the light (or who just want to add books to their collections).   

Our kids (or heirs) look at it wonder why.  Why did they keep it?   I will be forever grateful to my daughter Sutter and son Evan, when I had to clear out Carl's office.  Yes, we saved the drawings, the drawing tools, and some of the furniture.  Ev was ruthless.  Both got it.  Yes, we downsized from the office to a storage unit.  And then suddenly, after three years, I got rid of that, too.

Currently, I have some things that are put away in a cedar chest.  I love that cedar chest.  Since I was just a few years old, there was something magical to me about that chest.  Might have been the smell when I opened it up.  Maybe it was the things that my mom kept in it, none of which comes to mind.

It has photos in it.  My wedding book.  My original Barbie Doll (very good shape).  Formal dresses from Homecoming.   There's a dress from the only Prom I went to and was dumped on before it was 10pm.   The mom of the jerk that dumped me called me the next day and moaned about what her son had done.  Get over it, lady.

So when am I cleaning out the cedar chest?  Not for a while.  I don't need the space.  It's not in the way.  Maybe my young neighbor, who has some girly-girl in her may want the dresses.  

It works like this.  We see them but ignore them.  If we don't see the things we don't miss them.  If we don't miss them, we don't know they're there, or don't remember them!

What we see as "valuable" items slowly morph into stuff.  One day it hits us.  Time to make the stuff, stuff-less. 

To my kids, maybe I'll get in the mood and get rid some of the stuff.  But not yet.

Live richly,  marilyn


  1. I've done a couple of good cleanings this year. At work we consolidated our office space from 2 suites to 1. I can't believe how much we got rid of and how much better our work space is now. Also went after my clothes a couple of weeks ago. If I hadn't worn it in a month, it was out (except for some of the San Diego winter time gear). In this case, I appreciate being referred to as ruthless.

  2. That's my boy! And you should have heard what Sutter said about cleaning out in NZ!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Words of wisdom....

And then I started thinking....