One of the reasons to dread moving to anywhere:  all the stuff.  All the furniture, the paper, the nick-nacks, the electronics, the clothing, the thingies we’re going to get fixed soon, the dishes, the pantry, the toys, the games, the art supplies, the swimming gear, the boots, the tax-documentation…. and the papers, did I mention the papers?

I know we’re not alone in this. Some researchers from UCLA followed some families around their homes for several weeks, photographing and taking notes. It appears we are all hip deep in clutter. Which is why moving is good. It’s a deadline by which time you have to have a clear house.

Personally, I find it difficult to get rid of stuff because I want to get rid of it responsibly. Just chucking it into the trash bin seems very wrong. I used to fish really great stuff back out of the trash bins in the apartment complex I lived in post divorce. Did no one know about Salvation Army at least?

Bill and I now have a combined household of stuff, the stuff from my life and house and the stuff from his life and house. This is why we have two dinning room tables and, well, two keyboards for example. When we got married, we got rid of stuff that seemed obviously easy to get rid of but if we were in conflict about what to keep, then we just kept it. We had the room to delay the decision. Plus, we both have children who would eventually have places of their own and might appreciate the free stuff as they get their new, independent life set up. And then there’s my mother’s stuff, aka The Family Museum. My Mother’s Life Work (capitalization intended)  was genealogy. She spent decades documenting the family tree with the details reserved for a Ph.D.  And I’ve got the files to prove it. Which I really don’t want. But how can I throw out my Mothers Life Work? My evil twin keeps showing up in my imagination gleefully holding a gas can in her right hand. She may be on to something…. 

So we are sorting and selling and tossing and giving it away. Its hard emotional work but its good to do. Today’s victory:  The console keyboard. Nice piece of furniture/keyboard. Bill spent a lot of money on it in the ’90’s. But as the NYT has pointed out, pianos are being thrown out, tossed, smashed to bits because they no longer have market value. We aren’t buying pianos any longer. We’re buying Wiis and Playstations and big ole TV’s and Grandma’s piano has almost no value to anyone. Not even the local church. Or the community center. Or the high school. Our keyboard is at least sitting in a music store showroom on consignment in downtown Santa Rosa. If it turns out to not have a new owner, then it – like the little kittens and puppies at the human society – will be “disposed of” but at least we won’t have to be the ones disposing.

My brother swears his life goal is to die like a Buddhist monk: a robe and a begging bowl in hand.

I can see his point.


2 thoughts on “Stuff

  1. After a move by my brother, who had a large family in a very large house, I preached a sermon on “The Seven-Ton Monkey on Our Backs.”

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