Monday, April 21, 2008

Too much stuff

Inspired by a friend and fellow librarian who sent me a posting from one of my favourite blogs - Unclutterer - I took a good, hard look at my bookshelves and then went to town. I decided to once again try sorting my books into read and unread - a scheme I've used in the past with some success but became bored with. I was horrified to discover that nearly half the books on two full bookcases were UNREAD (I won't humiliate myself by providing examples)!! My excuse is that many are Chris' books... some are in Cyrillic!

Despite having purged about four boxes of books before we moved two years ago and another four boxes of non-fiction after Chris passed away, I realized that it had been a loooong time since I had cast a critical and realistic eye on my book collection. The Russian classics in Cyrillic were weeded, as were one pair of the inexplicably duplicate copies of both The Iliad and The Odyssey. I'm still waffling on the pile of Robertson Davies - a favourite of Chris' but not so much mine. The give-aways have gone to friends, our apt building's book exchange cupboard, and the library.

Call it spring cleaning if you wish but those of you who know me know that I love to get rid of clutter. In my fantasy life I aspire to these inspiring words of William Morris: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful". In reality I have been known to verge on mild panic attacks when feeling overwhelmed by too much clutter!

Those of you who knew Chris knew that he was not afflicted by this difficult condition. :-) So I guess we were a healthy match - he wouldn't let me get rid of things that we really shouldn't and I wouldn't let him hoard things that we really didn't need. Like bundles of ten-year old pay stubs, manuals for obsolete software, and one rusty hubcap for a car we didn't own (in case you're not sure, these are things deemed unnecessary for us to keep).

My dad often used to say that one person's trash is another's treasure... of course he was a delighted recipient and wheeler-dealer of many people's 'trash' over the years. (My purging tendencies are no doubt a direct albeit unintended result of his influence.) But while I love to get rid of stuff, being an eco-witch means I'm loath to throw things in the garbage so I'm a long-time fan of thrift stores, freecycling, and swap parties (see earlier reference to "one person's trash...").

On that note, go out and celebrate Earth Day tomorrow by not buying over-packaged, cheaply-made stuff you don't really need; get rid of some of the stuff you already have too much of; and give away what we all need more of: laughter, hugs, and kindness.


halleyanne said...

i know you're not going to post this.
Love that unclutter blog. Gawd its so you!
I've just been on a purging binge here. Paper, toys, clothes...
I've even vacuumed. And I shall do so again tomorrow in your honor

John Hamer said...

well like you I have a load of clutter myself out but will get around to sort it out sooner or later