Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Where your treasure lies, there lies your heart also.

You're probably getting sick of hearing about how overwhelmed I am about moving... but well, it's either navel gazing or more stories from Trimet. Today - navel gazing.

I've made a bit (not nearly enough) of progress deciding what to do with all my stuff. It has been really difficult. I'm trying to be all zen about it... it's just stuff, it's just stuff, it's just stuff. But I'm blessed and cursed with a pretty good memory and if you haven't noticed I lean heavily towards the nostalgic & sentimental. So there's the book I got for my birthday (two days after my birthday because that was the year everyone forgot), the Jasper Johns flag poster my roommate got after 9/11 and that hung in our living room effectively the entire time we lived together, the big pink bread bowl I bought in celebration of moving into my very first apartment, the sweater I wore on my very first date (a red oversized men's sweater - went almost down to my knees - white leggings underneath - slouchy red socks with white Keds and I was pretty smokin' ;) ), etc. etc. etc. It doesn't matter if I actually like the item, or even if the memory associated with it is particularly good. I just have an emotional attachment to a LOT of stuff.

I haven't totally decided if that's a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand it means I don't generally own stuff for no reason, something is either functional or meaningful to me in some way. But on the other hand, this connection to objects is probably not very healthy. I mean... a lot of people name their cars... I've named my car (Babette), my computer (Sophia), my sewing machine (Fraulein Peggy) & my mixer (Peggy D'oh ... Betty). I'm sure it says something about deep inner workings of my psyche... I just don't think I want to know what.

I have effectively two days before I leave (to go to San Francisco for the weekend before leaving the country entirely)... and I've still got quite a few loose ends to tie up. I still have a couch for one, and a few other misc. pieces of furniture. I'm going through a lot of "woulda shoulda coulda"s right now because I was trying to balance "keeping my apartment livable as long as possible" with "getting rid of things in a timely fashion" and erred on the side of waiting too long to start posting things to craigslist. I've had to deal with more than a few flakes and am now trying to *give* stuff away and am still getting flakes! Oh well... live & learn.

But progress... however limited... has been made.

June & Now

Closet before & After

While I've hardly gotten rid of *everything* I've pared down at least 75% of my belongings. It's astounding. Just the sheer volume of stuff I had (my sister regularly shames me by telling me she only has two pairs of shoes... and one pair of jeans etc. She also doesn't work (for pay - she's a mom, I know that's work) so she doesn't exactly need a work wardrobe. Whereas I've only managed to get down to 6 pairs of shoes for this trip (dressy black, dressy brown, casual black, casual brown, sandals and my red keens... I'm not going *anywhere* without my red Keens!) but that took some doing. It's not even that I'm extravagant... I just like variety. There are days when I have a very strong reaction to what I put on - I'll grab a blue sweater and then decide - no no no... can't wear that today, have to wear the brown one. Same with the shoes... I just have to have a couple fun pairs around in case I'm feeling rebellious. ;)

But all the fun shoes are gone now. The sparkley red ones I wore on New Years Eve, the blue converse that remind me of Doctor Who, the steel toed Doc Martins that were a bit to tight but felt kick-ass nonetheless, the black mules that showed off my infrequent pedicures, the saddle shoes that reminded me of cheerleading when I was little, the completely impractical high heeled black strappy party shoes, the brown canvas slip ons with the pink trim, and even the chunky brown 'interview' heels (the last pair of heels that I regularly wore to work after they caused me to twist my ankle and fall halfway down a flight of stairs - skinning my knee - during my first week at OHSU, and afterwards I saw my then coworker now friend and she was really sympathetic about it) - all lounging under appreciated on a shelf in a Goodwill store somewhere.

I don't really know where I'm going with this post. I guess, you know they say it's supposed to be liberating to get rid of all your stuff... to get rid of the emotional baggage that goes along with it. But that really hasn't been the case for me. I kind of feel like if I get rid of the stuff, I'm going to lose the memory. How do you decide which memories are really worth preserving?


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Bezzie said...

Throw a kid in the mix and it gets even worse!!! Gah! But I know what you are going thru. Sometimes you just have to simply ask "do I NEED this?"

And wait, I thought your mixer's name was Betty???

Karin said...

I've gone through the same process a couple of times so far. I remembered a couple of things for a little while and then I realized one day that I didn't even remember what I used to have and that felt liberating.

The things I do remember I will always remember, with or without an object to remind me.

Someone gave me some good advice, a bit too late for me and likely a bit too late for you, too: take pictures of the things you really want to remember, but really don't need to keep.

You're doing so well. Your place looks great. Keep up the good work.

T is said...

you should take a picture of the stuff that you want to keep for memories sake... and jot down your memory on the back, that way you still have the memory, but don't have to keep all the "stuff"...

mlle b said...

I was just sorting some photos and came across one with you wearing the saddle shoes (when we dressed up and went to see Grease)!! T's suggestion is a good one. But don't feel pressured to get rid of everything -- you'll return one day and you'll want some of that stuff around. You can always get rid of it later, if need be.

Exuberant Color said...

I sometimes think that if 50% of my possessions disappeared I wouldn't even realize they were gone. I think you will find that your "new life" will give you new memories and some of the older things won't seem as important and you won't miss them as much. Have a good trip and post when you can and tell us about the new life.

Stariel said...

I am also freaking out about moving, so thanks for blogging it and helping me feel less alone.

I tend to get rid of most stuff, but I still have this longsleeve t-shirt that I wore in almost every picture taken of me from 1996 to 1998 - it doesn't fit and has a big hole in the elbow but I don't think I could ever ever get rid of that shirt.

Rebel said...

Bezzie - I'm sure!!

Karin & T - I have taken pictures of a lot of things... that's part of why I love this blog, it's a nice place to store pictures & memories.

B - fortunately a few people have offered to store things for me so it's not ALL going away.

Exuberant - I recommend moving every couple of years to keep your belongings to a more manageable level! ;)

Stariel - yeah, I'm hanging on to my long-sleeved Race for the Cure T-shirt... I've just had it for so long and it's so soft & faded, I couldn't possibly get rid of it.