I have a love-hate relationship with stuff. I am, by nature, a neotoma albigula, more commonly known as a “pack rat” (see photo). Yet I yearn to simplify my life by shedding all the excess.
Whenever I get stressed about mess and excess, I go on a cleaning frenzy. I tidy, I throw out, I donate. I always feel so good afterwards. Cleansing the closets equates to cleansing the soul!
However, there are always some strange things that I have trouble parting with: stuffed animals from my childhood (they are my friends, and besides, their feelings would be hurt), the swizzle stick I saved from that family vacation to Maine when I was six (the prettiest shade of red I have ever seen), a box filled with every work schedule I ever had as a flight attendant (cool places!), another box with every letter my Mom or Dad ever wrote me (sentimental attachment), old board games I plan to sell on Ebay (when I have time-ha!), etc. How can I teach frugality and simplicity to my kids when my life is filled with odd and unnecessary items?
I have a particular weakness for cardboard boxes. I like to save them. You never know when you might need one. Plus the kids play with them, and one day I will use every single one of them when I sell all my extra stuff on Ebay and make a fortune.
My husband hates my stuff, especially the boxes. He says we need to just rent a dumpster. I told him, we’ll rent a dumpster when he agrees to put at least half his precious garage junk treasures into it.
I continue to fantasize that my house will one day be transformed into a zen-like sanctuary of simplicity and spiritual living. It will look like one of those minimalist spaces you see sometimes in House Beautiful or even Architectural Digest. My furniture will all be white. My few, artfully arranged books will have matching spines in a soothing palette of neutral colors. I will have miniature zen rock gardens on my coffee table instead of the zen scattering of Cheerios which sits there now.
Oh…are you going to throw out that box? Can I have it?