60 years of living does not equate to 60 hours of packing…

I have been helping my friend move on and off for a week now. Well, pack and then move boxes to another room to be moved. No matter, I know that I have personally packed for close to 20 hours and there is more to go. Not to mention what 3 other people have packed. I asked her yesterday, why do you have so much stuff? She simply said: “These are 60 years of memories.” Well, some of that is possibly true, but the other truth is that this lady loves to shop! Kors wasn’t selling his wares 60 years ago!

She is a fabu’ shopper too. She has shoes and bags that make me-over 20 years her junior-look lame. Purses that have the bags that they came in with matching zip around wallets with every purse in every color imaginable. She could open a boutique from her home. And…we are not talking about Sears and JcPenney kind of bags. Think Burberry, Kors, Coach, Louis. Get the picture? Shoes are more of the same. Well she does have some old lady kind of comfort shoes, but to tell you the truth, most of the stuff is plain stylish.

The thing is though, there is soooo much of it. She donated probably close to 100 pairs of shoes and more than 30 purses and she still has over 100 purses and probably 150 pairs of shoes. She told me that she grew up not having a lot and when she became “well off”, she bought like she was. Now, she is without a job and I think that she feels if she lets go of it that she is letting go of her autonomy. Her wealth. Her prosperity. She is letting go of the person that she was when she purchased these items. I can understand why she feels an attachment to these things, but I can’t understand the amount of them. There are so many knick knacks and vases and globes and lanterns and candlesticks. The list is amazingly enormous! But most of it is oh so beautiful.

I have moved close to 10 times in the last 13 years and after that first big move right out of college when I was moving to the big city for my first career job, I had to take a big look at my material items. I was in my 20’s, so I could not put it on 60 years of memories. I had over 100 pairs of shoes and 6 car loads of clothes! INSANE! After doing that again and again and again I became a purgeaholic. (of items, not food:)) Believe it or not, I gave a lot of things away before the 1st move, but at the time because I was a single girl on my own, I was given a lot. My mom would give me old furniture or curtains or rugs and I felt compelled to keep or use it all. I had 2 living room sets, tons of bedroom furniture, loads of kitchen supplies, it was as if I was moving as part of a big family. My mom also shopped like a nut for me. We would go to the store and she would buy me four or five expensive outfits and let me pick out shoes as well. Then it got to the point where my closet was full of things with tags on them.

Fast forward to the last 4 years. I have a “Goodwill” bag or some other charity bag in my car every other month if not monthly. I go through my clothes, my kid’s clothes and toys and other household items and decor all of the time. I don’t have as big of a place now as I did 8 years ago and I can’t stand clutter, so I am more obsessive with it. So when I am bored or worried or can’t sleep, I purge material items. I go through phases where I don’t go as nutso about it, but then sometimes I go on a clearing out rampage!

All jokes aside, I really feel like my mind is more free with less junk lying around. Why is it that we as Americans have so much stuff? I have never heard of shopaholics in India or hoarders in China. I am sure that they exist, but do they to the extent that they do here? Suffice it to say, I am not saying that my friend or my mom or my former self is or was a hoarder or junk collector. I am just saying that this overabundance of stuff seems to be the norm nowadays. When my ex lived with us, it is insane how much stuff he had to be a man. I had to get rid of 20 pairs of sneakers that were worn out beyond recognition almost. Every corner and crevice of the closets and garage and under the bed were covered with his things. It was ridiculous. I could not wait to get his stuff out. Now I feel comfy at home. I feel at ease. Relaxed. I am not exactly zen-like, but a few more garbage bags to the charity bin and I will be as free as a bird and as calm as a lamb.

As weird as it sounds, I  honestly love the practice of deciding what to get rid of next. It is my favorite side hobby. It puts my hands to work and I get a slight high from the organizational aspect of it. I don’t know if it is a Virgo thing (yes my bday is this month) or if I am just a straight up weirdo. Nevertheless, my home is not cluttered and other people benefit from my “booty”-not what you think:)  Tonight my friend gave me some shoes and jewelry and purses, which is not a bad perk of helping a Golden Girl fashionista. But, I am already brainstorming though it is getting rather late, as to what to get rid of so that I can make room for these new things. 

I will dream and sleep well tonight. Visions of organizers, donation bags and a home free of clutter. To quote Shakespeare, “Such stuff as dreams are made of and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” I wonder if he was thinking of the Container Store when he wrote the Tempest?

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