It is 4:30 AM in Bangkok and, yes, we are finally here, but I do not want to repeat the last two months of my life in any future part of this life – or the next! I am swearing off of “STUFF.” I have too much of it! I spent most of February and March reducing the “STUFF-ness” in my life, but there is still too much of it. Consider these facts:
- Even with giving away or donating much of my collectibles and art, I still have twelve boxes of artwork in storage.
- Even with throwing out or burning more than 50 trash bags full of paper and financial records (some from the 1970’s), I still have 26 boxes of personal papers in storage.
- Even with giving away, donating or selling my furniture, I still have five large pieces of furniture in storage (a beautiful carved trunk from my parents, a chest of drawers and vanity from my grandmother, my grandfather’s lawyer’s bookcase, a carved teak desk belonging to my mother).
- Even with giving away, donating to the AAUW Book Sale, or bringing with me boxes of books, I still have about fifteen boxes in storage. (They are all labeled “Desirable, but not Essential.” All the boxes labeled “Essential” are with me.)
I am deeply indebted to the Dornan family for their willingness to keep all this leftover “STUFF” in one of their spare bedrooms during my tour of duty in Thailand. I am hoping that I will discover that I can live without it and that more of my stuff should be given away or donated to those who need it or would appreciate it. Still, I am deeply grateful to God for answering my prayer to release me from most of the “STUFF-ness” in my life. I have significantly less “STUFF” than I had when I moved to Texas in 1998. How do I know that? One of the old boxes I used for my donated “STUFF” had the number “83” written on the side.
I have learned that this detox from “STUFF-ness” is difficult. I am a hoarder of memorabilia (mostly personal). I inherited this from my father who kept everything – maps showing every journey he ever took in his life, tickets from every event, programs, photographs, the receipts from everything he ever purchased in his life, operating manuals, letters, and so forth. I, too, had a complete collection of my own – and much of what was his that I inherited when he died. It was a wrenching thing to burn the checks from the first checking account I ever had, the boarding passes from all the trips I have taken, and even the toll receipts supporting all my claims of unreimbursed business expenses during my days as an independent business woman in Chicago. I sold my beautiful Queen Anne dining room set and buffet at far below its value and I suspect that my home will also sell below the market price. But, seriously, God has given me a wonderful sense of peace about all of it as I step into this new call on my life.
So, how can I prevent this addiction to “STUFF” from invading my new life? I don’t know. I suspect that I will suffer from this addiction for the rest of my life. Things, for me, bring memories of people and places and events in my life. I treasure them and will always do so for the lovely feelings they engender. So. if I know you, or have known you, there is a piece of paper, a photograph, or an item in a box somewhere that will remind me of the special times we spent together. Someday, when I am in a nursing home somewhere, I will pull that item from the box and remember our times together. Until then, I will move forward, meeting more people and collecting still more treasures to store somewhere.