in which I babble about materialism, and hoarding, and simplicity

Long days, these days. I leave the office drained and weirdly happy with that. I’m not knitting or working out as much as I need to be, and I’m trying to find the right adjustment for that, but other than that, it’s good.

Something I’m learning here: as much as I looked forward to living with very little stuff, in very little space, I really couldn’t have predicted just how much I’d enjoy that. I spend next to nothing out here- some yarn, Kindle books (I love that they take up no space!), the occasional comics when my favorite series has an issue out, some fiber. Letters, a small cache of clothes, and three highly functional pairs of shoes- boots for the day, trainers for the gym, and shower/ lounging shoes. My days are filled with work and sweat and music and reading and when I can fit it in, knitting. I know exactly where everything I might need for any of those activities are, and I treasure just about everything in my room, from my canned air (so necessary here!) to my tiny portable spinning wheel to my tea stash to my red shower shoes. I think more when I buy anything: I only have so much space, I think. How much do I need this? How much will it add? Do I really, really love this thing?

I know I was leaning towards this, of course, in my tiny old house with my DIY ethic. I know I’ve been moving in this direction, towards freeing myself of stuff that I’m not in love with, but I’ve struggled with it. But those are really nice pants, I’ll think, about a pair of wool slacks that really are nice… I just never wear them. They are nice. They’d probably be nicer with someone who wore them, I think. There are so many things like that.

I also think I’d enjoy things more if I made more. I can sew- why aren’t I making myself more skirts in the summer? Why aren’t I doing my own hemming, sewing our curtains, making bedspreads? I have a sewing machine, for crying out loud, and I hate shopping: what could make more sense?

Also, I could use the library more. Heaven knows I don’t need to own every book I fall in love with. The Kindle might be another solution to this- cheaper books, less space- but even still, at my pace I’ll have no more room in my damned house if I keep on with the books. Books are a glorious thing, but so is simplicity: I could own only the most important things, Atwood and Nabokov and Tennessee Williams and Roethke, Harry Crews and Joyce Carol Oates, the authors that I re- read every year.

(That reminds me- note to self, UPDATE BOOKS LIST, already.)

Of course, I have no idea how to take care of my comic book habit, other than only buying used trades, but I’ve got time to think about that.

I want a cleaner, simpler life. I don’t have a TON of stuff, but I have things I’ve just held on to, in some weird aversion to wasting anything. As much as I hate waste, I don’t need to store things I still see use in: if I’m storing it, it’s either for next season (good storage) or just… being held (bad storage). Someone else could be using it, right? Why do I have things just to keep them in boxes?

I’m both looking forward to and pretty intimidated by the thought of going home and cleaning out all those things I won’t use/ wear/ need.

The perfect way to end an anti- consumerism, anti- stuff entry, of course: the admission of having made a major purchase. My laptop is dying- quickly, at that, some weird electrical/ power thing that leaves it incredibly unreliable. I write my entries quick in Word and save them to thumb drives, to post from the office. So, about three months early, I bought the one true luxury I wanted out of this deployment: an Apple MacBook Pro.

I know, I know. But it’s one hell of a machine, and it’s exactly what I need for photoediting, and damnit, I bought a refurb, at least, and waited until I really needed it, as much as anyone can be said to really need a laptop. It’ll last me a long time, and it’s a solid, quality purchase, and yes, I will really treasure it; I do feel pretty good about it, although I wanted to wait until I was closer to getting home before I bought it.

And it’s 2300 (11pm), which means I’m mere minutes from turning into a pumpkin, all.

  One thought on “in which I babble about materialism, and hoarding, and simplicity

  1. August 12, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    You’re awesome. I’ve been the same way with my “stuff” and possessions. Slowly weeding out what I don’t really need. Living with next to nothing. Realizing that I can’t take all this with me in the end, it doesn’t *really* add to my happiness, and I’d be so much better without it. Very anti consumerist… and I’d almost be willing to say very different from the typical American mindset. Learning to tell the difference between needs and wants is something many of us don’t learn… and I think you’re ahead of the learning curve 😉

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