Pull the Thread

03/17/2010

One of the things I am sorting through with writing this blog is why I have accumulated so much stuff.

I am working very hard to make this firmly a past-tense confession: why I have accumulated so much stuff. This is the very definition of process not product. In some ways, I feel like I am developing a new 12 step program, maybe “Acquirer’s Anonymous.”

  • Step 1: Cut up American Express cards
  • Step 12: Rent a room; furnish with mattress

A couple of steps are missing there, aren’t they? Based on this progression, I’m at about Step #2.

But there are days when that Step 12 extreme lifestyle is incredibly appealing.

Twenty-five years ago, Paul and I came to our joint-checking-account status with 2 English-majors’ weight in books and at least 4 metal filing cabinets, one of which was an olive-green, WWII vintage, government-surplus monster. That’s the one that, in our move to Eugene, Oregon, both sliced open Paul’s ring finger and made our sorely used friend Milt remark,

“You guys have really heavy stuff to move.”

Unfortunately, he wasn’t speaking metaphorically.

So what are Steps 2-11 in my “Acquirer’s Anonymous” Program? Roughly speaking, I think Steps 2-6 are things like, “Sell your stuff” and “Donate your stuff” and “Recycle your stuff.” (Okay, we’re not inventing the wheel here.) But I think it gets much more interesting around Step 7.

What do I imagine happens then? I think at that point, you have to pull the thread, as in The Thread, the one that connects your whole tapestry. Or to quote David Byrne, you have to ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

And, course, you have to ask, “Now what do I do?”

There’s a fascinating blog called Guy Named Dave (www.guynameddave.com) He gained some notoriety back in 2008 when his project was mentioned in an article in Time magazine (June 16, 2008). He wants to reduce his entire inventory of worldly possessions to 100 things. He calls it “The 100 Thing Challenge.”

Keep in mind, Dave’s not a radical, fringe, extremist guy. No really! He’s a married dad of three daughters. Some of Dave’s downsizing motivations were similar to mine. Exhaustion with the oppressive excess of it all; recognition that we’ve been trying to purchase our way to a vision of who we’d like to be but aren’t; desire to find true not packaged happiness.

Dave also incorporates his Christian sensibilities into his experiment. While Dave and I would probably quibble on the specifics, I whole-heartedly agree that all this stuff is weighing down our spirits as much as our shelves.

So what will it be:

Selves or Shelves

Which do you want to preserve?

Because I’m really starting to think it can’t be both.

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One Response to “Pull the Thread”

  1. Jan Says:

    This is hilarious. Our neighbor downstairs is selling her condo and knew that all of my “dear collections” in the garage from floor to ceiling would bring down her property value. Art hired me to fellas, I put it all in three piles – get-rid-of, keep, sell…I have so much room in the storage area that I made a club house for the children which they adore….will let you know when I get around to blogging about it.


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