Don’t Trifle With Me


a gewgaw by any other name

Urgency Day 123

500 Things Items 370-75: 6 Delicate Tea Cups

  • History: 25 years of tepid acquiring
  • Value:  Intrinsic only (too many chips)
  • Parting Pain: Only in the careful cleaning
  • Un-possessing: Gift

Gewgaw: Great word. Bad idea.

At least if you want to live an uncluttered life.

At what point do a few gewgaws become a collection? And is a collection a more desirable thing than a few gewgaws?

Depends, right? One person’s small collection of gewgaws is another’s assemblage of worthless tchotchkes.

Tchotchkes, gewgaws, knick-knacks, bric-a-brac, trinkets: So many charming words for the same things, and each conveying a sense of inconsequence and whimsy; of the ephemeral. I enjoy the words for stuff so much more than stuff itself.

Henry Thoreau said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”

Oh Henry, I am trying:

I chant it: Simplify, simplify, simplify.

I proclaim it: Downsize, downsize, downsize.

I live it: Donate, donate, donate.

Simplify, downsize, donate. No room for trifles there. But then, for all my focus and commitment, then for all my routine affirmations…

Then, I am undone. Not philosophically, not morally, not essentially. No, I am undone by a singular task, a task with which I am faced from time to time.

I am undone by packing. Packing for a trip.

I’ve blogged it before: I can banish every burdensome trinket, streamline my entire house, and still spectacularly overpack for a mere three-day journey.

Bless me, Henry, for I have sinned, the sin of travel-excess. Just to make me feel worse, Henry also said, “After the first blush of sin comes its indifference.”

Oh no. Not yet. I feel my sin, deeply.

I have to pack today. Here’s what should simplify it for me, theoretically:

  • It’s a short trip, just 3 days, plus travel days;
  • No extreme weather or activities expected;
  • If I do neglect to bring something essential, there will be no lack of a Walgreens or a Gap (In our family, we call this the “We’re not going to Albania” Rule—i.e. no where exotic or underserved by American commerce. Sorry if I’m unintentionally maligning Albania.).

I detest clutter and needless stuff fantastically; therefore, This Time, I am going to make a connection between over packing and clutter. Why have I failed to make this connection in the past? Dunno. Will it work this time? Again, not sure.

But I would really like to take my uncluttered, my gewgaw-less life for a test drive.

Buckle up and mind the Gap.


4 Responses to “Don’t Trifle With Me”

  1. melanie Says:

    On my last trip to Denver my suitcase weighed a mere 29 pounds! Down from my usual 35! I’m getting the handle on packing less and enjoying having less in the hotel room/host home to keep track of, forgetting to re-pack, or just plain forgetting and leaving in the hotel room/host home. It’s hard not to pack the “just in case” items. Good luck!

  2. sthibeault Says:

    You are my inspiration! Not sure I want to weigh anything, but inspired to cut back definitely. Thanks, Melanie!

  3. Donna Says:

    Ditto, ditto to Melanie. And it’s hard to say, “I am going to wear this on Thursday, this on Friday, and this on Saturday” and then bring no other choices. I live in awe of those magazine articles that show you how to pack four items which make nine outfits. The best I’ve ever been able to do is to lay out what I intend to pack and then (as our mother advised) put half of it back. I can usually put SOME of it back, but I still overpack.

  4. sthibeault Says:

    It’s still my goal. My elusive goal. Packing. Not. Going. Well.

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