I volunteered at my daughter's school the other morning. Going in to take inventory of the human body kit so the class can study some anatomy. There was some gluing onto colorful construction paper and paper cutter jobs as well, both with "if you have time..." sticky notes from the teacher. Well, I suppose I could do something useful today. The Storage Wars marathon would have to wait. Actually, I rather do enjoy sitting in the back room of the Catholic school, doing mundane work, and listening to people come & go through the office. There's something oddly relaxing about hearing voices talking about nothing very interesting while the paper cutter cuts rhythmically through the geometric shapes flash cards. I think I may have a thing for the paper cutter.
After I dropped Rainey off, I had walked a few blocks through the northern Seattle neighborhood to get a coffee before heading into the school. (Because you know us Seattlites and our coffee. I dab it behind my ears now.) It was such a typical Pacific Northwest spring morning. Daffodils and cherry blossoms are in full bloom, tulips are starting to pop up, the forsythia's yellow branches are falling into the sidewalk...and the sky was the color of stone and the temperature was barely hitting 40. But it felt good to be out taking the brisk walk past all of the 1910 Craftsman houses on postage stamp yards with lots of "art" hanging from strings on the porches. I especially liked peeking into the old apartment buildings. They have to be around the 1930s-1940s and they looked exactly like the apartment I lived in when I was in college. Quaint built-in china cabinets, tiny galley kitchens with the slightly-smaller refrigerators and stoves, thick windows that had been painted shut a hundred times over...and maybe a poster and calendar to decorate the walls. Yes...I got ALL of this from a 10 minute walk as I voyuered my way down the sidewalks. Well, really it was the tiny glimpses I got that brought be right back to my college days in my tiny apartment. Where I had nothing. And I mean no things. No stuff. Single bed with two sets of sheets maybe, a few towels, a couch and chair and a TV stand my dad had made for me. And a cassette player that eventually could play my CD Walkman too. The one closet in the entire place was just fine.
What a freeing thing to have only the basics. Now, we live in a 2,600 square foot house which somehow means we need 28 towels in 7 different colors and patterns. We have three television sets of varying sizes and levels of awesomeness. Dishes for all of those dinner parties for 40 I have. Two coat closets, a craft closet, a wrapping paper inflatable mattress random files old pictures closet, a two linen closets and four bedroom closets....all filled. We have the typical junk drawer in the kitchen that I'm starting to believe we actually obtain junk just to put in it. Brad has about 28 baseball hats (26 of them are the St Louis Cardinals), Rainey has more nail polish than a high-end salon, Gus has so many dinosaur toys his dinosaur toys box (a bin purchased for the sole purpose of holding dinosaurs) can not hold them, and Sam...well Sam is not quite 2 and is obsessed with Yo Gabba Gabba so we'll let him have his Muno and Brobee dolls. I have accumulated dozens of scarves for some reason. I need another neck. And I am a bit craft-heavy so the five pairs of "good" scissors and 3 pounds of felt I keep adding to are my contribution.
When we were in the process of selling our last house, we had to have it staged. This meant boxing up about 50% of our house and stuff the garage to the brim. After a few months of living in our slimmed down home, I realized I couldn't even remember what was in the boxes in the garage. Clearly it was nothing I missed or even needed (unless, of course, I were to open one of the boxes. Then I would absolutely have remembered that I HAD to have that third set of mixing bowls and the Day of the Dead magnet collection). There really was a part of me that wanted to just light the garage on fire so we didn't have to move all of the STUFF. But alas, we did not burn it. Nor did we leave it for the new homeowners (although I'm sure they would have loved the bag of my old maternity clothes. Overalls do not look cute on anyone over age 6, btw). We moved our stuff. We even got new stuff to keep filling the new, bigger space. And sometimes I'm just overwhelmed by it all.
Imagine that... Happiness with the simplicity! I'm going to start (slowly start) purging the stuff a bit. I don't see anyone here missing it. I think most people would do well sitting in the sun in a plastic pool with some rocks every once in a while. I highly recommend it.