Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why is it so hard to dig out of the pack rat den?

"You're a pack rat," one of my sons told me recently, and I looked at him in disbelief. When we relocated, a few years ago, from a huge house in the country, in Kentucky, to an apartment, in Baltimore, I'm the one who - after the initial yard sale - used Craigslist and Freecycle to whittle our stuff down, again and again. I'm the one who has sold and given away dozens (perhaps hundreds?) of books.

But I looked around our apartment, and I thought about what he said, and I realized he's right. My husband and I are both pack rats, just in different areas of life and perhaps for both some different reasons, as well as some intersecting reasons.

I'm slowly working toward minimalism - toward reducing "stuff" - without giving up the second two parts of "reduce, reuse, recycle". But in the meantime, I've been exploring 'how we got this way'. So, this morning I made a list (of course). It's a list of what we learned, mostly from our parents, who - just for the record - grew up during the Depression. Not all of these items apply to us...although many of them apply to one or the other of us...but I've gotten them all from observing ourselves, our parents, and our siblings.

Please do not take these and run with them, so to speak. Many of them are better "re-thought" entirely, and others at least modified. Most of them bog us down in life. But until we see where we're coming from, I figure it might be harder to figure out where we're going.

Old Philosophies about “Stuff”:

I kid you not (as we used to say). My Dad always had two cars, even though he was single in later years. And when we were at my Dad's house after his stroke, my brother-in-law and I were able to find everything we needed - some parts in the garage, some parts in the basement - to put together a coffee maker, even though my Dad had made nothing but instant coffee for decades. At that point he didn't understand that we were at his house making coffee, but I'm sure he would have been pleased.

I'm open to your comments and ideas...but please remember that, although I don't recommend wasting resources, neither do I recommend the above philosophies, at least not without some modifications.

And now, back to my de-cluttering. 

P.S. (August 2015). I wrote the above about a year and a half ago. I have now written about each of the above points, and each of them is a link to those blog posts.

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