Monday, July 03, 2006

purge it!

don't underestimate the value of having things done. it's funny what little things you come to appreciate when they become hard to come by. time has been short, but this weekend i made good use of it. my laundry is done - and not just the unmentionables that i handwashed last week 'cause i knew i'd have to postpone my trip to the laundromat, either. and i've got pots of food in the fridge that i cooked early sunday, before the temperature got into the nineties, in anticipation for the rest of the week. when i woke up this morning, my clothes were picked out and ironed and my lunch was packed. with the exception of my lately-always-unmade-bed ('cause it be hot and who needs sheets anyway), and my kitchen floor (rainy weather, combined with plant soil from an upset pot, doesn't make for floors you can eat off of) my house is clean, from wall to wall. and all of this is good. very very good. 'cause i should now be able to purge without problems.

purging is great! i've got guidelines: if i haven't worn it all season, or it's outworn its appeal in my wardrobe, it's got to go. if it's something i won't need or want to read, it's got to go. if i can't see myself in tears missing it in years to come, it's got to go. if it's worn out and i can afford better, it's got to go. if it's worn out, and i can't afford better yet, but i can in the foreseeable future, and the only way i'm gonna replace it is if i get rid of it to make room for a new one, well, it's got to go, too. if i kept it for sentimental value some time back, and i realize the sentiment has lost its value, it's got to go. i am not a pack rat. i have a lot of stuff, but all my stuff has a utility. and when stuff loses its utility, i get rid of it. my stuff gets given away to charity and friends and family, and in certain cases, even sold. stuff that i think isn't nice gets trashed. i don't give raggedy stuff to charity. i get boxes and bags and my paper shredder and then i tear through the whole entire place, downsizing. it's a very cool thing. it's like, going through my stuff gives me a chance to see how i'm doing. you know how archaeologists of ancient cultures go to dig sites and look at the people's stuff and then draw from their knowledge of human behavior to get an understanding of who those people were? when i purge my house, it's kind of like the same thing, except i'm getting an understanding of myself instead of others.

as i evolve as a person, my stuff changes. and the difference between wanting or needing something in the past and not wanting or needing it now signals a change in me. purging gives me the opportunity to notice the changes and the growth. i think that otherwise, i would be changing and evolving without any markers of the change. and i like watching my changes. i remember that, as a child, i taped a growth chart to my bedroom door that stayed up for years. then i would take a ruler and make a mark on it before borrowing my dad's tape measure and finding out my height. as the lines went up the paper (which is one of those things i still have and will keep through this and future purges), i got a chance to see the process, instead of looking up one day and saying, "hey! i'm five four and three quarters! seems like just yesterday i was four eight... wow - when did that happen?" same thing with the purging. i witness the evolution in my sense of my personal style, taste in music, taste in books, homemaking and decoration preferences, spiritual wellness... it's great - it's like a progress report, telling me the direction i'm heading in. it's also good because it bolsters my confidence that i am not dependent on stuff. i am not a hopeless american consumer who has stuff just to have it. i never want to find satisfaction in simply being surrounded by (choked by, imprisoned by, enslaved by) stuff. the less stuff i have, the better.

maybe that's why, unlike many others, i like moving. i've done it enough in my adult life to be an expert - dorm to dorm, apartments, different cities and states. i like scavenging for boxes and wrapping my breakables in newspaper. i like having to find creative ways to fit my old stuff into new space. and i love to pack and unpack... 'cause i always wind up purging. so, this should be an interesting month, as i prepare to move into the city next month. i found a place last friday in a big brownstone on a tree lined street. i'm right around the corner from the drugstore, the sub shop, a couple laundromats, a little park, a grocery store, a coffee shop, all within walking or biking distance (once i get my bike)... it's great! i'm excited! and what's more, the place is smaller, which meeeeans... i have to purge. it's craaaaaaazy glory's!!! stuff liquidation! EVERY! THING! MUST! GO!!! i'm downsizing and purging and shaving time off my commute. i’m getting rid of all this stuff, and yet i feel like i'm gaining something. i couldn't be happier.