This small apartment is crammed full of stuff — most of it mine, and much of it so very crammed in that we can’t get at it.

I keep paring down. I dropped off several big boxes of clothing at Goodwill and still I can’t see the back of the closet. I gave away a food processor and I still have two left. If a guest admires a [book/scarf/toy/kitchen tool], sometimes I give it to them on the spot and thank them for taking it.

The place is still littered with toys, games, DVDs still in their cellophane, shoes I’m waiting to break in, shoes I stopped wearing, beautiful trinkets that we were given and don’t need, winter coats that are too fancy, winter coats that aren’t fancy enough, books jammed into boxes where we can’t read them, favorite dresses hanging in the back of a deep closet where I forget them, luxurious bath oils turning sour and stale on the shelf, down comforters balled up under the bed getting musty.

My mindset of scarcity creates so much sad waste. I’m saving those bath oils, that velvet dress, those perfect shoes, that lovely down throw, the most delicate wineglasses, the expensive bottle of spirits, the crisp linen dish towels handed down from my grandmother, the folded swath of uncut lilac fabric. I’m saving them for LATER. I’m saving them for BEST.

But if BEST never comes, if it is never LATER, then those luscious goods, those indulgences, those luxuries… they sit and molder on the shelf.

I’ve made a resolution for September: each week, I pledge to use or dispose of at least seven unused, underused, or forgotten objects: one every day, or a week’s worth all at once, however it works out. No matter how much I give (or throw) away, the count resets each Sunday: if I toss out or rehome 30 items on September 1st, I still have seven to go the next week.

Expect the updates to be excruciatingly dull for everyone but me. After all, I’m the one unearthing those velvet dresses, drinking the expensive spirits, giving away toys, and opening up space in my cramped home.

Though September hasn’t started, I have: some construction in our building forced us to clear out a long-ignored closet. I threw out a dozen spoiled, soiled, spilled, or otherwise unsuitable objects.

4 thoughts on “abundance

  1. I love this. I started doing the same years ago and have gotten pretty good at keeping the herd* of possessions to a manageable size. I also have a rule about bringing new stuff in: if something is brought into the household then something has to go. It doesn’t have to be the same kind of thing, same size, same value, or anything like that, but it keeps the process going.

    *Pride? Clowder? Flutter? Thunder? Tittering?

  2. For some time, I’ve been reminding myself to use The Good Things: drink my wine from the eggshell-thin glass that’s a pleasure to hold, use the best soap*, wear the nicest shirt or skirt or shoes even if I’m on my own today. And I more-or-less practice the item-in/item-out rule.

    But that won’t make a dent in the avalanche of stuff. For that matter, neither will disposing of 30 items over a month. Of course, I’m hoping that this will spark a larger revamping, unloading, and freeing-up of space… but I’m taking small steps. Obviously, it would be ideal to get rid of much more clutter, but if I only manage to dispose of or rediscover 30 things in September, I’ll feel fine about it.

    *That’s my deep dark secret: the very nicest soap isn’t in the soap dish; it’s on the side of the bathtub because it is exclusively for me. Take that, honored guests: I buy triple-milled honey and beeswax soap and then I never share it. I WASH MY FEET WITH IT, DO YOU HEAR ME? MWAHAHAHA.

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