Thursday, April 4, 2013

On closets full of stuff

This post by The Frugal Girl, about how much stuff is the right amount of stuff, has been on my mind.

It seems like not that long ago*, Peanut and I lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in New York. Our things fit easily into the apartment, and it seemed sort of absurd that we hired movers to move it across the country.

Then we lived in a slightly larger one-bedroom apartment, and we had an empty closet and an empty storage room in the basement, because we just did not have enough things to fill them.

Then we moved into a three-bedroom house, and we marveled that the people who lived here before us moved because they needed more room for their family. How could anyone feel confined in a house, we thought. We have an entire floor that we don't use. We have two rooms to use as giant closets! We are rattling around in here!

I don't really feel like that anymore.

It's not just the stuff that accumulates with a baby, although that's certainly part of it. It's not even that we have taken hand-me-down from family, so we now have a partially-furnished guest room and the beginnings of a rec room in the basement. It's just that there's a lot of stuff that doesn't get used.

And I didn't realize that it wasn't about the space but about the stuff until recently.

I'm not very sentimental and it's pretty easy for me to let most things go. I feel strongly that things should be used and not stored away being useless. But I've been hanging on to a number of things and it's weighing me down, because it's keeping me from being who I am now.

I've been holding on to books that I picked up at my old job so that I could read them someday, but I'm never going to get to. For a while I was considering an MBA, so there were lots of management insight type books, which I am just no longer interested in (plus, if you've read one, you've pretty much read them all in my experience). There's some fiction that I really don't want to spend my time on, and there's poetry - and if I know one thing about myself, it's that poetry is really not my bag. So out the door they are going.

I've got several things that I keep meaning to put on Craigslist - mostly purchases that I almost immediately regretted but couldn't return for whatever reason. A cat house our cat has never even deigned to look at, a lamp that doesn't match anything else, lots of other odds and ends.

I'm hanging onto a dozen professional belly dance costumes. They're gorgeous and they hold great memories of my time in a company, but they are not being used. Not only am I not performing anymore, but my body has changed since giving birth in such a way that they will never fit me again. I'm having a hard time facing this fact - it's the starkest reminder I have that I am not the same person that I was two years ago.

And while I am in fact tremendously happy in my life now, it's so weird to officially say good-bye to the woman I was then. It's hard to realize that doors are not only shut, but that you are the one who shut them. Still, I think I will feel a bit lighter when I embrace the fact that the past was, and the present is, and the road connecting them is sure and firm, even if it is only one way.

* Less than two years, actually.

1 comment:

  1. You might want to keep some of your old costumes if you have the room for them. When I was young I loved dressing up in my mom's old clothes. She kept a very small storage box in the basement that contained her wedding dress, (which was a simple white dress not a poofy monstrosity), a belly dancer Halloween costume and some dresses from the 70s with wide arms and crazy patterns. If you have the room for just one or two things I bet your daughter would love to play in them when she gets older. It's the idea that my mom wore them when she was young that made me love them. Just a thought.


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