Stuff

Last Saturday was the first day that I felt fully well, I had my energy back and, frankly, I kicked some major butt over the weekend. I’m in the process of moving. Not from my home. From one storage stall to a bigger storage stall. My daughter’s moving back home for an undetermined length of time, and so I’m now having to figure out what to do with everything. It’s all chaos!

Here’s what’s important to know ~

  1. Three years ago, my daughter moved into the 1,200 square foot house that I’d been using as my artist’s studio and that I had packed to the brim with art supplies, crafting material, collections, furniture and knick knacks. So I had to get rid of stuff or find places inside my home to utilize or store said stuff and then I had to find a storage stall large enough to hold what was left. I completely filled that 1,200 square foot house. It’s been difficult to let go of so much.
  2. It’s taken me over three years (so far) to grieve giving up my art studio/house, which is actually a rent house on my parent’s property. My parents (well, now just my Dad) lives next door to this space. This house is no longer available for rent because Dad believes he can rent it out for a lot more money than what he was renting it out to me before my daughter took over. I can’t afford what he’s wanting in rent now.
  3. One of the rooms I moved some of that stuff into was my daughter’s former bedroom when she left, which became our “guest room,” except the only guest that’s slept in it in the last three years is my daughter. Sooo, was it really a guest room? Now I have to take everything I put in that room back out and figure out what to do with it or where to store it so she can move back.
  4. My stuff is all good stuff. It’s not shit. It’s not clutter. It’s my stuff. GOOD STUFF THAT I WANT TO KEEP.

  5. She’s moving in February 1; that means that she’s started to move some stuff to our house already.
  6. She’s also bringing her dog with her.
  7. Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method can stuff her sparked joy.
  8. Everything I own sparks joy…bitch.

  9. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I must be part dragon because I have a tremendous treasure hoard that I appreciate very much and I’m passionate about it and I’m willing to protect it with much drama and intimidation.
  10. Creative people with active imaginations and delusions of all the projects they’re going to create, who also have a hoarding gene and serious collections of stuff, should not be allowed to shop, especially alone with a credit card and 1,200 square feet of space.

So last Saturday, as we were hauling boxes of stuff from one stall to the bigger stall (which isn’t all that much bigger if you ask me), it occurred to me that I need to get rid of a lot more stuff in order to make room in the new stall so it can hold even more stuff that I’m going to have to fit into it. Big stuff like furniture. So I made a call to someone I vaguely know who used to have her own art studio, but who closed her rented space down (she now holds classes inside her garage) and she also teaches a once-a-month painting class to a group my son is involved with. She lives about 45 minutes away, but I called her anyway to see if maybe she might be interested in some free material and when she might be able to meet up with me if she was interested.

Who knew that she was in my town right when I called her and could come right then? Who knew that she had such a big SUV? Who knew that she was also bringing along a friend?

It was chaotic when we started going through boxes. I would quickly check a box to make sure that whatever was in it was something that I didn’t need before it was packed into her SUV. There was damned little that I offered that she didn’t take. Her friend asked whether I had a bed frame or a dresser. I told her that, unfortunately, I didn’t have either.

It was all going fairly quickly and smoothly, but whenever Ry’s instructor balked about taking something, her friend would say, “No. Take it. If you can’t use it, I can.” At one point, I unearthed several jars of fake, plastic gemstones that my dad had given me (because I’m creative) that I never used. Her friend gasped, “Oh, Wow! Now we can bedazzle the shit out of everything!” Ryan’s instructor reprimanded, “Hey, shhh, watch your language!” I said, “No worries. There’s not one word you can say that Ryan, David and I haven’t said multiple times.” I don’t even remember her friend’s name now. Was it Jennifer, maybe?

I would like to say that I just let go of a few hundred dollars’ worth of stuff. Deep down, I know it went well into the thousands, though. David seconded me on thinking it was in the thousands. Less than an hour later, when Ry’s instructor couldn’t cram anything else into her vehicle and she was crying uncle, she said, “My husband’s going to kill me. I have no idea where we’re going to store everything!” She asked if she could pay us…something. She looked like she was in shock. David and I said, “No. Thank you for taking it.” I told her that she was doing us the favor. I told her that if she needed more in the future, she had my phone number.

After she left, David, Ryan and I headed down to our local diner for a bite to eat. I felt good that we’d gotten so much done and that I was able to let so much go.

By the time we got to the restaurant, though, the adrenaline was wearing off and I started coming down from the high of sparking so much joy in someone else’s life. I drank two cokes. I barely ate anything on my plate.

On one hand, I was glad to see the materials go to someone who appreciated them and will be able to use them in a creative way instead of David and me having to continue to pay month-to-month to endlessly store them or having to unload them at a donation center. I’m grateful that everything fell into place at just the right time and she was able to take so much; even if it feels like we only made a dent.

On the other hand, I’m grieving this loss of what all of that stuff represented in my life. Fuck Marie Kondo and her minimalism. My hoarding, dragon gene that used to paint and craft and create and while away hours in a creative flow that made it feel like time stood still, that creative me who felt closer to God more then than at any other time, that me is in mourning.

Then before we even left the diner, I got a text from a different friend of Ryan’s instructor. She said she’d gotten my number from her and was hoping that she might be able to come by and take a look at all of my stuff. In particular, she was looking for free glitter but was open to whatever else I might have. Was I available to meet with her on Monday? And sure enough, right after that, Ry’s instructor also texted me confirming that “Susie” might get in touch with me.

And that kind of annoyed me. But young people, what are they if not annoying? Anyway, I texted back that I’d have to look around for glitter, but I’d get back with her on Friday and then we could go from there. She replied, “Yes ma’am, and thank you!”

And that annoyed me even more. The being called “ma’am” part. Yes, I’m getting older-ish…but I’m not her grandma. Or her aunt. Or her teacher. I’m just a stranger she’s never met with too much stuff. “Ma’am” conjures thoughts of aging; and if you’re going to ask for freebies from me, it’s best that you not make me feel any older than I want to feel. And never mind what age that is. It’s not “ma’am” age, though.

Also, I don’t recall saying that I wanted to get rid of any glitter. Of course, I don’t recall telling Ry’s instructor to send any of her friends my way for free supplies either. Know why? Because I didn’t. That’s at the very least presumptuous and overstepping. However, you never know; maybe I have some extra glitter hanging around. Honestly, I feel like I probably do. And yet, I’m not sure I want to give it up.

It’s my fucking glitter that I spent my hard-earned money for and glitter isn’t what’s taking up too much space in my stall.

Bitch.

Okay, I know, that was uncalled for. It felt good though…and she’s never going to read this.

What I really don’t want is people I don’t know coming with an outstretched hand for free supplies simply because they’re friends with Ry’s instructor, who I barely even know. So, hopefully, my being not so available sent the right message to Susie. And Jennifer if she’s paying attention. Don’t worry. If that isn’t enough of a deterrent, I know how to be blunt.

The thing is, I’ll never again sell painted crosses and picture frames and canvases that one needs a booth in order to display in and sell out of because I’ll never rent another booth. Most of the Café Brazils (restaurants) I used to also sell out of have closed down and so there’s no place to sell artwork without getting into a commitment of renting space from someone somewhere. So, no thanks. And yes, these things needed to go.

I’m so glad and sad at the same time.

Anyway, I’m sure that in the confusion and chaos of last Saturday, I gave stuff away that I didn’t mean to as I rushed to just let stuff go. I’m sure I’ll be searching for things I won’t be able to find in the future and then I’ll worry why I can’t find them. I won’t know what those things are until it happens, but no doubt they’ll be sentimental and irreplaceable.

So I know I put on a really good front — all smiles and laughter with a generous heart urging to take, take, take. I meant it at the time as well. I still do. Maybe I have the ability to compartmentalize really well because now is when I feel what I’ve done. It’s weird. I knew what I was doing when I was doing it. I know that what I’m doing/what I did is also the right thing for me to do at this time in my life. But even with good intentions and freely giving stuff up, I’m grieving. Even so, I’m having to suck it up, buttercup, because that’s the price.

I’d cry if I could; but I think part of me is still in shock. Besides, what I’m going through right now seems too first-world problem-ish if you know what I mean. I know I should simply appreciate and be joyful of my life here and now and stop being such a whiny baby. Who bitches about having too much when there are so many that have too few?

Anyway, in my world — the one where I have to get rid of times three of whatever I bring into my house because I have too much (for instance, if I buy a new shirt, I have to find three shirts in my closet and give them away or if I buy some new decorative item, I have to give up three similar items), I feel like I’ve evened up the score whenever I might have fudged here or there by not letting enough things go when new things have come in. The thing is, at the moment, I’m fighting for every inch of useable or storable space in this house. It’s tough finding nooks and crannies that can hold one more thing without bursting.

I’m sure that this year will involve even more purging.

Over the past several years, I’ve felt so burdened because I’ve had too much to keep up with, to take care of, to deal with. So you’d think I’d feel lighter in spirit, giving away that which has only held me down. They say that you can’t take it with you when you die, but, trust me, it won’t be for a lack of trying on my part. Maybe I’m too materialistic, but, then again, I appreciate what I have and have had, and I realize that I may not ever be able to own more of the same in the future, so getting rid of stuff feels permanent. As irrational as it sounds, part of me worries that I may need some of it in the future, but it won’t be there and I won’t be able to replace it.

If I were smart, I’d at least have a garage sale or sell it online. However, and this is a sign of my aging I think, I value my time more than dollars at this point. (Those words will probably come back to haunt me!) Having to go through all the steps of taking pictures of stuff, putting it online, and then packaging and sending it off for a mere few dollars isn’t worth it to me — even if those dollars add up. Neither is it worth the stress of haggling with people at a garage sale or dealing with the thieves that inevitably show up and steal from you while you’re talking to someone else. No thanks.

This, in part, is the 2020 me saying goodbye to the creative me who existed between the years 2007 and 2016.

I started doing art as a way to get through an extraordinarily difficult period of time in our lives and it snowballed from there. And so this is also the 2020 me saying goodbye to the me who has been in flux in the years since I let go of my 1,200 square foot art studio, that part of me that’s been on the fence about continuing to play with canvas and paint and wood and embellishments. Those creative years were glorious, when I was an artist that actually made art and sold it for a profit. Those days felt like they would never end. Those were the days when I couldn’t keep my art in stock and I had project after project lined up. I was always scared I was going to run out of supplies. I was always buying stuff that was on sale in order to get a great price.

But then work stopped. And all of a sudden there wasn’t a market for what I was selling and I had too much of everything. Eventually, maybe people will be interested in that sort of art again, but I won’t be the one making it and selling it. By then, I really will be too older-ish. Instead, hopefully, I’ll remember good memories, along with some not so good memories, I suppose. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to let go of three bad memories for every good memory I think about. That would be a good trade-off. That might really lighten my load.

Also, there’s writing.

And there’s also George Carlin, may he rest in peace ~

TTFN,

Mona

22 thoughts on “Stuff”

  1. This was really lovely and bittersweet. I can understand the difficulty of letting go of things, even things you know you may never use. There’s a reason I still have a copy of The Martian Chronicles somewhere in the back of a bookcase that’s so overstuffed the shelves are sagging. I may never read that book again, and if I ever want to I have easy access to libraries, but that particular copy is mine and I’ve carried it for years and letting go of it feels like letting go of part of myself. It was there during some tough times.
    What I really want to say here, though, is that you took a sad and difficult experience and you still found joy in it, and you created something from it. You bedazzled the shit out of it.

    Reply
    • Lee,
      You probably did. It wasn’t me, though! I used to love watching Hoarders. It always got me in the mood to clean. Do they still have that on TV? Also, it sounds like you’ve got a touch of the Dragon Pox yourself! Totally get it! 😉 Mona

      Reply
  2. I’m already old (forget the er-ish – I’m there) and had an impossible time dumping 40 years worth of stuff when we had to move to a much smaller apartment. A ‘gleaner’ was supposed to take all my stuff and hold a garage sale in her neighborhood and give me 1/2. Well, that never happened. What’s worse is that a bunch of the stuff I gave her came from MY mother and was in perfect working condition and will never be replaced. And then she and her posse came back and broke into my screened in porch to take my hurricane shutters which I SPECIFICALLY told here she could NOT have. I’m positive she just dumped everything that wasn’t metal and sold everything for pennies per pound – instead of selling (e.g. new bread maker) an item for what it was. All the while I’m getting over ‘dust pnemonia’ from the thousands of books I was sorting through to sell to someone local that I met on Craig’s list – she got several thousand books (romances) gave me about $100 and promised to come back with the rest of the money. (Many hundreds of dollar more). Of course, I never heard from her again either.
    So I understand the mourning you’re going through. I want to say it will pass (and in many cases it will), but there are some items I could just kick myself for getting rid of. Water under the bridge.
    Chin up. You’re not alone.

    Reply
    • Barbara,
      Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh, my God! I weep for what you’ve gone through and am so angry that you were treated like that! Your bad experiences and words of caution are what I feel deep down in my soul! You’ve not dealt with one, but two complete jackasses! Unconscionable! Don’t you worry. Karma will bite both of their asses hard! Just you wait! (God I’m using a lot of “!”) I will be quoting what you wrote for a very long time to everyone who will listen, my friend! A great big hug to you! Mona

      Reply
  3. ” Everything I own sparks joy…. bitch.”
    Amen to that and all those oh so chipper home organizers.
    I don’t care if I haven’t worn that shirt in 6 years, I’m keeping it!
    Don’t get me wrong, I love a good clean out now and then… and can be merciless, but no one else better even try to tell me what to heave.

    Reply
  4. Hmmm… I liked the dragon analogy. I believe you are right on that point. I just purged basically everything I own, to live in an RV. I don’t miss my stuff tho. Maybe someday I will? There are a few pairs of shoes I miss, I guess. I started doing different kinds of crafts while we RV. My furniture restoration projects had to stop. I used a little neighborhood selling site. I listed ‘Sunday Porch Sale, FREE’ on the site. Folks would come to look on Sundays… went on for two months. I never even walked out of the front door, just watched the stuff disappear. I got ‘we will miss you’ messages when I’d got rid of everything… but I digress. You are a grown-ass woman. Fuck Marie and her spark joy BS. You just put the kibosh on this and rent a storage unit! Peace out, my friend!!!

    Reply
    • Hey Kim,
      Let me tell you, I’m feeling like a mama dragon in more ways than one right now! See, now you had a really good experience and you had such a good reason to let go of stuff! The storage unit is rented. We’re about to head out there right after I finish writing this. I always thought that one of these days I want to do a Swedish Death Clean, but after just going through the pain of this, it may be a very long time before that happens! What I don’t want is to continue to accumulate stuff and then leave it to my kids to have to deal with when I’m gone. While I’ve got strong hoarding tendencies, my Dad is a bona fide hoarder (yeah, it runs in families.) Guess who’s going to have to deal with his hoard when he decides to leave this mortal plane? And what he hoards isn’t worth much of a damn, so it won’t be like I’ll be able to sell any of his stuff…but the clean up? I can’t even imagine. Ugh. You know how some objects are supposed to be haunted? Not the house, but like a piece of furniture or an old doll or whatever? Sometimes, I wonder, what happens if that becomes my fate after I die? What if my judgment will be to haunt an object that I currently own? I walk around looking at stuff sometimes wondering what that object would most likely be. Will I be the genie in the purple cow cookie jar? Will it be the doll or quilt I’ve had since I was a baby? Will it be one of the canvases I created? I think I’m going mad.
      Mona

      Reply
      • Choose a doll to haunt! People freak out when a doll moves. You might as well be a scary haunt. It’s all good Mona! So you got stuff, your Dads a hoarder, it’ll be a wicked clean up job… who cares. At least ‘stuf-f-f’ is your only vice! You aren’t hurting anyone. Just enjoy your things, pick your haunt, don’t go mad, and relax. We are only here for a short time! If these things bother you, deal with a little bit at a time. One drawer, one box… but I think you might feel as if they ‘should’ bother you? That’s crazy making! You can have your things! It’s no ones business but your own! You are just fine, my friend. All good.😊💜

        Reply
  5. I don’t get it. But I love that you are a dragon and I support your efforts to get rid of stuff, or to acquire stuff, whatever makes you happy. As long as you don’t do too much of both at the same time and tear yourself in half!

    Reply
  6. I don’t think you’re hurting because of giving away the actual stuff, and I don’t believe your brain when it’s focused on the dollar value of it all. What you just had to do, quickly and without a chance to ease into it (but would any of us actually do that?), is give up part of your identity (not really but it sure as Hell feels like it). That’s very real and deserving of kicking off the grief process, and ouch. Also, mail Susie a glitter bomb. Want me to do it, so it will come from out-of-state? You know what to do.

    Reply
    • Lille,
      You know me better than I know myself sometimes! Sending a glitter bomb or two would make me feel better!😉

      Reply
  7. I’m exactly the same way—everything I have is something I love. How can I let go when it brings me joy? I’m waiting right now for a woman to come and buy an antique screen that I adore but I redecorates and don’t have a place for it now. And I hate that.

    Reply
  8. Suzanne,
    I wish I had some of your willpower! At present, I have two metal, tripod screens. I have one in front of the small, diamond-paned window in my home to try and deter a very eager Buddy who jumps at these windows with all of his 45 lbs whenever anyway walks by. Now the window is starting to bow outward and before long, the whole thing is going to come crashing down. Ugh! Buddy is turning out to be a very expensive dog. Anyway, I’m hoping that the other much more ornate screen (and is made of wrought iron) will do a better job of protecting the glass panes. The first one has helped, but he still manages to push at the window with his nose. The second screen has been with my daughter and, hopefully, she’ll bring it back with her in the next few days when she moves home. That’s the thing; I have stuff that I move around. When I’m not using it, I tend to put it in storage because I know that one day, I’ll use it again. Often I don’t know when or what for, but stuff always comes in handy when I need it. I’m so sorry to hear about your having to get rid of your screen! However, I’m excited that you’re getting to redecorate! Always fun! Mona

    Reply
  9. When I look around me at all the random crap that hardly sparks joy but isn’t necessarily mine to selflessly donate, I feel your pain at having to part ways with things that actually do bring you joy and happiness. Sure, sometimes less is more… except when it involves things that truly matter to you. Especially glitter. I’m sure even Marie Kondo would understand that…

    Reply

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