Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, April 28, 2008

World of Difference

"Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature."
-Thomas Kempis

Sunday afternoon Spouse and I spent an hour or two cleaning heartily. We emptied some cardboard boxes, decided on more superfluous items to be sent to the dumpster, tore up some papers, parted with a broken scanner we had had hopes of rescuing, dismissed an old lamp that we never use and never miss, and generally gathered an enormous and satisfying collection by the door.
The heap made us rather proud of ourselves for being able to let go, which we have become reluctant to do of late. There are long stretches of time where simply nothing wants to be disposed of and we must wait until we are ready to send things on their way. Yesterday, happily, was one of those days.
The pile remains by our door even now due to the rain but it matters not because the difficult part is done.
As I glanced out the window yesterday and mused on the weather, and on what we had done, I noticed one of our neighbours walking back and forth from her car to her apartment. It appeared that she had extended family visiting her and that they had brought the contents of an entire department store along with them.
Boxes and boxes were carried into the apartment by several visitors; perhaps, I thought, there was to be a wedding or some other occasion.
I reflected on the fact that people can be so different, and the things that bring happiness vary also. There, we saw, was one family bringing endless wrapped packages and appliances and gadgets and pieces of household ware into their home, while Spouse and I were doing our very best to keep the same out of ours.
From where I stood, the couple looked very happy. We are happy too.
Now, if only the weather would allow us to complete the assignment.


julochka said...

that's actually the beauty of the world, isn't it? that it takes different things to make us all happy and fulfilled. if we all wanted the same things, it would be SOooo boring!

jaime asked me earlier today if i loved living in denmark. and i realized (after i answered, of course) that it's about loving your life, no matter where it's lived. loving it for how you're living it and that it's being lived according to your choices with the people you love most.

that's the beauty in your story! that and it's so healthy to throw some stuff away!! i need to do that too!

Anonymous said...

Being a packrat at heart I have great difficulty parting with things. Sure enough whenever I get rid of something, a few weeks later I always seem to need it.


Beth said...

I enjoy your tales of downsizing--I think it's important to determine the essentials and then make choices about things beyond the essentials. But I guess for each of us the essentials might be different.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Julie, it would be very boring if we were all the same. There would be no motivation to do anything special.
You're right about loving your life; the things that matter are passing us by every day. The old saying, 'the grass is always greener on the other side' is applicable here because people 'always think somebody else has a better life when in fact every day counts and that's what life is made of- not waiting to find something else.

Steve- Oh, that happens to us too. Yesterday my Spouse came to me with a small booklet and said 'these are the instructions for that gadget I had' and I said 'where's the gadget then?' It turns out he threw it out about two weeks ago. Hmmm. But we weren't to know. It happens every time except if we keep something back just in case, that doesn't happen and we gather more clutter.

Beth, I like how you said that essentials are different for each of us- I can't expect everyone to have as many books as we do, and some people need a great big television which we don't, and so it balances nicely.

Jaime said...

How funny that you observed this, right after you did some clearing away!

I just did a full spring cleaning a couple of months ago. I'm someone who can't stand clutter, so the more I can pare down, the lighter and more free I feel.

Like you though, I absolutely positively cannot part with my books. I'm trying to go to the library more, but I just love to have them for my very own!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

tis the season for reduction (and for some acquisition).... seems as if spring cleaning fever is rampant these days!

reduce, reuse, recycle!!

like your new little avatar ;)

Pappy said...

The, I love throwing out old stuff. It makes life simpler. I rarely ever miss the items I discard.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Jaime, it was a strange coincidence indeed. We all do what makes us happy, in the end. I too feel lighter and clutter makes me anxious, actually :) I love the library but if I enjoy a book I want to own it. It's a tough one.
Kimy, thanks for your comment on the photo! We already feel much better. The pile went out this morning, and I'm feeling very good.
Texican, Stuff does complicate life. While I somewhat miss things days or weeks after they got thrown out, it's not so bad. We're careful about what goes out, and rarely make a mistake. We know what should go. It definitely makes things simpler.

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