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declutterifying

February 15, 2008

zora naki

i’ve had this bloody song running through my head since yesterday.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

One of my goals for this year is to get lose 100 lbs – of clutter. The seething mass of crap that lives in our basement seems to breed in the darkness, and makes every attempt to escape from the confines of the boxes and bins it lives in. We used to move every year or so (babies, work), and this helped to contain the situation – at least it had to fit into our storage locker or the U-haul.

basement clutterBut now that we’ve settled in for the long run, things have gotten much worse. I like having a small house – in fact, we purposely chose a smaller home – our priorities were access to public transit, walking distance to groceries and other amenities and a great urban neighbourhood – and we got all of those things. Plus, I don’t really understand the mentality of having a living room for show and a family room for daily use – do people really need all of that space? On the other hand, I don’t think having 2 bedrooms is going to work for the 5 of us in the long run, and we do plan to finish the basement to incorporate bedrooms, another bathroom, and an office (we both work from home).

We’re going to need to clear out the crap to have room to do some renovating. It just gives me an uneasy feeling, knowing that the main floor may be tidy, but there’s a disaster lurking behind the basement door – like hannibal lector grinning at you, while mulling recipes in his head that involve your bits.

Compounding the problem is the fact that I like to shop. I really like to shop. I read somewhere that they’ve measured hormone levels of women and men anticipating christmas shopping, and for women it can be an ecstatic experience, whereas for most men, their stress levels approximate those of a fighter pilot.

I’ve tried to fight my natural inclinations towards accumulating by channeling my shopping impulses towards “good” consumerism – environmentally friendly, organic, fair trade – or “utilitarian” – loosely defined as more bins to organize my stuff or household-related tools. But it’s hard. A lot of the magazines I read focus on the sourcing and accumulating of more stuff. I’m not just talking In Style, but even Dwell or Natural Home are filled with new ways to spend your money on eco-friendly, design-conscious stuff. That looks really cool, and comes in so many colours, and would look perfect in the…

You see what I mean? It’s not so much about keeping up with the Joneses down the block. Competitive materialism has moved to a world stage. There are so many neat ways to spend money now! Everywhere!

Sigh. As you can tell, I still have a ways to go on my Buddhist quest for desirelessness.

In the meantime, I will work on the basement. Made a start on it last week with my mom’s help – 3 garbage bags of junk, 3 garbage bags of recycling, 2 boxes of giveaway items, and a small corner of order restored. Baby steps…

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One Comment

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  1. lednew3 #
    March 23, 2008

    I really could’nt comment on your gardening skills, but could read you all day….

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