Thursday, February 12, 2009

(Pre) Spring Cleaning

I've been reading a lot online lately about people who said Fuck It All, sold their big houses in the cities where they had good jobs, and moved out to the country to live in a tent while they constructed a 300 or 400 or 500 square foot home, where they proceeded to live a low-stress, off-grid life. As a result, I've decided to take stock of all my stuff. What stuff could I get rid of and not miss? What stuff is essential?

One thing I have to admit to myself right away is that I have a big book problem. Up until I got married, I still had books that were my favorites in middle school. I've moved a lot, and I have to take the time out now to say Thank You and I'm sorry to those who've at any time helped me move. Not much sucks worse than hauling around boxes of books (or LP records) in endless succession. You don't really appreciate how many books you have until you take them off the shelf. Once you do, it's like the books expand, and you think "Holy Shit how can I possibly own so much stuff?"

I did a big book purge when I moved in with Wyatt, and I'm in the middle of another one. The other day I racked up $90 in credit with what I turned in at the used book store. I was so pleased with that it dissolved the earlier fury I'd worked up when I asked a RUDEASS employee a question and got an absolutely TWATTY response.

Enough of that. I like trading in books for credit because even if you use the credit for more book purchases, it translates into fewer books. About $30 of my credit went to the purchase of Collapse, Feast of the Goat, and When You Are Engulfed In Flames. Now I've got plenty to read for a few days and won't be tempted to watch TV. Or go to the library. The library's great, but I don't always feel like getting books back in on time, mostly because library parking is such a pain in the ass. Those bastards turned me over to a collection agency for $30 in overdue fees a couple of years ago. And I hate it when you check out a book and you realize you're going to want to keep for years and refer back to key passages. Because it's a library book, you're not supposed to underline in it, and you have to give it back. It puts you in a bad position because now you're going to have to buy the book from somewhere, probably a different edition, and re-read it to underline those passages. Um, how 'bout hell no?

I like to try things before I commit to keeping them. That's why I shop at Goodwill. You can never tell in the store if a piece of clothing is going to wear well or not, but if it only costs $3.75 you don't mind spending that to try it out. New clothes, on the other hand, are a bigger commitment. If you spend $50 on something, you'll feel bad about getting rid of it even if over time you find it makes you look like a bag lady or gives you blisters.

I also took a big load of stuff to Goodwill this week. I bought a linen jacket while I was there.

I wish I could put all my belongings in one pile so I could judge its size and get a true idea of how much stuff I own. Some of the stuff in the pile might start to look a lot less attractive.

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