I found the articles about possessions really intriguing. When we moved to the UK we had to really prioritise what we thought was worth keeping. What books make the cut? What trinkets and ornaments? What stuff? I think we got everything we thought that was worth it into something like 11 boxes. This included our children’s books (both the books themselves and ones about the authors/illustrators), reference books (like Masterplots), books about the Pre-Raphaelites, my Oz collection, a few theatre books, fairy tales, books about Star Trek and The Prisoner (those were Spiderman’s), books about spiders (obviously) plus a handful of fiction that we turn to again and again like Watership Down or the short stories of Jack Finney. We had lots of mini collections but we narrowed it down to hedgehogs, rocks and minerals, spiders and Oz (as far as having lots of items under one theme) as well as autographs. Oh and glass bottles. We like to collect old unusual shaped bottles with glass stoppers and fill them with coloured water. They really brighten up a room. But the rest of it--gone. There was no way I was giving up my Oz Barbie Dolls. Have I ever mentioned that I own Oz Barbie dolls???? Well I do. Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion and Glinda plus 3 munchkins. And Dorothy’s ruby slippers light up and says “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more!” and “There’s no place like home!” These are possessions I treasure and would never part with.
Since we’ve moved here we’ve added here and there to collections. And books. We’ve bought more books. Hundreds of books--but all within the above guidelines. Not just any book. Any book that looks interesting is borrowed through the library or from a friend to try it out first and the rule is “As long as there is shelf space it can be bought. When the space runs out, the choice is to get rid of something else to make room or do without it.” In the past we would have just bought another bookshelf. The same goes for CDs and DVDs. When the storage containers are full--they are full. When you want something, it is time to get rid of something you don’t need to make room. Simple.
I find 99% of the time we really only buy what we need. My first question is always “Do we actually need it?” If the answer is yes then I ask “Can I make it myself?” This has worked when I need a backpack and a new key chain and when both Spiderman and I needed new wallets. This also works if I need new clothes. Then I try to look second hand first to see if I can find it that way. I’ve found all sorts of useful containers for less than £1. We are working hard to have a place for everything and everything in its place. If it doesn’t have a place, then it doesn’t belong. We have just bought 2 more sets of shelves--one each--to be for storage for ongoing projects and craft materials.
How cluttered are you? Are you weighed down with stuff? We have been conditioned to believe that luxuries are a necessity, that we need things that most of the world doesn’t even dream of having. They’d be happy with clean water, shelter, some food. How much do we really need to be happy? See my next post about the 100 things challenge!