I'm sure you remember him - he was the pack rat in Charlotte's Web with the greedy disposition. Well, I have been reminded of my own greed recently, the result of cleaning out my storage room (and now my home) in search of things to sell off at our multi-family garage sale this weekend.
Who knew I could have accumulated so much stuff, and stuff I don't even need?!? In my cleaning endeavors I discovered a brand new set of knives I forgot existed, and I learned that I have about 7 coffee mugs too many. I also realized that our gorgeous set of cutlery (a wedding gift from off our registry) was starting to collect dust because I had been greedily holding on to my old cutlery, refusing to be rid of it since it was still functional (at what point do forks and spoons become non-functional? Quarter to never.). Add to that an old iron (still functional) and an old coffee maker (also in good working order), plus several plastic cutting boards and nearly a dozen plastic meal containers. What was I storing these things up for? A war?!?
In going through our multitude of boxes and suitcases, I also found many "treasures" in the form of gifts from former students, stuffed animals I forgot I owned, way too many books I no longer read (or knew I had), and several sets of dishes that I had packed away, intending to give away, but never got around to doing. My thorough cleaning also yielded an abundance of cardboard boxes (ones that formerly housed Hubbs' Transformer guys, or small kitchen appliances, or laptop computers) and many unsellable items, like expired vitamins and protein powder and old Easter candies (from at least a year ago).
Highly embarrassed, I find myself wondering how I could have accumulated such an abundance of junk, especially when I returned to Canada no more than 3 years ago, with only 4 suitcases' worth of stuff. I have also been regularly purging our home of unused clothing items and (so I thought) other broken and/or unwanted items, like old humidifiers and vacuum cleaners and blenders. How did all these other things escape notice?
I need to lead a simpler life, I've concluded. Actually, both Hubbs and I have realized this. We have excesses that we do not really need or want, and these things clutter up our homes and our lives. We need to get rid of the things that weigh us down, that have little or no value to us, and that do not enrich us as people.
This garage sale is a first step, but I think the process of simplification, of undoing the greed, will be a far longer journey. It will require Hubbs and I to re-evaluate what is important to us, and what is disposable. It will force us to scrutinize our spending habits and our lifestyle, and to eliminate things that are a waste of our space and time and money. It will require sacrifice - the giving up of our "wants" and our frivolous desires borne out of human nature's inclination to possess.
Most importantly, it will require that we change our thinking. We need to stop equating needs with wants, stop comparing our "stash" with those of others, and stop believing that happiness and self-worth are derived from what one has, rather than who one is.
It's going to be a hard journey, and a long one at that, but let's see if we can't succeed in making our lives a little less cluttered and greed-ridden and materialistic, shall we?