Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What We Don't Need...

I love Brooklyn stoop sales, don't get me wrong. But passing them with kids is impossible. Despite having bagged up five full loads of little plastic things for the garbage, another three big Ikea bags for our own stoop sale and, somehow, still retaining a full complement of useless &*%4, the kids still wanted dollars from my wallet for more.

I met the gaze of the seller, whose eyes apologized, just as I do when I have my own sale.

"We all just have WAY too much stuff!" I said.

She agreed, which is why she was here, after school, sitting on the steps surrounded by things, not nearly enough of the things she needed to get rid of.

"I had too much stuff with me on vacation for two weeks, then I came home and realized it was only a small fraction of what I have and don't need..." I shuddered. "It's disgusting."

I gave Karen a gold star for her efforts to de-clutter. It is a crucial effort, especially in the cramped quarters most New Yorkers live in, without basements or attics to put things away, out of sight, out of mind. It is a good reminder, though, to be surrounded by all you have so that you don't get too carried away. My new rule is that something has to go out before something else comes in. I have a weak spot for sidewalk finds--books, shoes...I did pass on a bikini recently, although it looked promising. But enough is enough, even for free.

"Simplify," a friend advised me not too long ago when I said I felt overwhelmed taking care of all I had. And he is right, of course. Stoop sales are a good start, although with them comes a little guilt: your neighbor likely doesn't need this stuff either. Oh well. And so the world's stuff goes round...

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