When I was a teenager my dad used to always mention "The Dukabors", some mythical African tribe which were meant to have the tradition/philosophy of burning down their homes and all their worldly possessions every seven years, and then starting all over again, only to burn it all up seven years down the track, etc, etc. I think dad probably made this tribe up, and I tired of him mentioning them: "Mazais, have I ever told you about the Dukabors?"...
But I have finally started to understand my Dad. And those mystical Africans. I am SO sick of all my stuff. MY stuff, HIS stuff, THEIR stuff. Stuff is the bane of my life. STUFF always gets in the way when I'm hurrying, the wrong type of STUFF gets thrown away and the useless kind of STUFF keeps hanging around (yes, they are my kitchen shelves above). Of course it doesn't help that Jeremy and I are hopeless hoarders. And that my job is that of museum curator and collection manager - I have spent most of my professional life trying to justify why certain STUFF is important, even though no-one else thinks so.
Our onslaught of stuff has started to overtake everything we do, we amassed all our stuff onto the cover of a CD that Jem designed a few months ago (see below).
I have started to have daydreams of being in a witness protection programme, in which my family and I get moved to a completely new place, an anonymous setting, an apartment with generic furniture and accessories, with no character, no personality, and have to just pick up life where we left off, without all of our STUFF following behind. To start my relationship with material possessions all over again - move somewhere with nothing, and every item that I chose to live with, would be chosen with purpose. Every item would be totally functional. Every item would have its place, and its reason for being in my life. I'd like to believe that in this ordered, functional world, my thought processes and my time would be a lot more ordered, too. Mind you, I have a certain two year old who would probably take great delight in following behind me and swapping the locations of all my rationally placed tools...
Most sane people seem to be able to achieve this clarity by ordering in a mini-skip - or 'the crusher' - and clearing out their old junk. But this seems like a total impossibility to me - I have neither the time nor the mental fortitude to do so. I get the feeling a few people in my family have this disease - we have left behind a double garage of (now mouldy) stuff in Brisbane, packed to the ceiling - and lord help the poor sucker who gets to unpack that baby. Mind you, it'll probably be me!
I realise that our impending move to our new (also mouldy) house in Agenskalns is the perfect opportunity for me to weed out the old stuff and just keep that which I need. But come on: you and I both know it's not going to happen! The best I can hope for is that I unpack the useful stuff, and the USELESS stuff stays in the removalist boxes and gets put down in the HAIR BASEMENT (that's another story) to make a partner to our double garage in Brisbane. And let my kids worry about cleaning it out some day!

One Response so far.

  1. Mara says:

    Marianna, I have similar issues with stuff. Having moved once every year or two for the last 8 years I have had no choice but to get rid of "stuff". Mind you, Joel would tell you that I have done a VERY good job of building it back up since I have been in Latvia 2 full years.

    I have to say though...sometimes I REALLY miss my old stuff (especially clothes that may or may not fit again now). But I also realy miss my old picture frames and house hold niceties... vases and candles and other "stuff" that there wasn't room for in the suitcase when I was moving again. I think there is a balance to be found with stuff...having only stuff that has a purpose would be boring and life-less. Having too much sentimental or "I'll use it someday" stuff is also not good. When you move, I will come help you pack... I have learned to be ruthless when it's packing time...if it doesn't fit or hasn't been used in the last 6 mos, then it's OUT!!! :)

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