Toss it!

Today is January 5 and I just carried my fifth item into the garage and dropped it in the giveaway box.  This time it was something from my closet—a trove of seldom worn clothes (I'm in cowboy country now, where your best jeans and a silky shirt will get you in anywhere). A few days ago I cleaned my office closet, another motherlode of stuff. I've promised myself to get rid of at least one item every day during January. Of course 31 items won't get me far, I'll have to double up if I'm to make visible headway. Or maybe I'll just continue through the year. Imagine getting rid of 365 things you don't need. That's progress.

When we took our first long trip in 1977 (the one that inspired Camping with the Communists) we rented our house unfurnished, moving everything into a neighbor's garage. Then we spent seven months living in a VW camper van, where storage was minimal and designed around necessity. We came home to an empty three bedroom house. All that space—what joy! But instead, as each box or piece of furniture was carried in, I felt only the weight of those possessions. I didn't want any of them, and by the end of the day I was thoroughly depressed.

Since then, keeping our stuff at a reasonable level has been a continuing struggle. We are neither of us big shoppers or spenders, but we live in a consumer society and things keep coming in; little things, big things, every day. And Ray is a saver, especially if there's a family memory attached.

Moving often has, for me at least, been a blessing. It's easy to eliminate when you start sorting things into boxes.

Really? You need this? Really?

It seems right somehow, to start the new year cleanly, more organized, and with less clutter. I won't succeed; I know life is stacked against me. But I'll never give up trying.


Happy 2014 to all of you!