One of my favorite bloggers just wrote about seeing an enormous mutant blue plastic thing outside her bedroom window that her passive aggressive husband apparently plans to use as his swimming pool. You can read about it here: really?
This has really piqued my curiosity. Do any of you have stories like this?
I’ve often told my passive aggressive husband that he’s like some old junk peddler. I picture him with that big cart wagon pulled by a horse, scouring the countryside for ‘finds’ to haul home.
It’s not that I can’t love a good day of going to yard sales or thrift stores. I’m just hesitant and selective to actually get things. My husband furtively sneaks in trips to the thrift stores in town, then kind of hides or slips the stuff he gets into the house or garage. More stuff.
It did come in handy when the dvd player broke. He had one he picked up for ten dollars hiding in some recess somewhere to replace it. This actually happened a few times in a row in the last couple years. No kidding.
We live rurally, so we have to haul our trash to the dump. People often leave usable things for someone else to find and recycle with new use, which is a good thing. The bad part is that my husband is the one who hauls our trash, and more stuff has surreptitiously filled our outbuildings than I can keep track of. The danger is that bigger items also come home and get quietly placed in the already overflowing with stuff outbuildings. I’ll need something really big to haul it all off one day.
The really bad part for me right now is that it adds to my feeling of being overwhelmed by stuff.
I’m facing the accumulation of a few decades and several kids. While I’m not usually the one who is in the acquisition role of ‘stuff’, there are still gifted things, things outgrown, things no longer used, and things needing repair etc. All the ‘stuff’ that happens with the years of life with kids and living. My problem is being the kind of packrat, the kind that was afraid to get rid of something that might be needed later. The other Achille’s heel I have with ‘stuff’ is sentimentality, and the historian within.
Aww… I remember when he wore this little shirt. I wonder if she’ll want to show this Sunday School certificate to her kids one day? He might want this story he wrote in grade school when he gets old enough to want to remember who he is. She tucked this little stuffed animal by her pillow every night. How can I throw it? I’ve had this book of fairy tales since I was four years old. What if my youngest wants to use this for crafts?
Since I tend to live too close to the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid, I really want to try to go through it all and sell as much of it as possible. If you haven’t lived through a significantly long time period where you worry about a roof over your head, utilities not being shut off, how to get your kid or yourself to a dentist or doctor, gas money for the car, car repair, and having money to buy basic groceries for the week ahead, then it’s the kind of thing you can imagine, but not really understand.
IF… I can look at any particular item of ‘stuff’ (clothes, books, dishes, decor, jewelry, toys etc.) quickly, I can force myself to emotionally disconnect and make a decision. I’m at the point where I can decide based on whether I find it beautiful, whether it’s actually used, or whether it holds irreplaceable value for me. In light of all those, I now add whether or not there are painful memories attached to any item, because that means some measure of energy drain for me each and every time I encounter or use it. My goal is to release as many things as possible that will make me feel sad. I’ve been sad for too long.
I need someone I can just hand it off to after making a decision. Decide and release. I don’t want to just organize and sort it. I want to purge it.
IF I have to do more than a cursory, objective decision about it, if I have to wash it, fold it, clean it, arrange it etc., then I begin to emotionally crumble bit by bit by bit. The sadness builds and accumulates and The Stuff wins. I tell myself to suck it up, but that only goes so far.
Stress overload happens that feels like meltdown, and then I put it off. I circle around it and try to find a strategy that will work.
I actually have some trauma in my history related to ‘stuff’. That doesn’t help.
Not that long ago, a dear friend lost her mother, and it was years ahead of when anyone would expect such a thing. Her mother had never gone through the decades of accumulated ‘stuff’, and it was on her mind so much until the end.
During the same time period, a beloved aunt of mine also died, and all the ‘stuff’ she always intended to go through but hadn’t, was also on her mind heavily until close to the end. I guess at some point, impending death finally pushes all the meaningless and temporal out of the way.
I don’t want to wait for that, and I feel buried alive in three and a half decades of life accumulated stuff. It’s so overwhelming, like staring down the pre-Hercules Augean stables. It’s like trying to pick up and sort hundreds of painful memories and triggers all in a row.
If you have any stories about your husband hauling junk home, or how you’ve dealt with your own ‘stuff’ to streamline your life, I’d love to hear about it!