Too Much

Six summers ago I was preparing to enter the novitiate, I spent an inordinate amount of time sorting, purging and packing my multiple belongings.  Carloads and carloads went to the parish for their rummage sale.  Some went to goodwill.  Some (mostly family stuff along with some sentimental non-essentials) went into storage.  And some was shipped to my room in the novitiate house in New Jersey.

Two years later, I went through a similar process for my return to the Pacific Northwest.  I took some things to the thrift store.  Shipped some boxes back to Seattle.  Filled my suitcases to the brim and flew west.  Once there, I set about retrieving items from my friend's basement that I'd put in storage.  Some more of that made its way to the thrift store as well.  The rest was crammed into my room with dribs and drabs in the basement of the community house where I live.

Now it's four more years later.  I STILL HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!!!!  I'm planning another move to Chicago in just over a month.  My plan is to take two suitcases and ship four boxes.  I'd like to leave a very minimal amount of stuff in storage, mostly family things.  So I return to operation sort, purge, pack.

The added wrinkle of course is that it's not just the same original piles of things getting smaller.  There are NEW things to be sorted, purged and/or packed.  Mostly paper, books and other items that make their way into my life somehow. True, if I add it all up at each stage I have less stuff.  But it's still way too much.

Today I was reminded of a conversation I had as a novice at one of my first Giving Voice gatherings.  A wise elder (she was probably in her late 30s at the time!) said to me something to the effect of "Get rid of your extra stuff now.  You'll be glad a few moves down the line."  Such wisdom!

I have grand visions of how minimal I'll be able to get in the next four weeks.  This afternoon I did manage to winnow six boxes of family and non-essential nostalgic items down to two and a half boxes.  Definite progress!  But so much more to go ...

The (never-ending?) path of simplifying.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Good for you Susan. Keep at it. Takes courage and trust you will have what you need. A spiritual practice for sure.