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April 13, 2011

This Is How We Do It

A few nights and wines ago I made a sweeping proclamation that I would reduce my stuff by one half. Ah, my friends, that is one lofty goal. When I get in a frame of mind I'm like Scarlett in the dramatic potato-eating scene. I love to do things all dramatical and AS GOD IS MY WITNESS! Then of course I wake up the next morning and have a cup of coffee and think, "What? Really? Do I have to wear this dress made of curtains to the grocery store?"

In this case I feel very happy about the proclamation because it feels right. The elusive and delicious feeling of control is there, of course, but beneath it all is the sense that I'm freeing myself. And wasn't that my (possibly ill-fated) New Year's Resolution, anyway? "Lighten up!" I said. I meant it jauntily but apparently the entity in control of Resolution Enforcement is wicked literal.

When I make the decision to hold on to everything (read: hoard) it comes from pure fear. I prefer making decisions that liberate me, decisions that come out of hope. Holding/hoarding is my way of digging my heels in and refusing to move one. more. inch. That isn't a strategy for right now, I really do not want to dig my heels into this part of my life, in fact I will be blissed out when this portion moves along. I'm sure there are layers below layers of this crazy onion we could unpeel all day long. But let's get back to the One-Half Proclamation!

This week I am putting the proclamation to work as I unpack. I'm keeping my ONE HALF (As God is My Witness!) in mind as I unpack and handle each item. Small decisions. One by one they will add up -- piles for the Goodwill, the local library, friends, and maybe a few items to sell, charities, folks who may enjoy this one thing.

I'm going micro, item by item. This is the perfect example:


While unpacking the kitchen boxes and I found the fondue pots. Yes, pots, plural. I have one that is so me, styled straight out of some 1960s housewife dream kitchen and I love it. But I don't think I would ever use it for fondue since it's probably made of lead and asbestos. Which is why I have another fondue pot which I have used exactly twice in ten years. I don't even like it. Or like fondue all that much, because of the possible germ transfer while sharing. No one said germaphobia was cute, OK? Don't judge.

I gave the like-new and very clean fondue pot and matching fondue forks to a good friend who adores fondue. I'm keeping the rockin' 1960s pot I love and I'm going to display it and maybe use it as a place to put my keys, or a houseplant, or whatever.

I have just successfully reduced my ownership of fondue pots by one half! This is how we do it, one fondue pot at a time. It's not daunting and dramatic when you look at it from this angle.

Here is another example:


Unpacking a box from what used to be the pantry closet, I find I have two saws. As most women do. One is a wooden-handled saw that I don't like because it's scary looking and also sort of dull and the blade is too flexible. The other saw is brand new and comes with a miter box, which crazy precise people like me LOVE in the middle of the night when we can't sleep and need to make perfectly angled corners. Also, I have not used either saw in over four years. Notice the Ikea miter box & saw combo is still in its original package. HOARD MUCH.

I am giving away the wood-handled saw to charity, thereby reducing my ownership of saws by one half.

Honestly, if a woman like me who has a backup fondue pot just in case can pare down all fondue pottage by one half, then surely I can be a beacon of hope for others with fondue pot issues or similar.

[Edited to add: No, I don't have an exact duplicate of every item. I know the universe is mad literal, but I am not. This was just an example, simplistic and flawed as it was. Though duplicates are an excellent place to start paring.]

This is how I am going to do it, not with grand, impulsive decisions made from fear but with decisions made from accurate, honest thinking. Will I need two saws? Two fondue pots? If I need one in an emergency, because Lord knows there are probably both fondue and sawing emergencies in my future, would I be able to procure a replacement in a ten-hour window? If the answer is yes, I will let go of the less enjoyed item. The answer today is yes. DONE.

Let's be clear I'm not paring down because I feel bereft. I am paring down voluntarily because I don't think I can endure another moment of heavy living.

Holding on and hoarding is my fear-life. Letting go is my hope-life. I am using this time to put the Universe on notice. I am letting go of all the crap and I am opening up to the goodness ahead. Universe, are you listening? I AM LIGHTENING UP LIKE I SAID. NOW BACK OFF.

(Wow, I got a streak of self help in me a mile wide. I'm like a platitude on CRACK.) (And I am lighter by one saw and one fondue pot with associated forks.)

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Yeah, she needs to get rid of this crap. Two red toolboxes. Way to go, human lady.

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(Today's title is from the Montell Jordan song of the same name, you see, the hood's been good to me, ever since I was a lowercase G! This is how we do it.)

Posted by laurie at April 13, 2011 8:09 AM