Let’s Talk Trash.

I sifted through the wreckage from my housewarming party last night, and was impressed by the erratic evidence of a night extremely well-enjoyed.  Corralling cans and bottle caps into the recycling can, I got to thinking about what it is that our trash says about us.  Strange as it may be to consider such a notion, if a conscientious observer were to somehow see the contents of our waste bins, what would it lay bare about who we are?  
I recently started packing a bag of clothing that I never wear and was taking up substantial closet real-estate to take to a consignment store and two days later, I could not remember one thing that I filled it with.  An entire bag of my personal effects that have been mine for years has been removed from sight and heck if I know what they are.  I decided I am donating them instead of trading them in for a store credit at Beacon’s Closet which is what I usually do.  It is nice to have a little extra wiggle room in my wardrobe.  What else am I missing by not doing this more?
A dear friend of mine is moving to London soon to be with his fiancée, and he brought by a bag of items that he thought I would use.  Inside were party decorations, including streamers and festive table cloths; wine, a conglomerate of kampuchea-making supplies (acquired during one of his Brooklyn experimental phases), chalkboard paint, & his electric drill with a whole host of interchangeable bits (score!).  He clearly acknowledges my love of the arts and crafts of entertaining and has been there for me when my D.I.Y.-ing turns into D.I. Why-do-it-yourself-when-you-can-buy-pizza-and-beer-for-the-guy-who-can-do-it-better (hence the drill)?  The goodie-bag tugged at my heartstrings and makes me ache to think of losing one of my closest friends I have made here in NYC.  
Getting rid of stuff is hard.  And separating meaning from said stuff is even worse.  However, when we extract the emotion and remove the memory, often whatever is left becomes non-essential.  Asking yourself if you can live without it is common practice.  And you can always take a picture (it’ll last longer—digitally, of course).  I admire the pioneers that purge unapologetically that are seem to hover above Maslow’s hierarchy.  Graham Hill of LifeEdited, I have always been a fan of, and more recently, a pair that calls themselves the Minimalists whose 21-Day Journey into Minimalism sparked in me a need to know more about what it is to live with less.  The course for my de-cluttering is an on-going one, but I intend to start by adding some minimal images up on my vision board.  With time, I am hoping I will not need them along with a host of other “stuff”… which frees up space AND time.  And time is the one thing we all need more of.  
I am curious to hear of what it is you keep and what you lose that speaks to who you are (or are not)?  Would love some feedback on this.

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4 responses to “Let’s Talk Trash.

  1. As you know, I just moved and purged about 10-13 bags/boxes of stuff to donate to purple heart. The moment that stuff was gone, I too forgot what I gave away. I think for me, it showed me how much I hold onto that serves no purpose in my life. Why hold on to it?

    It certainly morphed from a project of de-cluttering/ I’m not moving anything I don’t need to into a much more internal quest for creating space so that I can be more open to new opportunities. Perhaps it’s the yogini in me, but I just felt lighter, less anxious, and more creative since I got rid of the stuff that cluttered my closet and corner of my room. Moved the cobwebs from my mind as well as my shelves.

    • Moving certainly forces us to examine and prioritize the “stuff” that makes up and takes up our lives. Donating and giving away is a better option than tossing in many ways as there are many that are living without that could put to use the items we seldom run across.

  2. I hold on to all the cards and letters that my children and husband have written to me over the last thirty years. From time to time, I open the drawer that I keep them in–and yes, they take up valuable drawer space, but after reading these heartfelt messages, I dry a tear, and am happy that I have kept them to read over and over.

    • You bring up a good point…there are some things that just can’t (and shouldn’t be) digitized, including childhood artwork and memories of milestones, favorite toys, etc. These items tell stories about the past and connect future generations and I think are the exceptions. Thanks for sharing:)

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