Due to a computer swap and an unexpected Outlook glitch, I found 396 unread emails waiting for me when I sat down at my desk yesterday morning. In one account.
(It turned out that at least 300 of them were duplicates of old emails — each of which had to be carefully, individually weeded out — but then I discovered another 70 or so in a separate file. Oh, and then there were the 78 in the other account.)
Not my idea of a “welcome back” present.
Enough about work, though…I’m sure you’re dying to hear all about the moving sale. (Right?) Well, it was Big. Since I spent most of my time running around with a distracted look on my face, I neglected to take any photos of the absolutely enormous quantities of stuff that we sold. So suffice it to say that we filled up our kitchen counters, some cabinets, two bookshelves, a desk, a table, a couch, and a lot of other miscellaneous shelving with sale items. And, quite to our surprise, most of them sold.
We like to think that our friends got most of the good bargains and that our dishes and toaster and blender and ottoman will be quite serviceable to someone else for years to come. I view this part of the sale as being successful in that needed items were redistributed from people who can’t use them anymore (=us) to people who can.
In other ways, though, I found our moving sale to be kind of disturbing. It was a little shocking to line up all of our possessions and find out how many of them we didn’t actually need. As husband mentioned to me later, we accumulated an awful lot of goods in order to meet what we projected that our needs were going to be, not what we actually found that they were. The wedding registry is a classic example of this — we registered for a number of kitchen gadgets and towels and whatnot that seemed so essential at the time and yet turned out to be just a bunch of stuff to fill up the cupboards. And my registry was a lot smaller than some of the others that I’ve seen!
As I was ferrying boxes back and forth, I spent some time listening to NPR’s coverage of the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China. And as I thought about the people who had just lost everything, I felt very disgusted with my desire to accumulate: I have spent so much money on what is unnecessary, even within the context of our affluent sociey.
Back when we were initially tallying up our moving expenses, I worried that we wouldn’t have enough money to re-purchase all of the things that we were selling after we move to Florida. Now, however, we are wondering if a lot of these things actually need to be replaced. A lot of the furniture will be, for sure (bed, couch, dresser? I think those are pretty important) but a lot of the do-dahs and decorations and dishes just aren’t necessary. We packed only the four stovetop pans that we really use and sold all but one set of dishes. The new goal: to not immediately buy back all the rest.
I have more thoughts about this issue and would really like to hear what you all think as well. How much is too much? How do you justify a lot of your belongings when you know that other people own far less? What things have you gotten rid of that you later missed, and what have you kept that is completely unnecessary? I think that there’s good grounds for discussion here, especially since it ought be more than hypothetical and involve some actions in the end.
But for now, I live you with my favorite quote by William Morris: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
What do you think?