We’re less than a year removed from selling half of the stuff in our house and here we are in ‘sell-mode’ again. It still amazes me at how much stuff we slowly grow to possess over time. How much outright junk that we gather. I thought we had done a pretty good job of clearing out our possessions last August but now I’m throwing away whole trash bags of stuff, still. Who needs a third tape measurer? Not me. In fact, I don’t even need the second one anymore … or the first one either! I’ve already dumped my whole tool box.
I never thought I would feel this way but we are approaching minimalist territory here. We are selling 90% of what we have left and are storing a huge portion of that at my parents’ house in Ohio. Going to Alaska, the only things we will be taking are some heavy duty clothes, a laptop, and the Xbox. Otherwise it will just be me and my handy, dandy sketch book. It’s not much but it’s really all you need. Food, shelter, clothing, and Xbox.
I had assumed the boys might be bothered about having to give up most of their stuff but they’ve taken it in stride better than I have, even. I guess 33 years of living a certain way is hard to shake. That and good parenting – I assume the children are awesome because of me and my wife. Okay, probably just my wife. But I’ll take credit for the cat, I guess. He seems to bathe as often as I do. Lead by example, I say. Back to the boys – they gathered what few toys they wanted to keep and put it all into a small Rubbermaid container. I was amazed at how few things they wanted to keep … and how random it all was. My youngest son decided that he wanted to hang on to four railroad tracks … and not even curved ones. He just wanted to make a straight rail and, really, who am I to judge how he plays, even if it makes no sense and drives me nuts? Okay, so I tossed them out and told him I could buy him an actual set at Christmas time. Seriously, who only packs four straight rails!?
Yeah, then he tossed in a broken train, too. I asked him why and he said “I don’t know”. Good grief – even the things they supposedly care about they don’t actually care about. He really only seemed to be concerned with his stuffed animal frog and his underwear. I told him both would be going with us to Alaska.
Maybe this is all a good reminder that stuff can ruin us and become our focus. These kids of mine couldn’t care less about losing anything other than a few books and their Nintendo. They find comfort through seemingly just being together and with us. Somewhere along the line, as we become adults, we just begin to attach too much value to things that are mostly worthless distractions (or stuff that gets damaged and falls apart anyway). I’m not saying there aren’t sentimental objects in all of our lives. That’s why I’m storing stuff in Ohio – pictures, my children’s artwork, wedding scrapbook stuff, some Christmas ornaments, etc. But the amount of stuff that we have an actual emotional connection to is a lot less than we think. Maybe it’s just a frog and underwear, even.
One day in the future we may own a ‘base’ home that we stay at when we aren’t driving around and doing whatever. I think that I’ve learned to never say never with my wife. I’m not saying we won’t ever spend money on stuff again – in fact, I would almost guarantee we will at some point. But I don’t think I’ll ever care about that stuff the way I would have, say, ten years ago.
So goodbye pull-up bar and ceramic Frankenstein head. Adios massage pad and dress-shirt-that-I-never-wore-but-always-kept-because-well-you-never-know. We’re condensing towards some luggage and, yes, let’s not forget the Xbox.