Simplifying

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This word appears more and more frequently across the hundreds of blogs of which I try to keep abreast. There seems to be quite a groundswelling of people who have Had It with the thousands of tedious details which ostensibly comprise being a part of modern life.

I’m one of them.

Screw it, man – I’m Simplifying.

There are too many little things nibbling away at my sanity like ducks. Couple the honkload of tiny things with a couple of Really Big Things, and we have a recipe for imminent self-destruction.

Now granted, I am not homeless, starving, unemployed or any of the other countless huge blights millions suffer through daily – but these are things I can do to improve my already pretty fortunate life.

I’m madly unsubscribing from the dozens of environmental and political action email lists I’ve become a part of by signing Care2 petitions over many years. Every day, I get over 200 emails from these well-meaning people who are slowly driving me insane. Sure, it’s not a big deal to click “delete,” but the subtle annoyance grates over time. I’d maintained my subscriptions to the ever-increasing number of lists due to a sense of social obligation, but I find myself deleting vast swaths of them unread. If ever there comes a time when I need to know more about the sorrow and despair in the world, I will resubscribe. I feel pretty acutely aware of most of the issues they remind me of, anyhow, and I’m keeping the choicer ones.

I’m beginning to ruthlessly cull the Google Reader list – I was at about 500, now at 335, which is still too many – because logging in every day to see over 100 new posts was causing me too much stress. If the last 10 entries of a given blog don’t contain something I find absolutely enthralling, out it goes.

I am reducing the number of people I follow on Twitter; I don’t really need to know Nathan Fillion’s every thought. Even if he is dreamy.

I’m will go through my closets and the basement and relentlessly haul shit to the Goodwill.

I will (finally, after nearly 2 years) throw or give away my old roommate’s belongings that she abandoned. One day, she simply disappeared for about two months, without a single word, and taking with her two months of rent and utility payments I’d given her. I eventually gave up trying to contact her and changed the locks. She showed up late one night, a couple of months later, looking like she’d been working the streets, begging me to let her “come home.” I was honest, told her I’d never be comfortable with her in the house and put her up in a hotel for the night because she had nowhere to go. I called a longtime friend, who said he’d help her any way he could. A few weeks later, I helped her move “the first load” of her stuff. She never came back for the rest.

Much of what she left belongs to her three kids – sentimental things, like baby booties, trophies and scrapbooks. This was in my last house, and before I moved into our current home, I gave a bunch of the non-sentimental things to Goodwill and Freecycle – dishes, crafting supplies, decorations. What’s left is about a dozen boxes of The Seriously Important Stuff, and it occupies a corner of our garage, a corner we could well use for other stuff. I left her dozens of emails and phone messages, all of which went unanswered. I contacted her oldest daughter, who thanked me for holding onto everything and said she’d get in touch with her mom to come get it all. Hettie never came. I still couldn’t bear to get rid of these precious things – family portraits, medical records, hand-made gifts.

Well, now it’s time. I have enough of my own luggage to cart around with me, I don’t need hers. I think two years is an acceptable time frame, and I’m going to let myself get rid of the rest of it this weekend. I’ll still feel terrible, but I can’t carry it around for the rest of my life.

I will organize the kitchen. I’ve let mixing bowls and canned goods take over the cupboards in the stupidest ways. This weekend, I am going to buy some kind of small appliance cart/shelf upon which to store the things currently eating my counter space. I’ll sew up some kind of skirt/cover for it, too.

I will make a meal plan, thereby reducing the mild pressure of trying to come up with something tasty or interesting on the spot every night.

I will clean out the junk room, currently full of detritus literally just dumped out of moving boxes onto the floor in a long heap at the end of the guest bed, much of which I suspect can be trashed or given away.

I’ll take pictures, so I can appreciate what was before and what came after.

Sadly, not all of this will happen in the next two days. It will have to be a gradual lightening of the load. Perhaps once I get the external clutter more in order, the internal clutter will be able to spread out a bit more and I can begin working on that.

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3 responses to Simplifying


  1. I’m still slowly hacking away at mine. I attacked a pile in the living room last weekend with a Vengeance, and I organized our kitchen, but it still needs some work. It feels pretty awesome when you stand back, look at it and go “wow that looks SO much better.”

  2. It would be SO HARD for me to get rid of ex-room mates sentimental stuff. I applaud you for holding on to it and making the effort, and I applaud you for finally letting go.

    plus also, Nathan Fillion – so cute.

  3. Go, Go, Go!
    (I’ll miss your comments, but I will understand if my blog disappears off your Reader list.)
    Tomorrow night I’m having a goal-making night with my moms group, and many of the issues you’re struggling with are going on my list too. I’d enjoy reading a post (or more) about each area.
    As for the ex-roommate, you have definitely done your due diligence. Try your best to just let go.

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