Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Great Stuff Reduction Project

Going through stuff is exhausting! It drains me. There are 20 boxes here from Atlanta. Some of them are easy: a lamp wrapped in lots of paper. Either it has an obvious place or it doesn’t. But I’d say about 30% of these boxes are filled with lots and lots of little pieces of meaningful paper. Valentines from my grandmother received in the 80s. Programs from every recital I attended at Oberlin. I had literally (and I mean “literally” in its truest sense… LITERALLY!) hundreds of concert programs. I just went through a couple hundred. I have playbills from shows and concerts I saw as a child, newspaper clippings, journal entries filling the first 20 pages of several different journals. There are wonderful pictures in ugly frames, paperwork from my 1991 fire, notes folded up from grade school discussing crushes. It’s an exhausting effort to sort them, because almost ever single item has some level of emotional significance.

I’m doing well. I think I’m keeping about 30% of what I find. I must admit I’m kind of dreading my mother’s surprises. She says there are things that were going to be thrown away, so she gave them to me. What might they be? How much space will they take up? I’m starting to run out of places to put things already! I have enough framed prints, paintings, and posters to fill every inch of wall space, and in this apartment, hammering often causes the 85 year-old walls to crumble. In addition to that are tchochkes from my Bloomington apartment, from my childhood, and ones that were my parents’. Right now, it feels like an impossible task.

Another problem I’m having is space for my clothes. I was living in a place with lots of closet space. This place has two closet and my dresser, but one of the closet is really for all these Atlanta boxes until such a time as I have them all unpacked. The closet in my bedroom is very deep, so there are two rails, one behind the other. I have winter clothes on the back rail, and current clothes on the front rail, but there are still MANY clothes that haven’t been put away and that are overflowing a large laundry basket. I can’t see how I could live comfortably cramming any of these spaces to overflowing. I feel the only answer is to reduce the total number of clothes, but it gets hard, because I just did this before I moved.

All those donation bags to the Salvation Army and the yard sale were great, but there’s still more downsizing to be done. I wish I had more time to make that happen, but I start my job on Tuesday, and I think once that begins, I’m going to have to really focus on that for a while. If there’s extra time, it’s GOT to be dedicated to the dissertation, not to The Great Stuff Reduction Project.

I need an assistant!