Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I've made mention before, I'm not a person "above" new year's resolutions. I'm not necessarily good at keeping them (how many years now have I resolved to lose weight?), but I do like making them. While I have several resolutions this year, my primary one is something that I am been tossing around for a couple months now:


I've got several ideas rolled up in this, but it really boils down to that one word. Of course, simplicity means different things to different people. I have no plans to run off into the wilderness, cook over a wood stove, and beat my clothing on rocks by the creek. (The high today was -2. I'll wait to run into the woods until it's a little warmer out.) For me, right now at least, "simplicity" means "less stuff". (But it sounds a lot nicer, doesn't it?) Really, it's something I've been working on, intermittently, for a couple of years now--since my grandma died in 2007.

My grandma was born in 1915. That means that her formative years, her teenage years, her newlywed days, were spent in the Depression. She saved everything. I remember when she had her ceiling fan replaced. Going around the motor of the ceiling fan, there was this decorative...thing. It was metal and kinda looked like a tire (I guess). It's purpose was to cover the motor. Anyway, that piece from the old fan was left over. They were going to throw it away, but no, Grandma insisted they keep it. She might need it. Someday.

That's how I've been for the last 25 years. Except I don't have the excuse of having grown up during the Depression. I'm just a packrat. When Grandma died, though, a light went on for me. As we gathered at her house to sort through her belongings, it hit me. Someday, I am going to die. And someone is going to have to go through all my stuff. Only then, because I'll be dead, it won't just be "stuff". It will be "something that belonged to Amanda", and thus, somehow, valuable. In theory. Someone else is going to have to throw away all that crap that I thought I might need. Someday.

Since then, I've slowly been taking steps to simplify my life. With the dawning of the new year, though, I'm more intent in my efforts. A couple weeks ago, I went through our hall closet and just tossed stuff. Stuff that I'd been saving for "someday", stuff I'd been saving for sentimental reasons, stuff that I didn't even remember why I was saving. It was invigorating.

Last weekend, I went to my parents' house and sorted through my books...cookbooks, knitting, sewing, and just plain books. I took four boxes to GoodWill. I filled two black garbage bags with stuff I had printed off the internet. And I have a large pile of books to list on ebay. It feels good. I still have a lot of stuff, and a lot that I don't need, but just getting rid of some of it is a weight off my shoulders.

As I move forward into 2009, I hope to continue to eliminate the superflous "stuff" from my life, and to remember these words:

"The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong." — Laura Ingalls Wilder