Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Stuff" & Other Stuff

I like to think I’ve done a good job of simplifying my life. And, in many, many ways I have. However it’s really been bugging me that I still have too much stuff and that somehow I continue to accumulate more.

Now I admit I come from the land of Frugal which means I save all manner of thing from bread bags to used gift wrap. But aside from those measures to recycle and reuse, I seem to have way more stuff than I need. This wouldn’t be a problem except for the main factor that my home becomes cluttered and I don’t like clutter. Clutter makes me feel, er, well, uhm,…cluttered. I do like streamlined and efficient, (and just a bit cozy) but I seem to have a hard time keeping that look and feel to my home.

I think the key is this, when one gets a new thing, say a purse, one should let go of another. Really, do I need a half a dozen purses when I can only carry one at a time? I find that I have the same problem with shoes. I must have 10 or 12 pair in my closet. The reason? I see a good deal on a pair I like at the thrift shop and since they’re cheap I bring them home thinking I’ll wear them….someday.

Truth is, when I find shoes that are comfortable I wear them religiously until they are worn out. I’ve learned for me, the smartest (and thriftiest) thing to do when I find shoes that suit me perfectly in comfort and style, purchase another pair. I did that last spring when I found the perfect sandals. I still have both pair. One is pretty worn so they are my summer garden/yard shoes, the other I wear when I go out. I found I regretted not purchasing two pair of great winter shoes a few years back. To this day I haven’t found a good, comfortable pair of winter shoes to suit me. Luckily I have my boots!

In thinking about stuff, I am forcing myself to take a good, hard look at myself. It is time to realize that I still have way too much of it despite my efforts to reduce it. So, eBay and Freecycle here I come! I’m renewing my mission to rid my home and free up more space, to get the chi flowing more smoothly.

Paul Graham has written a good article on “stuff” that I entirely resonate with and which helped inspire me to renew my mission. To paraphrase Mr. Graham, the value of something is not in price or savings, it is in the worth one derives from it.

It’s a worthwhile read and one you may want to check out.

Other Stuff-me & my Shadow

Coop and I have teetered back and forth about the decision to acquire a dog. Now, that decision has been made for us in a sense, by a dog himself.

Shadow has come to live with us. He originally was a stray that Arnold, the previous tenant took in. When Arnold died, the neighbors took custody of Shadow. Now, the neighbors have moved. In the process, Shadow, when released from his chain, bolted. (I saw the size of chain they had him on and can’t say that I blame him.) He came here. Three days passed before his owners came back to finish up their work and check on Shadow. All I could think was, thank goodness we were here, especially in this heat. He would have been without food and water.

Yesterday our neighbor came by and we told her Shadow was staying here. She didn’t argue, in fact seemed pleased. It was really his decision, too, because he showed no sign of interest in her or following her when she left to walk back up the road. After all, he was back home.

Now, after four days the look of worry and sadness has left his eyes. He follows me around like, well, a shadow. He remains unchained. He will not be confined. I see no reason as he never leaves the yard, doesn’t bother the ducks or the cat and is considerate enough to do his business at the edge of the field or woods.

A watchdog he is not. He will simply greet visitors when they stop by. However, he does look somewhat intimidating. Even I was a little put off by his appearance when we met and skeptical about how he would interact with other animals and people. But he is fine. He will sidestep the cat to avoid a swat. The neighbor said he likes kids and will come to them before he comes to an adult. Playful he is not. He is a quiet fellow, preferring to be left alone unless accompanying one of us around the property. He will make a good companion dog for us.

Shadow is about 11 years old, apparently has some arthritis, and is a timid dog for the most and is somewhat hesitant to be petted. I believe he has never had the opportunity to grow accustomed to affection or kindness. I tell him every day what a good boy he is, and I’m showing him what affection is. In just a couple days he has decided that a head or ear rub isn’t so bad after all. He lays outside in the shade and watches for Coop or I to come out. When we do, he is generally right there to greet one of us and sniff our hand for a treat. We’ve promised him he can live out the remainder of his days here, wandering free and getting spoiled. Not a bad deal for him.

Last of all, here’s photo just to show off the first bloom on our sunflowers. And another photo of a butterfly on the zinnias. Ever so thankful for my Fuji digital camera!


  1. The photos are awesome...even yesterday's photo of canned sauce was soooo quaint and nostaligic. The sunflowers and zinnias are beautiful! I am so grateful that you folks were there for old Shadow. sounds like things are working out perfectly. I will check out the link as I have too much 'stuff' also. Thanks for a great post!

  2. You're so welcome and thanks for the complimentary feedback. It's good to know one has an audience and hopefully isn't boring them to death. :)


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