Tuesday, July 15, 2008

100 Things - exit stage left!

I'm making progress on the Remove One Thing A Day project. I've tossed out a wobbly folding chair that no longer folded, let go of a Deskjet 840C that finally started chuttering rather than printing and returned the canopy that fell apart after one use, and (get this!) didn't replace it with another one.

There's also a box in my living room with a growing mountain of stuff: toys someone else's kids can chew; a zip-up jacket and two winter scarves that were probably left here by friends of my kids when they were all in junior high a decade ago; those special dorm sheets and pillow cases used for one semester of college and then I don't want to know what they slept in or where; some extraneous holiday-themed table linens and a faux-sombrero from Chevy's. Now I just have to get the box from my living room to the Goodwill. How hard is that?

Obviously hard enough because the box is still sitting there. Dang!

We won't go into the bizarre and probably latent-OCD reasons why I simply can't put the box in the back of the car and then take it out when I get to Saks Thrift Avenue (clever name, no?). I think maybe I'm waiting to fill it up. But how full is full? Is the box going to sit there for 6 months slowly gathering random small things, a thick layer of dust and cat dander? The correct answer is yes.

So I've come up with yet another plan (stick with me long enough and we'll have enough to wallpaper the Oval Office). The other day, I was out in my studio, which is one of those built-in-day garden shed kits, roughly 10 by 12 feet. But I treat it like one of those magic bottomless bags. I'm constantly bringing things out to it: books, notebooks, tchotchkes I think I can't write without, another cozy blanket for winter, a fan for summer -- while rarely taking anything out unless there's an odor involved. It became so crowded I could barely turn around in it; my ideas got all tangled every time I looked up. Then I lost a cat in a corner behind a few piles. Boy, was he pissed when I finally realized he'd gone missing and came to let him out. Standing in the doorway, enduring the silent wrath of one indignant tabby, I stared at the over-full shelves, the stacks of books and papers, the piles of blankets, the encroaching tide of magazines and odd socks on the floor; it occurred to me that I could probably take 100 things out and still have plenty of stuff to spare. It would be the inverse of the original proposal of owning only 100 things, though I'd settled on having only 100 things in any given room--not counting books.

Of course, hypocrites that we are, when we take them out, we'll count books as one thing.

p.s. I've taken 66 things out so far and I like the result. So spacious, so airy...well, it will never be airy exactly, but at least now we have air flow.


  1. Poor Maurice! We've talked about getting rid of some junk when I get home, but before he gets home. Like the closet that is full to the brim with nothing but cardboard boxes. The only reasonable-sounding explanation is that college dorm living has given us cardboard box shortage anxiety. Actually, even that doesn't sound particularly reasonable...

  2. hee, hee! too funny! a bad case of CBSA Disorder! I'll bet you could post that on Craigslist for folks who are moving...they wouldn't even have to come upstairs; you could leave them on the street at a pre-arranged time.


Noise makers!