Friday, September 11, 2015

I Want All the Things--Or why I Struggle with Minimalism Part 2

There's a movement  in blog culture to get rid us of all that 'stuff'' that makes our lives complex and complicated and to simplify to what we only need, and to only keep the things that bring us 'joy'. 

Marie Kondo in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up says that paper brings you no joy, and while she is right that some paper does not bring me joy: bills, stacks of ungraded papers from my students, junk mail--some of the paper in my house brings more joy than I can express some days. Example: I have a vast collection of poetry. I've read all the collections many times over. And since I have read them many times over, Kondo would suggest that I let them go (unless they bring me joy. Or Option 2 I could check them out at the library if I wanted to read a certain collection again. That is if the library had a copy, which quite often is not the case since most public libraries lack decent contemporary poetry sections), but sometimes all the sudden, I just have to read that one poem by the one poet and that moment may be 3am. 

This sudden urge to read poetry happens so often, that I keep an always growing pile of poetry next to my bed, along with a pen and paper incase I need to write.

And, records, I have a lot of vinyl records, probably more than I listen to on a regular basis, especially now since my turntable isn’t working, but when I think about giving them away to a new home, I can’t decide which ones I could live without. I never know when the moment may hit that I have just need to listen to that Hall and Oates album or the first movement of Firebird (while playing this score, I often pretend I am a dancer and glide around on my wood floors on socks and vintage nightgowns. My 20-year-old son and dogs sort of find this both funny and crazy.)

One thing though that I do not collect or care for are knickknacks of any shape or form. I do have a lot of art and paintings and pictures of family and friends around, but little cute little figures and such. I see cute things at friend’s houses, I admire their ability to decorate, but then I think about how much dusting I would have to do if I started filling my nooks and crannies with such adorableness.

I also don’t have much furniture. I have a desk, a couch, two beds, a kitchen table, one chair for that table that doubles for a desk chair (this is something, I need to rectify soon if I ever want to have dinner guests again), three dresses, and five bookshelves—all overflowing with books, and records, and CDS. 

I think in the end, we have to decide what our stuff means to us and not worry about it too much. If you like all your stuff then who the cares! Enjoy life and stop worrying about it.  Go get ice cream with your kids and dog and have a good day.

Lately, though, because Sid and I may be moving soon, I have been going through stuff and getting rid of some things on this app Yerdle. Does anyone else use this app? I find it weird and useful at the same time.

First, people will sale just about anything on there. Half used cans of Axe Body Spray—yep, someone will buy that crap because I jus sold two of them the other day. Board games missing pieces and rules—you know it, someone wants that and will pay for it. But the catch is (because there is always a catch, right?), they’re not paying in real money. They’re paying in Yerdle dollars, which are not real dollars at all. Unless the buyer doesn't have enough Yerdle dollars, then they will pay with real US dollars, but you won’t get that money, nope, you’ll get it back in Yerdle money. And there’s some sort of crazy inflation and price gauging that I can’t really explain because I am a poet and not an Encomiast, but I do know that a box of 12 Swifter Wet Jet pads does not sale for $25 dollars at my local market, but they do on Yerdle, and you’re also going to pay like a $2 to $3 dollar handing fee and a shipping cost. Which means you just paid $7 in real money and $25 in fake money for a half dull box of Swifter pads, and I am pretty sure I can get 4 for a dollar at the Dollar Tree. 

I have though, been able to sale some things that were no longer a use to me and taking up space in my basement: a couple of board games and some of Sid’s old Captain Underpants books, a He Man Battle Cat from 2000 (Sid was actually a little upset I sold that one). I’ve been pricing everything between $1-$5 dollars. Because if the sprit of Yerdle is to give away your stuff to other people who may need or want it, then shouldn’t it all just be free? Like, “Hey. I got these full size sheets and no full size bed. They’re clean and ready for you. You pay for some shipping and I’ll send them next Tuesday.” No fees to Yerdle. Just two people being good to each other while also letting go of things no longer needed, because that’s how it should be, right?

Someone make that App. I'll pay $10 real money for an app like that. Free stuff to good people. That's how it should be. And, then I may also become a better minimalist too.