In April I started sorting out my life. I went through my home looking for just those things that I truly love and don’t want to live without, discarding everything else. Some was thrown away, but most was given to people who needed whatever. When I moved into a much smaller place I was surrounded by those things that bring me joy. I have since discovered that even some of those things aren’t really necessary. I kept clothes that I wear but don’t love. I don’t think I need clothes I don’t love. And books . . .I have to admit it’s really, really hard to give up books, but I think I kept more than I really need. Of course, most of those I kept are books that I haven’t read yet . . . but then there are the Harry Potter books and the Narnia books and the Douglas Adams books. Do I need them? Will I re-read them again? (YES! OK, I’m keeping those. ☺)
Meanwhile, back at the office . . .
Last month a homeless woman accidentally had access to all the rooms in the church buildings for a number of days. She is a hoarder, I guess, because she started taking things outside and piling them up in out of the way places on the property. We noticed some things were missing - like the big coffee pot and the Spanish congregation’s projector. She insisted she didn’t take anything that she wasn’t freely given by someone. I didn’t quite believe that. After a few weeks we were able to convince her to leave the property (without having to have her arrested) and secure the buildings by changing locks. Two weeks or so later we started discovering her caches and found so much stuff! She had stashed things in the electrical closet and in the little emergency exit area behind the preschool building and in the bushes next to the church. We couldn’t believe what all she took - and kept! I understood taking coffee mugs but why take the giant, very old dictionary? There were so many things she could have pawned but didn’t. The Spanish congregation even found their projector in perfect condition.
As we went through the stashes I kept finding items that had come from my office. There were a few things that I had missed but way too many that I didn’t even notice were gone. I could understand not noticing a few books missing from a shelf, but some of the art objects that I thought I loved were in her stash and in the weeks that they were missing I never realized they were gone. When I looked around I realized that I have a lot of stuff - a lot of stuff that just sits there, serves no purpose and that I don’t even love. Stuff that I keep because it is a souvenir of someplace I went or was a gift from someone (not necessarily someone I even like, just a gift.)
I guess it’s time to start that sorting process in my office. It’s time to get rid of books I haven’t taken off the shelf in 10 years or more, and decorations that I might use again sometime (but probably won’t) and items that are lovely but that would serve someone else much better.
I feel a need to simplify, to somehow ignore my desire to own stuff, to make my life so simple that if I want to pick up and go somewhere else it won’t have to be a huge production.