Thursday, October 23, 2008

Comfort Zone

Over the last few weeks I've spent a lot of time surfing the internet and reading books. What am I so interested in? Plans for the future. Retirement is somewhere ahead for the house hunk. And if we plan to live a reasonable life, then we have to make informed decisions about how we will accomplish that.

There is the true minimalist life of living in a Tiny House. That would require some heavy duty downsizing on our part--especially since I'm the original packrat. The house hunk and I measured out the equivalent square space in the dining room. Tiny is definitely the correct word.

Or we could go the Cob Cottage route. It's a feasible choice financially, though it would likely require a move to a state that has more relaxed building codes as few states actually have codes for earthen buildings.

Then there's the ever-popular RV route. I kind of liked the Chalet RV until I checked out the prices. But they are attractive and easy to set up. Pricey, though.

Whatever we do--even if we stay right where we are and just move to a smaller apartment--it will mean major downsizing on our part. Over the last week we've just spent some time thinking about what we would need to pass on to our kids and friends, what we could/should put in storage, and what we would need to toss out.

It's funny. You spend your entire life accumulating stuff and then you reach retirement age and you have to get rid of it. On the other hand, I would rather get rid of it at sixty than at eighty. My folks are faced with exactly the same job. What to do with the stuff?

My children all live in other states. My siblings and parents live two or three days away. Frankly, they don't want any of my stuff because they have plenty of their own. It's only as I sit here looking at the accumulation of things around me that I realize I don't want most of it either!

Interesting epiphany to have at my age. For many years we did without things that we really wanted (notice I didn't say we needed them) and now when we could have almost anything we want because we're finally free of all the responsibilities we had in the past--now there isn't much that I can honestly say that I want.

Most of the things around me are still here for one reason. They're my safety blanket. When you grow up poor and live poor for most of your life, it's difficult to let loose of possessions even after they've lost their usefulness because somewhere in the back of your mind, you're sure that you might need them some day. That stack of twenty-seven legal pads and the eighty or ninety pens you have stashed are sure to come in handy sometime... even if you do most of your writing on a computer. That tiny Christmas tree that's been sitting on the credenza for two years is a treasured reminder of something, I'm sure. And that collection of cobalt glass from the dollar store that hasn't been dusted in... well, a long time, is terribly important. Right?

No, most of the stuff sitting around is simply that. Stuff. And it's mostly there because it's easier to let it sit around than move it. Moving it would require that I think about what to do with it. And anyone who grew up like I did has a very difficult time simply throwing things away. Throwing things away is wasteful. Never mind that there probably isn't anyone on the planet that needs cobalt glass from the dollar store.

Maybe I should open my own internet garage sale... post two or three items each week and see if I have any takers. I could start my own retirement fund out of the proceeds. Hmmmm. Anyone want some cobalt glass from the dollar store?



  1. The only stuff I really have are books. I need to move to a small town without a library and a very open-minded population.

  2. Anny, try Freecycle. There's a Yahoo group for different areas/cities of the country, and you post a message about what you're giving away, and someone who wants it contacts you. You arrange a time for them to come get it, and bang! it's gone.

    You might find that giving it away to someone who really wants or needs what you have makes getting rid of stuff easier.

    Google "freecycle"--you'll get a page that tells you all about it and links you to your local group.

  3. I am packrat too. I rarely throw anything away. I can always think of several things I could do with it.

  4. I know a certain someone whose beautiful kitchen has cobalt glass wine bottles on a shelf...and could possibly use those glasses. (*cough Cindy *cough). Though she too is looking to move and I don't know if she is looking to get MORE stuff...but it's a thought. ;)


  5. I totally see you in a cobb cottage!!! You could make it just like Mystic Valley.

    And yeah, post stuff on ebay and see what happens. Why not? Maybe it'll pay for the cobbiness.

  6. Hey, have you heard of the Katrina cottages? They were designed by an architect and Lowe's just after hurricane Katrina. They're designed to be quick and easy to build, inexpensive, and easily expandable. They're cute, too.

    Maybe you should look into one of those.

  7. I was thinking about the cobalt glass too, Dakota. :) I love the way it looks when the sun comes through the south facing window and sparkles on the blue glass. But my windowsill is FULL. I'm a horrible packrat too, and have a hard time getting rid of things. Maybe there's a 12-step program for us, Anny...