Friday, 29 January 2016

How Are Things?

I've just finished reading How Are Things by Roger-Pol Droit. As I mentioned yesterday this is a book I've had for years but never got into, I don't know why as it was such a straightforward, funny and interesting page turner. The author sets out to discover if there is anything to learn from the items we use every day, and if so what is their nature? It is a book not to be taken too lightly nor too seriously. If anyone is interested I've added a page tab at the top here to list the books I read this year, it's called Books 2016!

I say things and stuff a lot, you may have noticed and thought what an uneducated puppy I must be. It's not for want of more illustrative language, it's a conscious choice. When I removed the hoard from my house and started to organise myself  I also shed a lot of mental associations, it was a physical and mental getting my house in order. I now use stuff and things to remind myself that although an item may have memories associated with it, it is not the memory or the experience itself. I may have been given something by a friend or other loved one but it is not the emotion itself, it means I can recycle my cinema tickets and donate my favourite ever skirt to the rag bag at a charity shop*. 

Spending time volunteering and shopping in charity shops (there are 14 at last count in the town, hence all the bargains), markets and antique places has helped a lot too. I used to find it sad that all this stuff that was once a treasured possession is now just a pile of nothing until that one person comes along. But that's not something that came from the stuff, that came from me. It's not a pile of people sat around waiting, it's just things things they can no longer use. Things that once cost money and had value but have no value in themselves. It's sounds a bit melancholy and I suppose it could be taken that way, but I see it as freeing, I don't need to feel sorry for something that can't feel sorry for itself, it's misplaced emotion.

Things are things, they are not me, they are something other.

*I realise if you've never had a problem with stuff you might find this odd, but there you go, not everyone is the same. 

16 comments:

  1. I have too much "stuff" that I need to get rid of. Every so often I have a splurge.
    New mantra, is this stuff useful/been used in the last year? - no? - Then out you go.
    Carolx

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    1. I think that can be a really good rule. I can apply that to some extent now but before I tackled my hoard and the reasons behind it the question would have meant nothing to me, it was all useful and I was just unable to imagine how life would be without it. This wasn't just too many ice cream scoops, it was anything that had an association to something, which was everything!

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  2. Now that I spend so much more time at home on a limited budget, I'm far more aware of the my relationship with 'stuff'. My husband loves it and is happiest in a kind of 'creative chaos'. I'm not keen........ Jx

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    1. I think it's good to be able to know your relationship with stuff. I am not always the tidiest person now, although everything is organised and clean, for things that are likely to spread about the place Dan and I agree a "space budget" that is the amount of space anything can take up. If something starts to seep out of that space I have to do something about it to keep it under control.

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  3. Stuff and things have taken so much balance from my life. It gets overwhelming and I am trying to purge. Hard to just say gone though on some things.

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    1. All the best with the purge. I totally agree with you, it is hard to get rid of some things, it took me the best part of a year to declutter the majority of my junk/treasured possessions, working at it all day, then months after that to set up routines to keep the place clean and clear.

      I read something when I was really struggling with certain items and it said to treat the process like peeling the layers of an onion, that really helped me as it's so hard to break through sometimes. So if something was just too hard to deal with I went off and did something easier, after a while (maybe years) a solution presents itself.

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  4. I agree that calling belongings stuff and things is a good way of trying to be more detached from them, making it easier to let go. I find that sometimes I have to keep going back to more difficult items and reassessing how I feel about them, until the time comes when I feel happy to part with them. I just figure that if I let them go when I feel ready to do so, then I won't regret getting rid of them.

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    1. That's very sensible. It's quite easy to get into a declutter frenzy and start to just get rid of everything, that's not helpful, really knowing what stays and what goes is really important (in my case anyway). Virtually anything useful or mass produced can be replaced easily and inexpensively, even if it's a pain to think you decluttered that item in the first place, but things that do have meaning can't.

      I think it's better to hang onto something for a while and return to it rather then get stuck on that one thing, or make a hasty decision.

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  5. There are times I have a problem removing the memory from the "thing". I really need to work on it.

    God bless.

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    1. Thanks Jackie, its interesting how that happens isn't it.

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  6. You're right. My husband says I have far too much emotional attachment to stuff!x

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    1. Thanks. I think collections or having a lot of stuff is fine, being emotionally attached to special things is nice too. Wrapping that up with other things - identity, meaning etc or letting them become more than the relationships is when things can become tricky.

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  7. Firstly, I love the blog update. We have so much stuff here that I'd like to get rid of. I'm definitely a binner - I hate clutter and want it gone but my boyfriend is much more sentimental and wants to keep everything!!!

    Lizzie Dripping

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    1. Thanks Lizzie.

      I am a binner now, I love having a clear out and being able to make the most of the space we have.

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  8. Very inspired to read that book. Off to Devon Libraries site to see if I can reserve it! xx

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    1. It's a lot of fun, enjoy it if you do manage to get hold of a copy. I'd send you mine but it's already off elsewhere.

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