Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On Stuff and the Jettison Thereof

"I see ..[those]... whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. " - Thoreau

True that Mr. Thoreau! In preparation for adopting the nomadic lifestyle, our general plan was to rid ourselves of unnecessary material possessions and I foolishly considered that to be an almost trivial task. Man, was that ever an underestimation! I suppose that when you have a house, after the the initial moving in, it's hard to be consciously aware of the fact that you continue to acquire and bring home items one at a time. For us, that was sixteen years of carting in new objects, one by one.

So, to be honest, we are both exhausted from getting rid of stuff. We had 1-800-JUNK by twice in the past year (what a racket they've got going, huh?), gave away a lot of stuff to friends and family, had an estate sale, moved a small amount of stuff we wanted to save and stuff for the road trip to my daughter's house, and still put out to bulk pick-up a pile of unwanted stuff 100 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 3 feet high.

The estate sale was a curious study in micro-economics. No-one bought the $20 Limoges china plate priced at 50 cents but someone bought our half-empty plastic jug of laundry detergent for that same 50 cents. Pretty funny how things get valued. The other funny thing about people buying the contents of your house is the way the absence of little things alerts you to your own reality as a creature of habit. After the first night of the two-day estate sale, we went to have some ice-cream only to discover that someone had earlier purchased all of our flatware! Wendy starting eating hers with a quarter teaspoon measuring spoon until I had the bright idea of checking the dishwasher and found two spoons the buyers had missed. Every time I walk into the upstairs bathroom I still look at the blank spot on the wall where the clock used to be.

On the topic of valuation, I also had a personal library of over 2,000 volumes, a good many hard-cover, some first editions. For me, the value of a book cannot be measured in money but I found that even used book stores were not interested in offering anything more than store credit. That was no good for me since I was trying to divest myself of the physical objects, not position myself to acquire more. Luckily, I have some book-loving friends and acquaintances who were happy to relieve me of that portion of my burden. CDs? Forget about it.

So my house is pretty empty for the closing tomorrow but I'm still not completely devoid of stuff. There's a pile at my daughter's which I may need to whittle down once I determine what will fit in the camper van. Tonight's our last night in the house and we're down to two camp chairs, two laptops, and a guitar. I am starting to feel free.


  1. What an amazing venture your about to take on. Best wishes and Good Luck!

  2. @~Onereeone~: Yeah, internal as much as external we expect. Hope to cover both in this blog. Cheers, Gerry.

  3. As a hoarder second only to the Collyer brothers, and only because there were two of them, I am in awe!

    I will stand atop my weighty heap of non-functionality and wave my handkerchief, a tear in my eye, my mouth agape, as you drive off into the sunrise. "There goes one hell of a man/woman/rabbit," I will mutter to myself as I climb back down into the sunless thicket I call home and hit the "pay now" button on eBay for the untold thousandth time.

    "Cosmos Mariner, Destination Unknown" (poet Conrad Aiken's epitaph)

  4. @stick. Too F'ing funny clever boy!

  5. You kids have fun !! Can't wait to read the travelogues.