I keep thinking of the show on monday nights 'hoarders'. its an intervention of sorts of people who have serious (in my opinion its a mental illness) hoarding going on and are up for evictions etc. Watching the amount of stuff get thrown out that is now decrepit with cat or mouse droppings and moldy food, clothes, wood and whatever else spores thrive on, makes me a little angry. They have to destroy it all, nothing can be salvaged.

Tod and I have the least amount of personal possessions over anyone I know and yet my art stuff is another matter. I went from thinking I was pairing down BIG TIME and putting it all into a 26ft, then a 22ft, then a 17 ft. then a 16 ft truck and NOW it is going into a 7x8x10 storage closet. If I truly had enough belief in myself I would get rid of it all and just leave sans shit.

Most of us have too much stuff and we all know it I think. Few of us ever deal with it head on, we leave it to whoever is in our wills to deal with. Not nice if you ask me. I don't want to deal with another persons STUFF. For years I have thought to myself, when I die all I want is a chance to have gotten rid of it all and walk off into the desert or the mountains and be gone. I would love to leave with the clothes on my back when that time comes, and hobble off to die in nature.

So now that tod and I have decided to go get hands on experience out there and not drag everything with us right now, I'm going through the packed boxes for the third time and being ruthless. While I don't like the idea of getting rid of things I spent time and money on (yes not all of my scrap was free), I've learned my lesson I hope from when I left Arizona and stuffed a 5x10 storage unit with things 'just in case'. Just in case I didn't make it on the road long and needed to come back with my tail between my legs and get a studio apartment or something. Worst thing I EVER did. I'm still dealing with that crap....have had to have friends go through it all and things got tossed and lost and misplaced or abused (though I'm thankful I had someone to help me otherwise it would still be there rotting). What little I had sent to me (more money down the drain in retrospect) was stinky, wasn't 'me' or was outdated. We don't have that luxury here. We don't know anyone to help us or send stuff. We will have to come back for it so by god it better be worth it because vermont is in the corner of the frickin end of the earth.

I wonder, will my art supplies be like that too? Will those items I hold in high esteem to make more art with look less appealing? I'm sure I will have moved on and found new things to work with. I have no idea. What if in 6 months we want to settle somewhere and pick up where we left off? It's exhausting. I hate being wasteful but I hate holding on. THINGS. The little dinky things we have is why we haven't left yet. Tod and I both have little THINGS to pick up, clean, look at, decide what to do with. I broke my toe yesterday navigating and running to avoid hitting THINGS stacked up, and instead hit the door.

The art is the only thing I care about, the one thing I look at and think holy cow, this came from me and its beautiful. Maybe next time tod and I live somewhere we will have friends and a community and we can have a goodbye art auction when we move on. That ain't happening here....time to limp back into the basement.


ingermaaike said...

Hope your toe is better by now and happy wandering :-D

Kim Hambric said...

Yes, stuff is annoying. Lots of things in this world are annoying. I think we all spend too much time being annoyed. If the less you have the less annoyed you are, then I guess that's the direction you will have to go in. But you know that something is going into that storage closet -- so use it.

Sorry you can't hobble off into the woods to die when it is time. It would be considered far too unsanitary. And dour little men in dark suits are going to try to talk someone you know into an expensive funeral and a damn casket. Just one more thing to take with you.

I know this whole process is frustrating to you. But you are in the middle of the cleaning process. You can't go back. Just keep going. You will soon be out on that road and moving along. Off to build your new nest and community.

San said...

I haven't done a big-time purging since 1982. As I mentioned before, I did move across the country with only a suitcase and a carry-on. I entrusted my books and an antique washstand to a friend, who subsequently moved the books out for me, when she decided to leave her past life behind too. I did love having my books back. The washstand I sold to her at a cut-rate price--next to nothing-- in thanks to her for moving the books.

Getting rid of stuff is really freeing. I remember selling my furniture through the classifieds, carrying bags to Goodwill, giving friends things they'd admired, and traveling light. It did make a difference.

Karen Jacobs said...

Some of your "horder" comments hit a little too close to home, thank ya very much! We took care of the belongings of two mothers and they had already pared their possessions down to just a little bit... and it was still difficult for us to sort through it. Their remembrances are now in two plastic boxes on a shelf. I hate to think of what my kids will have to deal with and constantly try to sort and toss throughout the house and studio. It's never ending and only a move to much smaller quarters could force the job, and that's not happening any time soon.

Paula, be sure you find computer connections handy wherever you are... you have quite a crowd of admirers following you around!

self taught artist said...

well you just watch me kim...if i have to donate my body to a forensic park i will! anyhow...i will try.
art still doesn't feel the same as belongings, since i hope it is what will keep me afloat now or in the future financially...but sometimes you have to let go of things to get more, make more whatever.
i just sold a photo on etsy and it didn't even cover the cost of the printing/lamination process, but by god ITS GONE and one less thing to worry about!
karen, i wonder about that crowd...admirers? feels like a stretch, more like curious as to how the hell will she get out of this pickle jar she is putting herself into? as far as all the THINGS you have, maybe you will luck out and your children/grandchildren will be interested in everything. i doubt most people feel revulsion at things like i do, i think you will be fine :)

Dawn of LaTouchables said...

Don't worry about if you are getting rid of the right things, or not...there is a little expression, 'gone is gone'. What remains is the sweetest memory/memories!

I hope your toe heals quickly, Paula! I love reading your thoughts and blog!

Nellie's Needles said...

OUCH! I'm so sorry about your toe. Get some arnica gel to help the pain and bruising go away faster.

STUFF! We've definitely got too much. I hope we're ready to pare down before the kids have to do it when we're too old or gone.

I, too, hope you find a way to keep posting during this adventure with Tod.

self taught artist said...

yes nellie, been putting arnica on it since day one :) thanks though!
and i'm sure i will stay connected to my blog and internet, it is proven to be a huge support system for me and i dont intend to give it up unless the real world takes over.

Chris said...

I just came across your blog. It is fascinating. I was reading and thinking how you cannot be very old, picking up and leaving like that. But you are the same age as me! (I'll be 49 inside of a month) Oh, the things, the stuff! I was recently reading a NYTimes article about the amount of storage space in America and how people use it. We are all collectively crazy, you know? I am in the middle of an attic space turned into an art studio project. I am totally hating myself just based on all of the clothes I have in all different sizes for all the times I have gained and lost weight.

How can a person see your art for sale?

self taught artist said...

i loved reading that post on your attic, and other things on your blog.glad you found me and visa versa!
emailed you with how to see my work (if you didn't get it, all you have to do it check out my sidebar for website and etsy links)

Karen Stiehl Osborn said...

I feel your pain! It is one thing to pare down your art supplies because you've changed course and no longer want those materials, but it is quite another to be forced to pare down when you're not ready yet. I hope this move brings you inner peace and creativity!