Getting rid of stuff

I wish I could brag I’m like David Henry Thoreau giving up the house to live at the cabin, but my husband and I still have a long way to go before we achieve the simple life.
We’re stepping in the right direction, however. For example, over the past few weeks we’ve sold, stored and given away dozens—okay hundreds—of household and personal possessions.
One thing we’ve let go of is ownership of a television, which somehow alarms people more than the fact that we’ve moved to a place without a road.
Then there are things like shoes, neck ties and cookie tins: the people at the goodwill store are over their heads in the stuff. Even our friends and family are starting to curse the “gifts” that are landing through their doors.
But at least we’re feeling lighter—what’s left all fits into a 5’ x 8’ U-haul trailer.
So why are we doing this? I’ll ask myself the same question when I miss that fourth salt and pepper shaker or that hideous toothpick holder, but otherwise it feels like a natural transition.
Only if I forget to buy something like milk or toilet paper one day, or we’re short that one bolt to fix something, do I feel I’ll miss a possession.
The lake and woods are too beautiful, and remote work life has its conveniences as well.
No more dressing up to go to work, no more busy daily commutes, no more senseless work meetings, and best of all, we’re away from the seamless array of consumer pressures which exist in the city, which means less “stuff.”
For Thoreau, fewer possessions meant owning a bed, desk, three chairs and a wash basin; for us it means hauling a bright orange U-Haul trailer crammed with things like computer supplies, snowmobile helmets and lots of packaged food products.
The U-Haul is parked at the bottom of our steep, ruddy boathouse hill where it looks as out of place as a disco ball.
When we unloaded, we also coloured the place with our language, especially when we shoved my large computer armoire through the boathouse door.
But with a little muscle we got what we wanted loaded in the boat, just in time for a couple friendly guys to pull up with their loaded half tonne.
“Looks like you’re moving to the cabin,” called out the driver rather questioningly, but grinning.
“Why, yes we are,” I replied.
“Hey,” he then says to his companion. “They’ve made it through October. You owe me five bucks.”
This exchange continues to make me chuckle as I sit here writing from my dented computer armoire.
Maybe this new life isn’t exactly like Thoreau’s, but since I stopped caring about stuff that doesn’t matter, life is getting lighter.
P.S. Let me know what’s light about your lake life by e-mailing me at: joanna@escape.ca

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