Clearing out

I want these guys. I sat out front my grocery store staring at them for a solid five minutes. I just kept wondering where I would store them. I couldn't come up with anything. Too much stuff over here!

I want these guys. I sat out front my grocery store staring at them for a solid five minutes. I just kept wondering where I would store them. I couldn't come up with anything. Too much stuff over here!

Unless you live in Texas, you've probably never heard of Round Top. It's a tiny Texas town (population 90) about an hour from where I live, and every year Round Top hosts this fantastical, over-the-top antiques fair. I'm not precisely certain about the genesis of the phenomenon, I only know that three times a year every antiques dealer, vintage goods peddlar, and flea market purveyor for 1000s of miles converges on Round Top, Texas. Miles of tents. More reclaimed wood, and 1960s ceramics, and old maps, and vintage linens than you can shake a stick at. I'm serious. It would literally take you all day just to drive through all the tents while stick shaking. It's so, SO much.

I'd never been to the Round Top extravaganza before, so Debbie and I loaded up in the big truck (to haul all of our giant purchases) and headed into the countryside. We stopped at several tent cities, parked the truck, and set out to find some treasures. We walked up and down the aisles pointing out cool stuff. But we didn't really stop. How could we stop? There were MILES of tents to go. Also, it was 90 degrees outside with 137% humidity. After about an hour we were like two lost castaways, stumbling along the sandy dunes. Looking for water. A place to sit. A crumb to lift my depressingly low blood sugar. Guys, our treasure hunting skills were subpar. There was no motivation to pluck the gem from the pile of junk. 

We went home with nothing. Well, actually Debbie bought one metal Santa (measuring about 8" high), so GOOD THING WE BROUGHT THE TRUCK! Yeehaw! 

Part of our lack of success was that we were plumb overwhelmed. But the majority of our reticence to purchase came from a feeling of TOO MUCH STUFF. There was too much stuff all around us and too much stuff in our homes. How could we fit more stuff? Where would we put it? 

With Christmas swiftly approaching (oh, so swiftly), I'm getting myself all worked up about stuff. Christmas, as the grand poobah of consumerism, could, and probably will, mean a whole new wave of STUFF lining up to enter our already STUFFed-to-the-gills closets and drawers. And don't even get me started on the garage.  

My point is that I need to pair down. In the early years of our marriage I wanted STUFF and more stuff -- to feather our nest, to prove we were making it, to appease that gnawing need deep inside that can only be satisfied at Target. And babies need STUFF. And toys. And exersaucer things. I'm feeling more and more that I need to teach my older kids about being content. About buying high quality goods that last, rather than shiny baubles that satisfy only for the moment. About avoiding a consumerist trap that requires so much money, and time, and UPKEEP. 

But first I'll have to walk the walk. I'm initiating project NO MORE STUFF (except for the stuff I really, really love or really, really need). I realize that if my movement is to catch on I'll need a more succinct title. Anyone want to join me?

I'm currently mildly obsessed with this blog post -- "Clutter-free Forever {Vintage Tips for an Organized Home} ." Ruth, the author, writes about the limitless spending and collecting that our postmodern cultural allows and encourages: "We live in a time of more excess and waste than ever before.  We think nothing of a closet full of clothes, where our grandmothers and great-grandmothers only ever had a few dresses and a single pair of shoes to get them by.  Holidays and birthdays are accompanied by piles of gifts rather than just one or two, while our kitchens and bathrooms are packed to the gills with gadgets, accessories, and products." And then she gives TIPS, and an entire PROCESS for becoming clutter-free forever. It sounds dreamy to me. Also -- a lot of work. But I'm game. I'm in. What about you?

Also, check out Ruth's post about taking away her kids' toys. Apparently this caused quite a stir (and I'm the last person to find out). I think her idea sounds FABULOUS.