Monday, 5 March 2012


A not so distant cousin of mine, the packrat

I started buying beads wholesale in my early thirties. Wholesale, folks – no little tiny tubes, but kilos and half kilos. At various times, I’ve worked with wooden beads, solid brass beads, I’ve made polymer clay beads and ceramic beads. I purchase Swarovski crystal, fire polished beads, glass beads, semi-precious cabochons and beads and (Goddess knows) seed beads and Delicas. I have every glue, varnish and resin known to man. There is acrylic and oil paint, solvents, brushes, colored pencils. After a ruthless cleaning, my polymer clay equipment & the remaining clay take up about 4 square feet.

And I continued buying. And buying.  Yet, I never seem to have exactly what I need. The excess is in my storage closet, my studio, the linen closet and a chest of drawers. There is barely room to add a safety pin, anywhere.

Then there are the books. Until this week, the only room in my apartment not bulging with books was the bathroom. And only because it’s too humid to stick a bookcase there.

I love pottery. I love stones and have bowls and bowls of them. I love clothes and seem to think that no matter how old an item is, I will want to wear it again. Or, on the rare occasion I decide I won’t wear it again and I wait – because if I’m giving it to a charity, it should be washed first. Somehow, my regular laundry always takes precedence. 

I don’t like reading on-screen. So I print articles and have them spiral bound or add them to lumpy binders. Chances are I will never read them again, but there they are.

This is a cautionary tale. If you do this, by the time you are sixty, you need a 2 story house with a big basement for your stuff.  And it begins to crowd in. It weighs you down – takes on a sodden energy all its own. 

My ex-husband used to call our place, “Linda’s Curio Shop” – and mostly when people visit for the first time, they find it interesting. So many oddities to look at. 

Clearing it out, given the perpetual headache, has been a gruesome task. And it seems like anyone who calls dibs on an item can never come to get it soon – or can only come when I have to be out. But I’m getting there.  Having packed at least a third of my possessions, it’s still pretty stuff-heavy in here, but I’m beginning to be able to breathe. When the junk removal guy comes to collect the boxes and bags and old furniture, it will seem positively airy. And I will bid goodbye to everything I just couldn’t justify letting go of with a sigh of relief. 

If I don’t drop from exhaustion before I’m done.

Send burly men (or women) with trucks. 
Send Tequila. And if you send Tequila – have pity and take the bottle home with you.

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