Wednesday, July 26, 2006

We're collecting collections

I've read a bit of a book my co-worker has sitting on her desk, called, "Living the Simple Life," and it's quite appealing. Especially the part about paring down the physical amount of stuff we own. The author made a reference to looking at just the stuff we plug into the wall, and then I started thinking that I could narrow that focus down to just the rechargables and it's amazing. Here's the list of rechargable things in our house:
1. My cell phone
2. M's cell phone
3. My palm pilot
4. iPod
5. Lil' Nikon point 'n shoot
6. Big Dog Nikon D100
7. Battery recharger for batteries to be used in remotes, toys, radios, etc.
8. M's laptop, when he brings it home

We have a container on our kitchen counter that just holds all the recharging cords. This is ridiculous.

I can't see getting rid of any of the stuff on that list, but it's just an example of how complicated our lives have become. There has got to be other ways to pare down.

The book referenced Barbra Streisand's efforts to simplify: she sold five of her seven houses and got rid of her Tiffany Lamp collection. Now, I've only got my one (broken) house, so I can't go to that extreme, but I'm starting to wonder about our "collections." We have beer steins, sports memorabilia, matchbooks, Precious Moments figurines, antique cameras, books, Legos, various assorted flying toys (you can guess whose those are). I have a little container of perfume samples in my dresser drawer that I've had for years. I think I've worn each of them maybe once, at that. Why do I keep them?

Most of this stuff sits around and is rarely looked at or used, except when we have to clean them. The steins alone are worth a small fortune, and while they're cool as hell, I'm starting to wonder if we really need them. (I know I'm going to get a call from M the moment he reads this: "Noooo! We can't get rid of the beer steins!") It's not just the steins, though. It's all the crap that comes with them. We store the boxes downstairs b/c everyone knows you must keep the original packaging to retain value. In starting to clean out our storage area out there, I piled stein boxes on the long couch to a stack about three feet high. Then there are the little collateral pieces that come with them...collectors pins and pens and certificates and flashlights and assorted crapola that we'll never use because they have the A-B logo on them and are part of the "collection." Also, being members of the Official Anheuser-Busch Stein Collectors Club, we get the quarterly newsletters that we dutifully stick in the Official Anheuser-Busch Stein Collectors Club Newsletter Binder, along with the regular publication of where we can purchase Official Anheuser-Busch Steins, never to read them again. They get filed behind the little laminated sheet that contains our annual Official Anheuser-Busch Stein Collectors Club Charter Membership cards.

So, we spend tons of money on items that sit on a shelf and rarely get looked at, we spend time cleaning these items, we give up precious storage space to store the empty boxes these items came in, and more space to store the collateral items we will never use or look at again. And this is just one of our many collections.

Can you see where I'm going with this?!

P.S. We still don't have power...but at least we have each other!


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