Over the last week my parents have been moving into my "big" house. I should say my mother has been moving into my house as my dad is out of town on business. My "big house" is smaller than the one they are leaving. Obviously, there is going to be some conflict with space.
My mother is a bit of a pack rat. I don't think we have gotten to hoarder proportions but there is a lot of redundancy and just unnecessary stuff. How many salt shakers do you need? How many insulated cups? She purchases solid plastic re-usable straws as opposed to the disposable variety (yea!) but she has approximately 1000 of them. She also needs to have a separate desk for every imaginable purpose. She has a fine, large desk with a hutch attached to it. She can keep books and knick knacks in the hutch, but I'm not really sure what the desk is for as she insists on a different desk for the computer and printer. If she wants to read a book or write in her journal she usually engages in those activities while sitting on her bed. And, really, the desk was pretty big in her last house. She has found a space for it in her/my house, but it is simply too big. She has cookware she swears she uses all the time, but can not possibly use that often as she prefers mostly finger foods and things that require little if any effort.
I don't want to slag my mother, though. Its a problem in the United States. We consume almost a quarter of the energy used on the planet every day but have only about 5% of the world's population. And that doesn't even begin to talk about other natural resources like water, wood, land, etc.
I worked-- not too long ago-- in a warehouse where I packaged merchandise for shipment. It was a company that dealt with merchandise for fans of major league sports. Anything and everything you could think of to stick some sort of team logo on, we had. I packed bobble heads of major league players, dishes, t-shirts, stuffed animals, elves-on-the-shelf made to look like your favorite player, hats, pens, lanyards, cups, shoes, baby clothes (because it's never to early to brand your baby)-- and I swear to you this is true-- screw caps. "What is a screw cap?" you may ask. A screw cap is just what it sounds like. It is a small cap to go on the end of a screw-- usually used for the screws that hold in your license plate-- that had a team logo on them. This item is so small that, not only is the car behind you not going to be able to see the logo, they are not going to be able to see the cap at all. Nor are they likely to care. But our need for self expression is so great-- at a time, I might add, when peak oil is a thing and global warming is no longer up for debate-- that we must use the world's precious and dwindling resources to let everyone know just how important the Packers are to us. Or the Steelers, or the . . . well you get the idea.
Over the past year, even before I had decided for sure that I was going to build the tiny, I began getting rid of stuff. I got rid of my washer and dryer because both were broken and I wasn't sure when I would have the money to get them fixed. It was incredibly liberating. I just felt relief. I would like to say I went on a binge of getting rid of stuff, but it all sort of trickled away over the next several months. My car. . . . let me tell you about my car. . .
I hadn't had a ticket in years. I had never been in an accident in which I was at fault. During the month of January I got three tickets. The last one came from a small fender bender that knocked something loose in the car sufficiently that it wouldn't start. Again, I didn't know when I would have the money to fix it and I really didn't care. Clearly, this was a sign from God. I put it up on Craigslist and let it go for a song and a few sweet nothings. I've been without a car before. It was a relief to be without it again. At this moment I am still without one and have no immediate plans to get one. I live in an area that makes it possible to carry on the functions of life with out one.
Anyway, I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff, but have a lot more to go. Mostly books. They are the hardest to part with. I know that with the advent of electronic devices, one can hold an entire library in the palm of a hand, but I keep thinking of the Zombie Apocolypse that on some level of consciousness we all know is coming and I think of not only what books would I want, but what books would I want to impart to future generations about the way we were.
So, there it is. My parent's are living in my house now. I am trying to get out and get the tiny to a place where I can move into it. And I still have a long way to go.