We are simplifying here. Getting rid of things we don’t need and don’t particularly want. We started with coats. Our coat racks were overflowing with coats that we hardly ever wore. So I went through mine, Marie went through hers, and we are sending a bunch of them to Goodwill or the local thrift store. A few old ratty ones we threw away. Felt good!

Now to move on to the rest of our clothes, then our books. Marie got a very fast document scanner and has been scanning and getting rid of paper. I plan to do the same.

Now I have only four coats; they are all coats I like and will wear. My old leather coat, my good rain coat from The North Face, a light-weight black coat from LL Bean, and a heavy-duty cold-weather coat from LL Bean. The test we used is the one from Marie Kondo’s book,
The life-changing magic of tidying up

Her test is, “Does it bring you joy?”

And we’re just getting started!

This is all part of “tidying up,” in order to get our physical possessions in good order. We just have too much stuff. We have so much stuff that doesn’t bring us joy. We’ve lived here for seventeen years and I’ve accumulated more stuff than I’ve ever had before in my life.

I remember well the feeling of utter freedom I had, once up on a time, hitchhiking from Los Angeles to Vancouver BC in 1972; I owned nothing but what was on my person or in my duffle bag, and everything I owned, I loved.

There’s an old famous Chinese fable of an emperor whose daughter lay dying of a mysterious ailment. I’m modifying it here to fit our situation:

The wise man of the court said that to cure the princess, he would need “the shirt of a truly free man.” The emperor dispatched riders to every corner of the empire with instructions to bring him the shirt of a truly free man. Over the subsequent weeks, they returned, each one empty handed, until the last one came back only to report that he had, indeed found a truly free man, but that he had had no shirt. (So, yes, of course, the princess dies!) The wise man was not particularly wise, and the emperor was foolish, because a cupful of quinine water would have cured her. But what did he know?

It’s lovely walking past the coat racks now. I can find my favorite coats and pick the one I want to wear, without having to dig through others I don’t like, and without dropping any of them on the floor.

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