Letters to myself: Prelude

I am a hoarder.

I’m not a hoarder to the extreme; I don’t need interventions¹, I don’t need to clean out rooms with a shovel. My living space is only a health hazard if you’re not careful of the books and knock a stack over on yourself, or if I’ve missed a pin somewhere in the rug. But when I get attached to something, I keep it, I’ll store it, I’ll put it in something else, and save it. Sometimes I’ll poke through these things when I move or rearrange, but often they just get moved wholecloth and left to look into later.

Lately, that “later” is now. I am going through a big change in my life that has involved a move and a downsizing of Stuff. Before the move, I sloughed off a lot of random effluvia that had collected around me but meant nothing – more than five garbage bags of outdated or wrong-sized clothing, for example. Now, post-move, I have been settling into my new space with a determined effort to make it feel like mine, and not in the way that my space has tended to be defined, but in the way that I WANT it to be. Some ass-busting in recent weeks has resulted in a delightful setup of my drop-front secretary desk against one wall of the room², flanked by 4′ tall 3′ wide bookshelves on either side. I’ve got my wire shelving unit holding up all my yarn, fiber, painting, and other sundry craft goodies. I have my loom on a small card table. I’ve got my dressmaker’s dummy lurking behind the bathroom door to scare the pants off me at night when it’s dim and nature calls and I’ve forgotten that it’s there. And in the midst of it all is my papasan chair, ready to shift in any direction I should need.

The bookshelves, however, are mostly empty, and I’ve been making occasional trips to Deep Cold Storage (a.k.a. the second floor of the barn) to liberate things for which I have a current or upcoming need: some of my books, cloth, and other things discovered during my search for… things. I just made one such trip to get some cloth for a project, and returned not only with that, but also a stack of notebooks (8 this time, bringing the grand total thus far up to 23), and 5 cigar boxes. I haven’t even begun to dig through all the notebooks, but the cigar boxes are like tiny time capsules, offering forth a physically limited glimpse back into my self over past years, and what I felt was small but worth saving. I have uncovered five of these boxes, and plan to go through each one’s contents here.

In doing so, I am hoping in part to rediscover the things that were important to me, and in doing so reconnect with what I have found valuable through passing years – or perhaps discover that I have moved on, and therefore slip free from my precious space things which have lost their value, and become simply clutter. There is much to learn, I think, in going back to one’s roots, to reestablish a lost grounding. I will, I hope, become a little more in tune with my self.


¹ Except perhaps in the case of my compulsive notebook habit.

² Which has accursedly slanted ceilings against two opposing walls, and of the other two, one is dominated by two doorways and a bureau, the other by two windows, which makes it difficult to place tall things anywhere in the room.

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