Sunday, June 22, 2008

THE ENEMY, PART THREE: STUFF, STUFF, AND MORE STUFF

What can I say? When you buy a 3000 square foot place you just HAVE to buy a bunch of furniture. Not only do you buy run-of-the-mill stuff like a king-sized $4.5k hand-crafted wooden sleigh bed but you also take a couple of trips to antique shows so you can show the world that you can buy several expensive 400-year old Chinese pieces (for fucks sake, they actually refer to this stuff as “pieces”, not furniture). And, of course, you definitely need rice cookers, tea kettles, hampers, lamps, home office supplies, HD plasma TVs, etc…

If I could just go back in time and grab a hold of that me two years ago I would shake me firmly and scream: “What the hell are you doing!? Why do you even need all this stuff? Are you buying it because you need it or because society thinks you should own it? Do you have any idea how many natural resources were wasted just so that you, one single fucking person, can pretend to own the entire universe?

Simplicity Meets the Enemy
As they say, “everything must go!” The way to handle all this stuff is pretty simple: get rid of it by selling it, giving it away and/or giving it to friends. Going forward I will be cataloguing all the stuff I have, selling stuff on craigslist, and contacting people I trust to given them the heads up.

Timeline
It looks like the disposal process is going to have to be staggered. I can start on some of the craigslist stuff right away. However, I’ve been renting a room in the house to a friend and he will still need to have access to most of the furniture until the status of the townhouse is finalized. When the house is sold next year he will move out and I can get rid of the rest of the furniture. If all goes well, I could have all the furniture out of the house by July 2009.

13 comments:

Jennifer F. said...

Oooh yeah. Another one I can relate to. I'm currently really working on this -- even after our initial lifestyle downgrade a couple years ago we still have waaaay too much stuff. I look around my house and feel like a sort of "stuff glutton" (for lack of a better word).

A couple other things:

Thanks so much for your kind comment on my site. Also, I read a book a couple years ago that gave me great inspiration in the simplicity department. Reading it was a turning point for me -- it really inspired me to take my quest for detachment from money and stuff to a new level. It's called The Lessons of Saint Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life. I highly recommend checking it out. It's great because it brings in the spiritual aspect of simplifying your life (from a Franciscan point of view, as you can guess by the title), but it's not overly religious or preachy.

Keep up the good work!

Jonna (aka mom) said...

Oh yes, I do know a bit about furnishing a small estate (but on a much smaller scale). And the work to maintain it. And the work of hosting dinners. And the panic if there are spots on the crystal, dust on the linen, dark stains on the silver and china that doesn't shine. I can't tell you what a pain in the ass it is to dust an eighteen foot high stone fireplace from a ladder perched in a round sunken living room. And the stuff. All the stuff that is just there to fill the excess of space, to make an impression. It was the house of the man my mother was married to when I was a teen and if I wanted to stay and have a place to live, I had to be their servant. It was quite bizarre as I look back. I'm glad it is in the past. Anyways, it left me with a very strong idea that I never wanted anything that big or fancy. I never missed that place when we left it, just too much work.

Your work sounds like it takes a toll on people. That's rough.

Do you like camping? Fishing? Sure would be nice if you could just play and be carefree even for a weekend. You and a buddy or something. The outdoors is good medicine.

All the legal stuff with the townhouse is more than I understand. A big stresser. I think you will work it out well though.

Till the next post.... later dude!
Jonna

Jack said...

Jennifer,

Thanks for the recommendation. Will check it out, though probably not until this coming weekend. I have a date with a bunch of books, articles on vol simplicity, spirituality, etc...on saturday afternoon and all day sunday!

J

Jack said...

Jonna,

I'm going to try and read back on your prior posts on this, but when did you sell your old house to avoid foreclosure? How did that happen?

And would love to do more outdoor stuff. I'm definitely a city boy in desperate need to commune with nature. You know what would be cool, is to take introductory classes on camping/outdoors stuff. I think that would be soo cool and useful. Maybe they have something like that where I live...

J

Jonna (aka mom) said...

I sold my house in the spring of 2004. I remember there was some talk about the housing market back then but nothing specific around here. What struck me was when I realized there was something wrong with how the property taxes were going. They were valuing houses too high. It didn't make sense. My property taxes AND my house insurance BOTH more than doubled in one year (never filed a claim in my life!). I just didn't have enough money. I had a bad feeling about it and I wanted out.

The bad thing about the fmha loans is that when a disabled person with children gets a loan, all income is taken into account, S.S. and child support. When the child support ends because the kids grow up… the house payment does not go down. So, people like me end up losing the houses when the kids grow up. I watched others get foreclosed on. I did not want it to go that route so I signed off and sold out and left. I voluntarily went 'homeless'. I avoided the legal and financial stuff I seen others go through.
And my kids were going out on their own which made the house feel so big and empty. It felt like a tomb. I couldn't afford it alone. It was time to give it up. And here I am. Not what I thought life would be but I'm surviving. It could be worse. I'm much more fortunate than many others.

I am not sure about classes for outdoors stuff, but going on a retreat type thing might be fun. You pay for a package deal and they supply most everything. There are fishing guides all over that do that… they charge a fee and take people out and play tour guide through a couple weeks of outdoors activities. There are guides that will take people on safaris in other countries too.


Jonna

Jack said...

Jonna,

Sounds like you had a great sense of what was coming down the pipeline and made the best decision possible. And maybe that's what life is all about: you see all this stuff coming at you from all directions, you make the best decision you can and let the cards fall where they may. Definitely want to know more.

Already looking at camping Meetups and other stuff around where I live. I think all that stuff is always fun, but more than anything, it is extremely useful long-term. You never know where life is going to take you.

Take care,

J

Jonna (aka mom) said...

Good evening to you, Jack,

Am hoping your day was a good one.

What would you like to know? I can't promise that I will want to tell all on here but maybe in a personal email I would tell more, it depends on what it is. I do hold back because the internet is not something I trust.

I am glad to hear that you are checking into some outdoors activities. My instinct here is that you will not regret it. Poor soul, trapped in the cement jungle like a zoo exhibit!

Hey… outdoors stores give little classes on hunting and fishing. They had a good one on Turkey hunting years ago at Gander Mountain. My ex went and he did darn good, he got turkeys after that!

Hey, I got a cousin (well, lots of cousins) but I heard years ago this one cousin was out in DC and was one of the people who guarded the president. I got a feeling she packs a gun. I am always proud when I see family serving community and law.

Take good care and best wishes for your new life journey,
Jonna

P.S. I think this Jennifer has some answers, she sounds like she/husband has been where you are so I am finding her comments interesting too. Might be good to chat with her husband… if I am thinking of the right person here. Like minded souls, you know.

Jack said...

Jonna,

I might just contact you off-blog to know more. Sounds like you've seen a lot!

BTW, still perusing your site, but how many other like-minded people are close by to where you live?


take care,

J

Jonna (aka mom) said...

Oh yes, I've seen quite a bit of life and most of it I didn't want to. I don't blog about any of it.

Like-minded people like me around here? (chortle) Umm, none. People in my situation spend all their energy trying to get whatever they can get out of the assistance system. I don't do that. I don't even go after the stuff I probably qualify for. I got my SSI and medical and I survive. And the way I'm living? People call the county and the sheriff comes and checks on me. I've had that happen twice. I don't like it. I'm not hurting anyone, I just want to live in peace....and I don't want to do it trapped in some low income highrise full of addicts and scary people. Minnesotans are not very open minded about anything that deviates from the expected norm. I don't fit into that mold, never have. I have a great front yard with wildlife in it though. (grin)

Sharon J said...

You don't really have all that stuff, do you? Christ, I thought I'd spent too much on stuff I didn't need but I was a mere amateur in comparison! Good luck - you seem really determined so I'm sure you'll get where you're heading in the end.

Jack said...

Thanks Sharon. Super excited; already started unloading some stuff...future post material for sure.

J

Living the good life....together!! said...

Jack,

I just started reading your post today. About simplicity, I had 4 bedroom house packed full, (or at least it seemed to me. We got a small apt. then moved into a van. Right before we bought the van we gave everything away or traded for something that was practical. Gave away TV's, furniture, all the kitchen, ect. Almost all of it was giving to the less fortunate. All we have left is enough clothes to last for a week, shampoo and soap, a small amount of my knitting and sewing stuff, my laptop, his guitar, a mattress, my tarots, some tools, well you get the idea. The rest is all gone. It was hard but liberating. After we gave away alot of stuff we still had 6 boxes of stuff left. That didnt fit in the van as well as I had thought so we downsized again. My goal was 4 boxes. And we did it. You can see the pictures and know how much stuff we have left.
Lori

Jack said...

Living the good life,

Thanks for the post! BTW, definitely dig your blog. How cool must it be to be in your shoes!!

Take care,

J