Happy to follow the sublime Tim Minchin’s advice, I always take my canvas bags to the supermarket. They come in many guises; some are beautiful creations, whilst others are mere advertising spaces, two I received after running 5km and at least one was a prize. As you can see, they quickly add up. I now own 25 of them.
It’s clearly time to start saying no to any more freebies. Plus, I need to always carry some with me, so I’m not tempted to buy another. After all, these reusable bags have their own impact on the environment and need to be used LOTS to be less problematic than the plastic variety they are replacing (a UK Environmental Agency report found that a cotton bag would need to be used well over 100 times to have a lower environmental impact than a single-use plastic bag.)
So, my promise today is twofold… to take my canvas bags to the supermarket, and to acquire no more canvas bags.
If you haven’t heard Tim’s awesome anthem to the humble canvas bag, here you go (you will love it, but will possibly be singing it in your head for the next day or two.)
….. there was nothing, nothing at all, but to cut a very long story short now there is stuff. Not a little more stuff, noooh, so much stuff that we are drowning in it. Now and again we come up for air and see the sky (or the floor) and then we are dragged back under until breathless we surface again.
What are we to do? Well in these times, of course, tackle our problems by blogging and hope others will help make our journey an adventure not a route march. This blog will follow our victories and defeats over the coming weeks, months, maybe even years, as we fight our way to freedom from the tyranny of stuff. We know it is not going to be plain sailing (promise to keep the references to our watery theme to a minimum!) as it’s not always clear cut to us what is good and bad stuff. After all if it were easy we wouldn’t be us.”
Hard as it is to believe it is a whole year since we wrote those words back then we knew we couldn’t “let go of stuff; stuff in the kitchen, stuff from the past, stuff on our phones and worst of all stuff in our heads.” Little did we realise what we would learn over the coming year how true it was that “we hate waste and combine it with a sentimental attachment to the memories embedded in ‘things’.”
In today’s post we planned to look back and share with you what we have learnt as we marched, skipped, trudged, meandered along the road to unclutterment. For example, we learnt we were not alone and that others had been down the same paths whether it was tackling food waste, plastic pollution, litter or mending stuff. We have though decided that looking back for us, is not the way forward. We already are too firmly rooted in the past surrounded by stuff. Today we plan to boldly go where Stuffoholics rarely tread. Don’t know where ‘there’ is but come along for the ride.
It’s been a year now since we started this strange experiment in clearing our homes of needless stuff. Are both our houses significantly airier and clutter-free? Not especially so.
These days we have a far better idea of what we no longer want or need, but unfortunately we’re also hindered by a massive guilty conscience regarding what happens to this stuff when we get rid of it. Chucking it all in a skip is no longer an option, instead we try to re-home, re-purpose or re-cycle just about every item that leaves the house. Which is surely an improvement, but does prove time consuming.
So far this year, I’ve waved goodbye to 44 books. Some were sold on eBay, some Bookcrossed & others left on free reading shelves. Whilst pondering this week’s blog, a particular title leapt out at me….
I didn’t read this book before rehoming it, so Neuro-Linguistic Programming will forever remain a mystery to me. However, the title summed up our current predicament; every frog is potentially somebody’s prince… our task is to round up each of our unwanted frogs and gift them to people who will welcome them as princes.
Today a lesson in letting go of things so I can have space and someone else (and me too) can make new memories.
So what is the bag’s story, where has it been , what has it seen?
This bag was given to my son by his uncle one Christmas, so already it’s tale laden with emotional baggage. The perfect ‘cool’ present that I never pick but my brother always does. The bag put to immediate use, and always overladen. Whenever I trip over it I know my son has returned home. Fast forward a few years and bag has done sterling service and ventured far but handle is in need of repair and the laptop it carries so expensive that it is foolish to rely on faithful bag any longer. Time for bag, like me to step back from son’s life.
But I’m a stuffoholic, I couldn’t just let the bag go. I filled it with stuff, not because it made sense, but it gave me a reason to keep a bag , which whenever I looked at it I remembered my son. No damage then. Well yes there was. The bag took up precious space and became not a reminder of my son’s presence but of his absence. When looked at no longer a reminder he would be home soon but of need to accept he would never be coming back. The charity shop beckons. Time for this old ‘friend’ to go on adventures new. My son knew this when he discarded the bag but I have had to go on this journey. Be careful of embedding memories in things, remember it is the memory not the thing that needs to survive. And if you decide to keep the thing make sure when you look or touch it , it still evokes good memories or it is time to send it on its way, to let it go.