Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Getting ready to move. Downsizing time. Condo living is going to be a big, big adjustment for us. The perks? No more need for snow shovels, lawnmower, garden tools and such. The downside? I'll get back to you on that--some time this fall.

I'm reminded how much technologies have changed since I became interested in photography, for instance, back in the '70s. I've gone through about 10,000 slides, paring down from three or four big boxes to about 500 slides. I'm not sure what drove me to take all those pictures of trees and churches and waterfalls; my criterion for keeping/discarding has become this: if it doesn't have a recognizable face on it, is over or underexposed, is poorly composed, I must have had landfill in mind when I took it. 

Anyone want to buy a 35mm slide projector or a mint condition Super 8 movie projector, cheap?

George Carlin's routine called “Stuff” is not only one of his funniest sketches, but really brings home what we're going through as we begin to sell, box, discard, destroy most of our “stuff.” If you've never seen it, click here and then consider that if you haven't yet gone through the agony of down-stuffing, trust me, you will. 

Take the library we've accumulated over the years. What motivated us to buy books, read them, and then put them on a shelf. A dictionary maybe, but a novel? Who reads novels twice? 

In Saskatchewan these days, every public library is one library. Any book you want can be ordered on line in a few minutes and picked up at your local library toot sweet. Oh we say things like, “Well I just love the look and the feel of a book; I can't read from a screen!” But if feeling and looking at a book is where it's at, you really need only one book, one that looks and feels (maybe even smells) really, really good. 

Unfortunately we have book shelves our brother made for us. They're really quite lovely with their glass doors. We're giving away or recycling most of our books but we've decided to pick out some that have really attractive spines, place them tastefully on the shelves, set them off with whatever brick-a-brac stuff we haven't thrown away and . . . and postpone one bit of down-stuffing for yet another time.

Dealing with disposal of stuff is a real headache. Fortunately, we have a spunky local gal who maintains a buy/sell Facebook page and this has really worked for us. The local nursing home came by today to pick up the electric fireplace we may have used five times since we got it five years ago. (That averages out to once per year.) My snow blower has found a home with an RCMP corporal in Saskatoon.

But then the temptation to put on a garage sale rears its ugly head. So here's a packet of 7- #8, 1½ inch screws. Put them on the for-sale table? Chuck them in the garbage? So many decisions; so little motivation!

But having stuff, I mean, really good stuff has always been so comforting. Windowsills full of plant pots, shelves and shelves of books and knickknacks, ten comfortable places to sit for two people, techy stuff that makes short work of any problem, outfits of clothes for every occasion, garden gnomes and ornaments, cars and vans and pickup trucks and on and on.

Here's a rule of thumb made clearer while down-stuffing: whatever you paid for a given piece of stuff will lose 75% of its monetary value when you take it out of the bag, drive it off the lot, see the Purolater truck stopping at your door.

Tempted back to the shopping channel or Amazon? Do watch Carlin before you buy any more stuff.

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