stuff, and so much of it

one of the difficulties with possessing such a tangled personality as mine is that contrary traits often clash. i routinely find myself in conflict with…well, myself, when one characteristic opposes another.

for instance, my impulse to learn and read and research is frustrated by my relational nature that craves quality time with people (bookworm meets social butterfly). my “lists are awesome” inclination to be overly prepared and organized collides with my tendency to take advantage of life’s spontaneous opportunities (type a meets plan b). my propensity to save things out of frugality contradicts with my desire to keep a clean and simple space (pack-rat meets neat freak).

my latest schizophrenic episode was prompted by this very “keep it or throw it out?” internal debate. this weekend i was again cleaning out my stores of extras: bed linens that no longer belong to a set, office supplies i’ll never use, and dusty serving pieces that haven’t gotten good mileage since my calendar was full of bridal showers to host. all of these things are useful, and perhaps (eventually) useful to me, but keeping them on hand doesn’t lend itself to a uncluttered home.

my real dilemma is not whether i should stuff an item back in the closet, throw it away, sell it, or donate it – it’s reconciling how i can have so much stuff to begin with. i’ve been overwhelmed with the quantity of my possessions before: when packing a zillion boxes to move, returning from a mission trip in a third-world country, or encountering someone in real need; but every time it takes me by surprise how guilty and grateful i feel at the same time.

i want to always remember not only to appreciate what i have, but to use it, and share it. nothing deserves to be hoarded in a just-in-case closet.

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