I am trying to simplify my life and am especially ridding myself of extraneous “stuff.” Can you help inspire me with a poem? — Ella

 

I empathize with you, Ella, as I’ve been trying to do the same thing for quite some time. I’m one of those people who likes to save every ticket stub, receipt, and postcard — as if these things will somehow compensate for my poor memory — which necessitates memory boxes and scrapbooks that pile up year after year, and if I don’t have the time to put them into a scrapbook or memory box, they stay crammed in a corner of my desk competing for imperative with the pile of bills I need to pay. So, I understand, and even if your “stuff” is different than my “stuff,” we both could learn a great deal… More…

What’s the line between collecting and hoarding?  If you’re a collector, you’ll be in the Sunday supplement:  a personal profile accompanied by a photograph of you, surrounded by your collection and smiling as you hold a prize specimen (teddy bears or baseball gloves, it doesn’t matter). But if you’re a hoarder, you and your home become a subject for reality TV.

I cast my eyes around my living room and count the small brass bells I’ve arranged on each flat surface. I stop at 11 not because I can’t bear to continue, but because that’s all I have. Still, the bells have become a definite decorating feature. They’re “dust collectors,” my mother’s favorite word to disparage a no-longer-beloved tchotchke — or any decorative item she advised me against buying. Although I still dust them, I stopped polishing the bells long ago. Even so they look like a collection, and they… More…