Saturday, May 14, 2011

Scanning the Horizon... and Everything Else


I have scanned, so far this week, 361 individual pages.  That includes: photos, my junior high school yearbook, poems, cards and letters, and a variety of other personal and legal documents.  Jerry has been very busy (and very bored) scanning, as well.  He, not being anal-retentive, has not kept track of how many documents and photos he has scanned.  There have, I'm sure, been many.  But, I'm equally sure he hasn't been nearly as productive as I.  Who could be?  Unfortunately, I repeated this claim to Jerry and he said he plans to count HIS files, too.  I may have to eat my words (or I could just lie when I report the results).  Or, even more likely, Jerry won't bother counting his files (OK... now that I've written that, he definitely will be counting).

We have discarded (recycled) the originals of all those scanned items, which means that I personally have discarded more than 361 pieces of "stuff." Come to think of it, considering the fact that all those cards and letters came with envelopes, I've easily discarded more than 500 pieces of stuff.


I continue to be amazed by how easy it is to part with things I've been carting around for I-don't-want-to-say how many years.  I think my new obsession may well be minimalism (well in addition to continuing to straighten chairs in restaurants as I pass empty tables).  Don't worry.  I don't walk around the entire table; I just give vagrant chairs a gentle nudge back into position.


A rep from our local consignment store was here yesterday afternoon and they're going to sell some of our remaining furniture.  I should have realized, however, that a posh Newport Beach consignment store wouldn't take just any old thing.  I had created a spreadsheet with a room-by-room breakdown of what we would like to sell — remember, anal-retentive.  The rep started in the living room, looking slowly and deliberately at the first item on the list, the sofa (I believe the view was down his nose).  He then looked up and quietly said, "We'll pass."  I was shocked.  And offended.  But he explained it was simply because of its age.  Admittedly, the matching love seat was so tired that we gave it away four years ago.  He then "passed" on the next two items on the list, our old den recliners (they look like overstuffed wing chairs), not just because of their vintage but because, as he said "the fabric is completely out of date and old-fashioned."  Well!  But, OK, again he's right.  We've had those for 14 years.  He did like — love actually — our dining room table, our kitchen chairs, and many other things on the list.  He turned down our everyday wine and champagne glasses (as if we actually use them every day).  He said he'd love to take the sets of champagne and wine glasses in the antique cabinet.  Of course he would.  We're keeping those.



  1. Hello:
    How really exciting all of this is. We are much looking forward to when you are posting from your new home in EUROPE!!

    But the work to be done until that moment is quite frightening - no time to count scans or files. Simply make up an impressive total at the end, and then say that actually you lost count after reaching that number!

    Parting with possessions is never easy. When we moved to live for the most part in Hungary we had everything shipped. The cost from the UK was horrendous so we have no idea what it would be from the United States.

    But think of the fun you will both have in buying replacements!

  2. I admire your organization Mitch! Your house in Santa Barbara looked gorgeous.. it's one of my favourite places but I could never afford to live there when we lived in California.
    Given how many possessions you look to have, moving (as often as you do) must be a frightening prospect! When we moved from California to France we were pleasantly surprised by how relatively inexpensive the move was. Let me know if you want any tips re our movers.

  3. I once visited an old colonial home on a large piece of rural property in CT that was so sparsely furnished with only essentials - and modest ones at that - that it felt calming and peaceful.

    Whenever I go to someone's home that is full of "stuff" I vow to return home and purge more. We have a rule at home: nothing comes in unless at least one thing goes out. We fantasize about living on the road in our RV, so paring down has been a long term goal.

    There is something liberating in voluntarily parting with one's stuff. Then I think of those who are wiped out by disasters. I would like to know their stories in the aftermath.

  4. Jane & Lance: As far as moving preparation, we're in great shape (I can always find time to count things). We're shipping just four pieces of furniture and then boxes of personal items, so we can have hints of home right away. And, yes, shopping for replacements (but only a small percentage... minimalism is my new mantra) will be great fun.

    Craig: We always paid to have everything packed, so we never had to suffer the reality of our conspicuous consumption. We are traveling light this time!

    FDef: I love your rule of in essence trading one old for one new. And with all the purging we've been doing, I've been reminding myself to consider those people who don't do it by choice; it puts it into perspective.


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