The incredible being of lightness


A very illuminating and interesting aspect of leaving the city years ago was the getting rid of stuff.  And we had loads of stuff to get rid of.

Of course, we offered a smorgasbord of collected junk to our kids and close friends but the kids were still living like students and the friends had all the stuff they wanted.  The exercise of ‘shedding’ our urban trappings was to provide a cognitive shift in our thinking.

I guess you always need some stuff.  But you don’t need much stuff.  Thoreau on Walden had virtually no stuff.  Stuff is a drag.

I have never been tied to merchandise, chattel or things material much anyways.  And neither has Sal.  We just didn’t covet enough, I guess.  We had (I think) quite a few nice things in the last house including antiques and Persian carpets, art and bric a brac plus the required amount of TVs, VCRs (then) and BBQs, bicycles, computers and assorted crap, junk and detritus.  But we didn’t think of it all like the ‘treasure’ that the insurance company did: ‘worth X thousands to replace!’

Thank God for that!

The first thing Sal did was call in an antiques dealer.  She pointed out a number of lovely things (furniture, mostly) that could go and asked if he was interested.  “I am. he said.  “I’ll give you $300 for the lot!”  Sal was shocked.  She thought it was worth ten times that and that we might get half of that. At least a third.  He offered ten cents on the her very already low estimated dollar.  But her resolve was strong.  She took it and the dealer took it.  And we were a thousand pounds lighter.

Our next effort at reducing weight was a garage sale.  We advertised like mad and, on the appointed weekend day, looked out to see hordes of people.  We had loaded the driveway and the garage.  Stuff was piled deep.  And the sale went like this: “How much do you want for the BBQ?”

“Figure out half the value that it has as a used BBQ and cut that value in half.  Then cut that value in half again.  Give yourself a deal.  What do figure?”

“I have a dollar and sixty seven cents in my pocket.”  He left with the BBQ.

One person stole the lawnmower!  Wild, eh? It was a good, well-running Honda lawnmower with a $15.00 price tag on it and they stole it!  I am still shocked over that.  Getting out was looking better all the time.

When it was all said and done, we had sold just about everything we had on offer for just over $400.00.  I rented a truck and packed away the things we were going to keep.  Then I took the truck while Sal took the car and our trailer with a few more items up Vancouver Island to Campbell River.  We unloaded it all into a storage unit.  And I then gave the truck back to BUDGET.  The cost of moving stuff to Campbell River (not counting storage) was just over $400.00.  The majority of our belongings were valued, it seemed, at much the same amount as transporting about 20% of them a few hundred miles.

The storage guy asked us how long we would need the unit.  “Well, said Sal, “we are going to build our own house up on a remote island further up the coast.  That’ll take us a while.  Say, six months?”

“You are building your own house?  Constructing it yourselves?  On a remote island?  Hahaha.  I’ll write you down for 18 months and you can give me a few months notice if you need more.  Hahahaha.” 

He was right.

Admittedly, he had just watched us unload our remaining stuff and we rationalized that must have given him a mistaken impression of incompetence (we were tired) and so we just shook off the insult and vowed to pack up when the time came with speed and cooler efficiency. Even if we died in the effort.

Eighteen months later, we were $1800 poorer for the storage fees and we knew that our remaining belongings weren’t even worth that.  But worse, we weren’t ready even then to take them home.  Our stuff was becoming a burden.

It is the yin and yang of stuff.

“To hell with it!  the roof is on.  The place is dry.  The floor is down.  Let’s get our stuff out of storage and move it in anyway.  We’ll just finish around it all.  I really don’t want to pay that guy for more storage!”

“Deal!  Just one thing………….let’s blitz that unit and get everything out like our last name is Bekins!”

1 thought on “The incredible being of lightness

  1. You are ahead of the downsizing thing that people face. If you lose attachment to material things…then Buddhism looms.


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