Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Men have become tools of their tools."

Not so very long ago, I was attempting to do some cleaning and organizing but found myself awash in the endless piles of STUFF in our tiny house (and yes, you can expect to hear many complaints about all the stuff we have milling about). I nearly broke down as a pile of said stuff fell from the top shelf of our hall closet, landing square on the top of my head, and in a fit of rage at having let things get like this, I shouted to my husband, "I am sick of all this STUFF in our house! We don't own it! All this STUFF owns US!" and in that very moment, I realized that I had hit upon as true an idea as I had ever had. I was absolutely right. Our lives were being run, and being run rather poorly, by all the things we had at some point thought we "needed."

We live in a small home, by American standards. Between the four of us (six if you count the fur babies), we share 840 square feet with no yard to speak of. We have a hall closet, and...well, that's nearly it for storage space. In such small quarters, it becomes very apparent, very quickly, that we are the tools of our tools. We seem constantly to be running through cycles of de-cluttering and re-organizing, only to find ourselves a few months later at the very same place we were before. We literally have days where we can't get from point A to point B because of all the STUFF around here. And truthfully, if it were all to suddenly vanish, I could count on one hand the items I would really, truly miss. So what is it all doing here?

We used to say we needed a bigger house. But now my feeling is that a bigger house would essentially do the same thing a bigger purse does--fill up. Have you ever noticed that when your purse fills and you get another, bigger purse, you suddenly have more than enough "essentials" to fill up the larger purse as well? And yet, the larger purse is only more cumbersome--the extra weight pulls your shoulder, the added depth makes it harder to find the few essentials that slip to the bottom, the papers you thought would be handy are suddenly crumpled into wastebasket-approved balls, and so it goes until your chiropractor is telling you he will be charging extra for your adjustments if you don't just "get rid of that thing." A tool of your tool.

I'm trying...trying to get rid of the things we must have once thought we "needed". Trying to keep only things that are truly essential. Trying to only allow things in our home that add to the vision of peace and simplicity we are working to cultivate. Trying not to be such a tool.


  1. Love this post Kierra. I know it's another "thing", but have you read the book Secrets of Simplicity by Mary Carlomagno? It's laid out beautifully with lots of room to write, ponder, etc. Your Money or Your Life is another one that's always on our nightstands.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, Megan! Thursday is library day and I will be looking for them!


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