Before I left to teach the Lobster Primer last night, I was vacuuming, feeling anxious about a life path that is everything but stable and consistent. And, as I was vacuuming, I was looking at all my/our stuff. And I was a little disgusted with myself. I’ve recently quit smoking, not because I set out to or wanted to, but because I was smoking one night and was filled with an overwhelming feeling of what are you doing? and then I didn’t smoke again. So, I’m vacuuming morning, and I kinda got the same feeling looking at my bookshelf with stuff sliding out of it into a pool on top of an empty storage crate. I saw odd purchases of stuff that seemed so important and meaningful in the moment of purchase: two cookie tins that I had to have in Ithaca last week, for example. I stood there and thought, I have a little hoarder in me. Not in the A&E Buried Alive way, but in the frustrating, bad feng shui way. The Grey Gardens in the making kind of way. Do I really need 5 copies of the magazine that published my recipe? Or, can I make room in my life and believe that that’s not the only magazine that’s ever going to publish me?

Later in the day, I was reading the NYTimes website and came across this article about consumption and happiness. I was moved. And I’m not usually moved, being a cynical New Yorker and all. Then I started reading this blog called Rowdy Kittens and while I’m not planning to scale back to 100 belongings (though I wasn’t planning to quit smoking, either) I’m so inspired to purge all the crap that has filled our house and to deal with the anxiety and guilt that it all generates. I feel like I’m planning a big trip to somewhere new.

So, I’m going to write a bit about that. Fear not, there’s lots of recipes there in the left side bar to be found, and I hope you flip through the archive or use the search tool up top and type in what you want to cook or read about. And I will pepper in some new food finds, videos and recipes. But I want to take you on a raw trip with me and hopefully I’ll make some room for what I really need space for and what life really holds.

Does this totally freak you out? Am I sounding all Oprah new-agey? Or are you looking at a pile of your own, thinking, “I hear that sister!” Tell me, I really want to hear your thoughts.

  • Eleni

    Hey Emily – so funny! I was talking to my mom about that article yesterday. I’ve managed to keep things pretty purged with my constant moving about the country, but it always seems to start piling again and I always find myself disgusted by the constant accumulation of stuff. When I moved to NY four months ago, I fit all of my worldly possessions, my dog, and all of his worldly possessions in my Subaru Outback, and I know I couldn’t do that now – in just four months. So I’ll give you a big ol’ I hear you cousin!! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on it!

  • Janice

    The article got it right- it’s experiences that stay with you. The stuff you acquire gives much more transitory pleasure.

  • Patricia

    Emily, I L-O-V-E this!! Already checked out Rowdy Kittens, and like what I found. I am about to begin my two-week vacation tomorrow, when I will turn what I call my feng shui nightmare, into something more peaceful and meaningful. I will certainly be following your thread, and making my own contributions. Should I save the bag of your stuffed animals?? 😉

  • Lisa

    Hi Emily – Lisa from Green Table today, told you I’d look you up! Glad I found you and will be following your de-cluttering while catching up on your recipes. Hope the rest of your day went well, thanks for your help! Lisa

    • Emily

      Hi Lisa – Thanks for finding me! I’m really looking forward to your thoughts on my stuff purge. Did you sign up for the email list on the left? Thanks and talk to you soon!

  • Emily

    I am really excited about writing this out. Mark and I got into our first discussion about what “this” means tonight, and I am feeling like I’m about to take an exciting trip to Stufflessville. Thanks for your support and I’ll be not smoking and keeping you posted! Revealing photos also are guaranteed.

  • Nora

    I love this. I recently moved and sold or gave away a ton of my stuff to keep moving costs down. I made almost $200 on two stoop sales! It’s hard to part with your stuff at first, but if you remove the emotional attachment, you can say goodbye quite easily. It’s absolutely liberating! Anything you haven’t used in a year – get rid of it. My new place is clutter free with minimal furniture and it’s very calming. And welcome to the ex smoker club. I’ve been a member five years now. :)

  • Taylor

    I hear that sister!

  • Carolyn Wilson

    Lead the way, Emily. I’ve got 3 decades more than you of moderate hoarding. It only gets worse. If you can pare down now, the future will be freer of stuff anxiety. I am getting much better about not adding, but still having trouble with getting rid of STUFF.

    CBW in KY