We are not alone

A new friend of mine, Janet Hulstrand, asked me if she could interview me about my downsizing efforts and my choice to donate all the money to Planned Parenthood and Immigration/Refugee services.  I was thrilled.  I was thrilled because she thought it was a great idea and wanted to know more about it.  Thrilled because maybe I can get the word out there to raise more money.  Tuesday morning, I donated $1100 to Planned Parenthood of Oakland.  Just from selling lots of my baseball memorabilia!!

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Janet does several blogs and she teaches a great writing course in France just an hour and a half south of Paris.  The one I was featured in is called Downsizing the Home: Lessons Learned:

https://downsizingthehome.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/creative-downsizing-selling-a-collection-for-a-cause/

I read quite a bit of the site and a number of blogs that Janet had written and relearned a lesson that I have to keep learning.  I am not alone.  There are many, many people out their with my problem, seeking help and doing something about it.  Everything is so much easier if we aren’t alone.  I got so much more done when another person just comes over to help me, it’s like borrowing energy!  Many, many books are being written about organizing, purging your house,  going thru everyone of your belongings and holding it.  Does this bring joy? Yes, it’s a keeper.  No, out it goes.  Not every book is for every person but I would bet that every person finds one of those books that speaks to him or her.

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Linda Hetzer and Janet Hulstrand

Buy the e-book here:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Apple iBookstore
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(Important note: You don’t need a mobile device to read Moving On: you can download the book to your home computer or laptop by using a reader app, available free online.)

Please note that the authors wrote STUFF in capitol letters just as I do.  Go back to December and watch George Carlin riff about STUFF.  After you have a really good laugh, get your best friend and start looking at all the things you don’t really need.  I’ve come to the conclusion that when we have things we don’t need, it makes for a weight in our bodies, our brains get scattered and certainly we have less time.

This is a job/project worth doing.  Thank you Janet Hulstrand for making me Queen for a Day.  May we all have less THINGS when next we meet!!!

Learn more about Janet’s Writing from the Heart courses in beautiful Essoyes: https://wingedword.wordpress.com/the-essoyes-school/

http://www.theessoyesschool.com

A bientôt,

Sara

 

Stuff

When I learned that I was having hip replacement surgery and would have to stay in California for awhile, I had to move out of my Paris apartment.  I had to make decisions about what to do with all my stuff.  Stuff to put in storage in Paris, stuff to throw out, stuff to sell, stuff to take back to the US.

In 1986, the comedian George Carlin did a comedic piece about Stuff.  I remember laughing and identifying but never thinking it was a problem for me.  But when I started putting all my belongings in different piles, it was a nightmare.  I had so much stuff (I’m using this word on purpose because I can’t find a better one), I felt embarrassed and didn’t want my friends to see my living room.

I told my friend, Joy, that I couldn’t believe how much stuff I had.  Her response was “Well, you like to shop, Sara.”

Confronted with such a huge pile of my belongings every time I walked into my living room, I couldn’t help but think and ponder.  I realized that I have a hard time walking out of a store without buying something.  I have a hard time passing a favorite store that is having a sale.  I rarely buy retail.  I tell myself I’m saving money.  HA!  The way to save money is to not spend it.

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In France, there are two state mandated Sales (Les Soldes) each year.  One in January and one at the end of June.  Each one lasts about 6 weeks.  These are not 10% off American sales.  These are true sales that start with 30-50% off and go deeper as the weeks go by.  I would count the weeks to the sales in Paris.  I had my favorite stores.  The first winter, I actually bought things I needed.  Living in Paris demanded much different clothing than living in California.  But as each sale came and I made my regular trek to each store that I loved, I started buying things that were lovely and nice but I certainly didn’t need.  It was just that it was a SALE!

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Then there is Emmaus.  Emmaus was founded so that people who truly didn’t  have much money could buy furniture, clothing, books, porcelain etc that they couldn’t afford anywhere else.  Wealthy people donated their possessions–beautiful things.  Somewhere along the line, Emmaus opened it’s doors to everyone.  The large Emmaus that I like to go to is in Bougival, in the western suburbs of Paris.  One had to have a car.  I would talk Barbara into going every couple of months.  I would find things there that I would never be able to buy elsewhere.  And just because it was inexpensive, I would buy it.  I never left Emmaus empty handed.

http://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/emmaus-shops-in-france-great-for-second-hand-bargains/

For almost a month I was dealing with STUFF. I went into a bit of shock.  I felt like an addict.  I cancelled a trip to Bougival.  I was going to donate things but I was afraid I would spend money.  I actually paid a friend to take clothing to Emmaus for me. I started unsubscribing to all e-mail communication that I receive from stores I like to shop at.  I learned the January Sales would start a week after I left.  Phew! I wouldn’t even be tempted.

I know I’m not alone with this problem.  And I may not be alone that something happens that shines a huge light on a problem area in one’s life.  I’m talking about it so that this information really sinks in.  I promised myself that from now on, before I take my credit card out of my wallet, I would ask myself “Do I need it?” “Where will I put it?”

I won’t do it but it might be interesting to calculate all the hours I have spent in my life dealing with my stuff.  All that time.  What will I do with this extra time?  For right now, I have empty out my garage of Stuff that I don’t even remember that I have.  I have to clean out a large storage area that also has things I haven’t thought about in three years.  I don’t have to worry about what I’ll do with my time.   I just have to worry about doing it before my surgery!!

A bientôt,

Sara