Aug 8, 2007

Please Welcome Guest Blogger - Mau

From time to time, I'm going to ask Bloggers who's prose I enjoy to grace this space with their words. The internet allows us some far-reaching connections, but there are still many of us who haven't yet been introduced. I'm hoping to make some of those introductions here by featuring a guest blog post.

This time around, I requested some words of wisdom from a long time friend of mine, and he kindly agreed. The best thing I can say about Mau and his blogging is that he lives what he writes, and there is life in his writing.

Once you've read this post, visit him at his site, and comment there at will. There is great material to enjoy and get you thinking. Thank Mau!

Free Your Mind, and the stuff will follow.
In the United States, at least, the first thing they do to us when we are born is attach an ID band to our wrist. That ID band becomes our first keepsake. Our first item of Stuff. At least, it used to be that way. I read an article a couple of months ago that talked about mothers keeping their positive home pregnancy tests. This is essentially medical waste, and the article mentioned some mothers who carried theirs around in their purses in a toothbrush travel container.

Now, I'm not waving a flag against Stuff, mind you, because I am a Stuff-collector also. I had a phase when I was collecting wooden cigar boxes. I just liked the idea of having a reasonably solid wooden box around to put Stuff in. I must admit that some of them have come in handy, but for what? I have Stuff to hold my Stuff? That's just crazy.

The outdoor garden where my wedding reception was held last year had a little corner with a raised platform in the middle covered with slate tiles. Some of the tiles were yielding to the elements, and were beginning to break apart. Every time I visited the garden, I took a little slate stone chip, and slipped it in my pocket. Now at least one of them is sitting in my medicine cabinet.

I like books. Love them, in fact. I resolved a couple of trips ago that whenever I traveled inside the US, I would find a Black Bookstore, and buy a book from there. I'd write the name of the Bookstore and it's town along with the date inside the cover of the book. A keepsake that contributes to the Mr. and Mrs. Mau Library! All in one! And it fits in carry-on! Who can beat that? But after the book is read, it just turns into something to collect dust and take up space and make boxes heavier when it comes time to move. One day, we won't even need paper books. Everything will be stored electronically. What will I do then?

Yet and still - I am not sorry. I love my stuff. LOVE. My chewing-gum stand that my mother gave me a few years ago. She found it in some little shop when she was traveling. It reminded her of when I was a kid and used to store gum on my bedpost during the night when I wasn't quite done with it. Yes. I did it. I've never used that stand, but I still have it. Two containers full of rocks that served as centerpieces for my best friend's wedding. I drove that stuff all the day down from D.C. to Atlanta. Right through a hurricane.

Well, those rocks will probably leave soon. Why? Because even though I am not entirely Stuff-Repentant, I am trying to be Stuff-Progressive. Since my wife and I combined our Stuff, this house just seems a little smaller. And we plan on starting a family (one day), and that's CERTAIN to generate more stuff so something has got to give.

Are you ready for a change? I'm going to give you a simple method that you can use to put you on the path to being Stuff-Progressive.

Every time you prepare to take something into your home, or even to purchase something to take to your home, ask yourself: "Do I really want/need this in my house?"

That's it. If the answer is no, don't buy it. If the answer is no, then put it in the trashcan in your garage and it'll be gone within a week when the trash is picked up. If the answer is no, then maybe make a stop past the Salvation Army or the Goodwill and donate it. That's. It.

It'll be hard at first. I just got back from a trip to Puerto Rico. I did some shopping, but couldn't find anything that I wanted to give to my wife, or even something decorative that I wanted in the house. So I didn't get anything. I did, however, find something for my sister-in-law. How crazy is that? I get a gift for my SIL, but not my own wife? The house didn't take on any new clutter, though.

Yes, folks. We are in a war against clutter. I'm a pretty big offender, but I'm trying. You should try it too. Free yourself from your clutter. Your life will feel...more free (free-er?). Your mind will be more open. Your eyes will be more relaxed when they don't have to pick through a zillion useless things to get to the thing you really want.

I'm going to give you a hint. If you come across something that you really want to keep, but find it difficult to get rid of it, take a picture. It'll last longer. Whip out your trusty digital camera and take some photos. Upload those photos to Flickr or send them to yourself on Google or something. DO NOT burn them to a CD. That's just more stuff. Got it?

Try it.

Know What I'm Sayin'??