Friday 7 October 2011

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Less equals more according to Graham Hill. Yes, I have absolutely experienced what he's talking about while camping, whether it's in my truck in the mountains or on a friend's couch, and curtailing my acquisitive packrattiness during the three years spent living in Italy, knowing when I left I would be limited to two checked bags at whatever weight, so why buy???

But, oh, boy, are there ever some scary implications in his talk on Like, for example, how un-American he is, preaching the gospel of Stop Shopping. How dare he? Heresy!

I have read about what a growth industry the storage business is and anyone anywhere can see evidence of it: you can't drive anywhere in any large city or small village without seeing at least one storage facility, with new ones popping up every day. I remember reading a few years ago how people in their McMansions could easily have 5 or more garage-size storage units to hold the stuff they still couldn't find room for in those ginormous excrescences they called "homes": they just couldn't stop buying. (And that's after they'd filled their own garages to the rafters.)

Have you ever been in a position of needing to rent storage, even for a few months? Holy crap, is it ever expensive! I'd bet dollars to donuts what most people would want to store in the end the Goodwill would probably toss in a dumpster, and yet they're willing to add thousands upon thousands of dollars of storage charges on top of the "value" of the items they're storing instead of having a lawn sale and suck up making 10 cents on the dollar (if they're lucky). And how many people in the end end up walking away from their storage units because truly the truth is "out of sight, out of mind". Look at the classifieds: storage unit auctions abound -- there's another growth industry for ya -- and off these items all go, back into circulation, at 10 cents or less on the dollar.

Gawd... I feel positively monastic with my 20 or 30... okay, 40+ boxes of kitchen crap, books, art, art supplies and now jewellery-making crap. I've written before about my project to get rid of one single box or garbage bag of stuff per week. That's slowed waaaaay down. But now it's pyromania season -- I mean fall -- so a lot of my collection of useless paper things (like bills from 15+ years ago -- nope, I really don't think RevCan gives a rat's patootie about those) are finally being used as fire starter. I'm still left with what to do about my books, though. Those expensive art books...? You know, the ones I haven't even looked at for at least three years, if not since several days after I bought them over the past 10 to 20 years? The ones that I paid full price for new and I could buy now at 10% of the list price used on

I did discover a trick which I've heard other people telling me they do now, too -- put a book on an online wish list. They're like me: they come back a month or six months later to put another must-have book on the wish list and see the other ones sitting there patiently waiting to be ordered -- and wonder why they're there in the first place.

I have a lot of boxes just like the one Hill brought on stage in his Ted talk. Ones that were far easier and faster to move for the past 10-15 years w/o spending time and going through untold emotional angst looking through their contents. Gaaaah........ I don't need post-its with 15-year-old telephone numbers on them, dammit!

I have a long way to go and many boxes to dispose of, but yes, I would love to get back down into one room again, or better yet an RV's "one room" so I can get rid of needing two possessions: a vehicle AND a room.

I got to Graham Hill's post via here (and here for the original post) but in the meantime have lost the origin of the post by an artist who is struggling with this very dilemma of trying to downsize yet feeling compelled to create more art -- which really and truly is the worst stuff in the world to create, own, accumulate, display, store and/or move.

But then that ties into breaking the buying stuff habit versus buying experience or consumables, assuming experience and creation are equitable. In every recession, do you know what the primary growth industry is? Jewellery, and to a lesser degree accessories. Jewellery, as I've discovered, is such a visceral item to possess I don't think people are going to stop buying it against all logic or state of bank account any time soon. Art -- anything made by hand for that matter -- is equally a visceral occupation that feeds other needs, if not a creator's very essence (or need to eat).

Meanwhile, back in the real world, if I'm lucky today there will be no rush typing coming in so I can go make more jewellery to feed viscera; it's the market tomorrow, plus there are two shows to get ready for next weekend.

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