Thursday, December 11, 2008

Too Much Stuff!

As I'm working on my house in preparation for putting it on the market, it's really hit home that I have too much stuff. Stuff is stacked everywhere, in every conceivable nook and cranny. I have drawers, closets and an attic full of stuff.

Much of it is good, useful stuff, or stuff given as gifts that has sentimental value, or stuff inherited from parents. But do I have to keep everything that I remember from childhood? My dad's high school beanie, my mom's old jewelry box? Yes, I remember that jewelry box sitting on her vanity, and it evokes happy memories of watching her put on her makeup and fix her hair. But I already have a jewelry box. Do I need this one, too?

My house is filled with dozens of such quandaries. Do I keep all those crystals I dug from a crystal mine with my own two hands? How about the stacks of paper manuscripts that will never sell? (Pre-computer age manuscripts!)

The media has us confused about what we "need" and what we merely "want." They've even told us that it's our civic duty to spend ourselves into a frenzy over the holidays, to boost the economy. But wasn't our quest for more stuff NOW (better cars, bigger houses) part of what got us into this mess?

This holiday, I've put a moratorium on stuff. I've told everyone, if you want to give me a gift, make it consumable (food, wine, soap or lotion) or, better yet, donate to a charity in my name. (Okay, I did ask my husband to buy me a frying pan. I'm convinced I really need one, since my old one is no longer nonstick.) My critique group, instead of buying gifts, is going on an overnight to a B&B as our gift to each other. I'd rather have memories than stuff any day.

I hope you'll consider rethinking your own holiday gift-buying blitz. Don't lose sight of those simple pleasures that make holidays truly special--being with loved ones, sharing hot cocoa, singing carols, decorating the tree together. Build memories instead of stacking up more stuff.

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In other news, my newest book is out this month! THE PREGNANCY SURPRISE is Book 2 of the Second Sons trilogy. Book one, RELUCTANT PARTNERS, was just named a finalist in the RT Bookclub Reviewers Choice Awards for best Harlequin American Romance of the year. It's an honor to be among such fine company--you can see the whole list of finalists in a blog post below this one--one or two days back.


EllenToo said...

Kara - I have really enjoyed your Second Sons books and can't wait for the third one. As far as having too much stuff around the house, I feel your pain. I could never move and I pity the person who has to clean out my house when I am no longer around.

Estella said...

Congrats on the RT nomination!

Ann Roth said...

Kara- Congrats on the nomination! I'm a nominee, too!!

As for too much stuff, I'm right there with you. That's what cleaning my office is all about. Feels so good to pare down! I, too, asked my husband to donate whatever he'd spend on a gift to the charity of my choice this year. Why not? I pretty much have everything I want while so many are forced to go without.

Lots of luck cleaning, and may your house sell soon after you put it on the market.