One thing about New York City…

is that many of us move around a lot, from neighborhood to neighborhood, small crappy apartment in a great neighborhood to big, really crappy apartment in a less great neighborhood, to… well, we’ll see. A chance to free oneself of attachments to stuff comes with each move, and so, today, I’ve started going through my things. I’m particularly motivated to lighten my load this time. Folders full of never-used science curricular materials and other pieces of paper that some workshop host generously thought we might need or want: recycling. Imagine if, over 8 years, at each workshop attended, I had acquired just one simple folder (or, better still, digital file) containing one paradigm-shifting piece of curriculum or method of instruction, rather than folders and folders full of ideas that made sense in other teachers’ settings, for other teachers’ kids, for other schools’ curricula, and which, even when useful, would have to be organized, stored, then modified, retyped, finally to be photocopied and used.

It is amazing how much stuff I acquire, year by year, and how I hold onto it, thinking that I might just use it next year. Sometimes, to my credit, I do. Last weekend, I dug out rollerblades last used three years ago, thinking I’d do a loop around Central Park. Sadly, I need to replace the brakes and can only order them online, so I have yet to take them out for a spin yet – but I’m not ready to give up the rollerblades yet, because I used them a lot once and really do plan to use them again. There’s a half-knit sweater that I haven’t worked on in years, except for one brief foray this winter when a few of us gathered in a cafe with crafts projects. I’ve largely forgotten the harder parts of knitting, but I know I can learn again and finish the sweater (which will fit no one, I fear). There’s a crate full of images torn out of magazines and saved for collages for mix-tape liner notes. I think I’m going to let that collection go. It’s been a long time since I’ve made a fancy mix-tape, and there will always be magazines when I want to go back. A friend is offering a collage-related enrichment class this marking period, and I think I’ll pass that folder on to her.

It’s time to go through the old towels, the tupperware and plastic containers saved after I ate whatever came inside them, the novelty t-shirts, the office supply doodads, the piles of paper… my stuff is making me feel heavy. It’s time to simplify.



Filed under confession, New York, randomness

3 responses to “One thing about New York City…

  1. When I cleaned out my apartment to get ready for the renovations and other baby stuff, I threw out (recycled, rather) an entire bag of those stupid folders collected from various useless workshops. It felt so good to dump them!

  2. yvonne

    good for you! it’s hard to let go, but SO worth it! and i find that it’s best not to go through some boxes and to just throw it away because i don’t even remember what’s in them…but when i peek inside, i’m flooded with want (even if i really really don’t need it)

  3. the cleansing of stuff really does feel like a cleansing of self. good job getting started on the piles–I dread the day I force myself to do that… 🙂

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