Trappings of Life

“Indeed, the more you have… the poorer you are.”

~ Henry David Thoreau, WALDEN

Thoreau’s commentary in WALDEN regarding the trappings of life gets my mind swirling. He talks about the furnishings he obtained for his cabin on Walden Pond. He states, “My furniture… consisted of a bed, a table, a desk, three chairs, a looking glass three inches in diameter, a pair of tongs and andirons, a kettle, a skillet, and a frying-pan, a dipper, a wash-bowl, two knives and forks, three plates, one cup, one spoon, a jug for oil, a jug of molasses, and a japanned lamp. Thank God, I can sit and I can stand without the aid of a furniture warehouse.”

I am flabbergasted at how short his list of furnishings is compared to my own. He certainly lived frugally in his one-room cabin. Can I do so in my four rooms? What I take away from my readings is that Thoreau understood how easily our possessions begin to possess us. He explains how stuff becomes traps—traps that entangle like a spider’s web.

Lifestyle Entrapments

Entrapments caught my attention as I review my annual buzz word – Conscientious Consumer. My goal is to discover the benefits of a lifestyle where my needs are few. This is the year for me to untangle the traps of my life room-by-room and purge those items that serve no purpose to me now. After all, would I want my children and grandchildren to have to deal with my excesses? No, of course not!

If you don’t want to leave excess possessions for someone else to dispose, read The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter.

When we understand that the things we have, but do not use, is an act of hoarding, it becomes easier to pass things along to someone in need. And, that is what I am doing this year. How about you?

Green circle for Get StartedAs you become aware of the items you are keeping but not using, think about the extra space you will have when you move these things out of your house. Think about the extra time you will have when you are not tied to caring and maintaining so much stuff. Think about others who will find good use for your castoffs. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved in the process of eliminating clutter.

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Consider a lighter load and stay clear of spider webs!