It’s always been so much easier for me to just buy more stuff instead of dealing with all the stuff I already have… and therein lies the rub. I exaggerate slightly how much of a pack rat I am, but not much. I look with something vaguely akin to horror at the piles of crap of which I have divested myself.
Not that it was a rampant case of buy-buy-buy, but rather, I bought things and then when I wore them out, I would wince and frown and think, “I could get these shoes fixed. These are great shoes, and… wow, there’s a page up on Instructables about how to fix worn out running shoe linings. I should totally fix these.” Then I put them on a shelf and left them. And the next ones. And the next ones.
Most of those shoes are gone–though there’s a wonderful pair of Converse canvas shoes I will fix, damn it, as they were barely worn, and procured with great difficulty, and are my favorites. But like I say, most of that stuff is gone, and I feel a weird lightness in connection with that fact. There was a guy who came and took away all the clothes we decided to get rid of, who explained to us what’s done with them: socks and underwear get mulched down into combustibles someplace, clothes get sent to charity organizations in Southeast Asia, and so on. And shock of shocks, the guy weighed the stuff and gave us 24,000 won — about twenty-odd dollars. (We expected maybe four or five at most.)
Not that I don’t have a ton of other crap to deal with. I have so many papers I should have scanned over the years that I’m seriously considering tracking down a document-scanning service in Seoul, like I’m doing with the photographs I can’t carry when we go. I have contracts, tax papers, all kinds of crap. Mind you, I only need a scan of my very last Canadian income tax statement–the one where I declared non-residency in Canada, effective eleven years ago–but since I have the papers for the year before, I may as well scan them and have them. (It’s only a tiny bit of space on a hard drive, right?)
I also have a box of wires and cables, some of which I need for things and many of which need to get, well… I don’t know. I don’t want to chuck them, but a lot of them seem to be proprietary sorts of cables, the ones that connect a quarter-inch jack to one, two, or three RCA cables… and that’s one of the less exotic cables. I kind of think such things should be standardized, to cut back on waste: many of the cameras those cables were designed for are gone, but the cables? They stay… and stay… and stay…
On some level, it’s hard not to look at this mess I’m still surrounded by — now 20 hours away from the time we’re supposed to be out of this apartment forever — and see it as symbolic: mismanaged time, mismanaged energies, of a sort of waste. But sitting and thinking about things that way is itself a kind of waste, too, so perhaps, as some folk in my home town used to say, it’s just time to get ‘er done.
By the next post I put up, we’ll have moved out to the place where we’ll be spending our last month in Korea…