Tomorrow we are having a jumble sale at my Quaker meeting. It’s ended up being a pretty big sale (“bumper”, according to the ad we placed in the local paper). The event has already prompted a big clear out, but today I felt urged to clear some more. This urge was inspired by Sally Brampton’s column in the latest issue of Psychologies and a book called Simplicity by Jennifer Kavanagh, which arrived in today’s post and I devoured in one sitting (oh the joys of a Friday off work, especially when the sun is shining!). Both of these raised some interesting questions about the stuff we own, and the extent to which it owns us. Why do we keep hold of items that reflect who we were ten years ago but no longer relate to our lives now? Out some stuff went… Why do we insist of keeping so many books when we don’t really need them? Do we think it shows that we’re intelligent? I’ve got a PhD; I don’t know why my ego clings to books, as if a doctorate weren’t sufficient proof. So out some books went… Why am I so averse to getting rid of a yoga mat that’s buried in the back of my wardrobe? Is it “just in case” I go again – or that I don’t want to admit that I’m not doing yoga at the minute? Does getting rid mean I’ll never do yoga again? Hardly – so it’s going. Why do I keep several books from exes that I’ve either read and don’t want to read again, have never read, or in one case have a revised and improved duplicate of?! They don’t even have sentimental value. I just kept them because they were gifts and it seemed polite, even though I’m not in contact with the givers now. And why, when I’m a tidy, organised and seemingly logical person, is there a Birmingham A to Z on my bookshelf? Why isn’t it in the obvious place – my car? This one really stumped me, especially as in recent months I’ve printed several maps of locations in the city. Just goes to show how odd our relationship with our “stuff” can be. The A to Z is now on my desk, ready to go to the car in the morning, while the other items are jumble – allowing my head (and my heart) to feel slightly less jumbled.

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