I try to not get attached to Stuff, but my weaknesses are books and craft supplies because they're not just Stuff. The knowledge and imagination in books is worth schlepping a dozen boxes of them from state to state every time I move. (And yes, I also make use of the library.) Art and craft supplies are similar -- they are Stuff with Possibility -- and it's even worse now that I've developed an interest in re-use art because I'm better about seeing potential uses for otherwise ordinary objects.
I've come up with a little test for what to take and what to leave:
- If I look at an object and I immediately start thinking of projects it could be used for, I ask myself, "Do I already use it, or could I see myself using it within a year?" Yes to either and I keep it. No and I put it in the donate pile.
- If I think of a project another person could do with an item, I set it aside for that person. If he or she doesn't want it, it goes in the donate pile.
- If thoughts of potential uses are mixed with hesitations that it's heavy/it's breakable/it's large/I have too many, then I put it in the donate pile.
This process has been successful so far with all but the most unusual items, like my box of blue railroad signal light lenses. I'm not sure I'll use them in 2010 and they're certainly heavy, but I can't bear to part with them. So it goes.
Speaking of re-use art, yesterday Dude Craft reviewed Terry Border's brilliant new book, Bent Objects, and he'll be giving away a copy with a signed bookplate. Check out this trailer for the book, then click on over to Dude Craft and sign up to win. (And when you do win, send it to me! Books about re-use art transcend mere Stuff-ness on multiple levels.)