Enough with the Stuff (Shift Happens)

“When you have cleared all of your clutter, you can be of greater service to those around you.” – Michael B. Kitson

The weeks are flying by before I leave for a year as a volunteer with WorldTeach in Colombia, South America. Although the past few days have felt a little low, I’m still motivated by my dream of helping others and experiencing a new culture. This week, the massive clearing of personal items has begun and it feels great, compared with a few months ago, when I was just starting to sell everything.

Full Etsy Store

Ah yes, when my Etsy store was full…

I’ll admit, selling online has not been how I imagined. First, it seems I am not quite hipster enough for Etsy, since I’m not selling items like $75 wooly hats that resemble the Grinch’s hair or a lamp made to look like a water balloon. By the time the Fiestaware Police got to me, I stopped pretending to know what I was doing.

Fiestaware Police

Honestly, this is what you do all day, Patricia?

While I still have some artwork for sale – currently only $20 any size, with $5 shipping – (thanks, Erin for your purchase of 3!) – the vintage items have been removed.

Click to shop! And follow me on Twitter, too.

Click to shop! And follow me on Twitter, too.

In addition to Etsy, I tried to relearn selling on ebay, with this being my first time returning to the site since Meg Whitman ran for Governor. Of the 3 items I posted, 2 have sold; the third appears to be relisting itself into infinity.  Finally, I’ll own up to being apprehensive about Craig’s List, where lowballers snuff you out and spammers link to your email. You’d think I’d lost all hope in humanity. No way, not even close.

Rica Vida on Ebay

1 item remains in my ebay store but I’m not even sure how to sell it to you.

I am so grateful to everyone who has faith in my dream. Just to hear the words “I believe in you” speaks volumes. I find myself especially touched by those who came to my yard sales and pop up shop. Thank you all for making purchases to support me in the year ahead. I am thankful that Lauren bought a special vintage fan for her art studio, and that Allison cherished an antique pink clock radio.

Fan of the radio

Aqua blue and baby pink. Great things now in the hands of equally great friends.

I’m hoping that one day UPS believes in shipping addresses and Jeffrey will receive the coffee mugs he so graciously purchased. Dewane has the Sweet Potatoes book I made, Suzanne bought the autographed Howard Finster book, and Rhonda sent a beautiful photo of the glass candle holders lit up in her altar. I’m overjoyed that these things have gone on to bring happiness to others. As for the rest of the stuff, it’s still taking up space around me and slide-riding around in a friend’s car… but not for long.

“The things you used to own, now they own you.”  ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Sweet Potatoes: A Delicious Mash of the South

Sweet Potatoes: A Delicious Mash of the South, thanks Dewane!

Seeking motivation for the final push, I read a few articles confirming my ideas. I laughed out loud at the relativity to my current situation. Then, things got real: I talked with my friend and published author Karen by phone and felt a shift happen. Karen and I met in Tlaquepaque, where we shared a beautiful, large traditional Méxican home (to which Karen has recently returned: jealous!)

Zalatitan cocina

Casa Zalatitan – en la cocina – Hey, Karen, what’s in that lower cabinet?

My former compañera de cuarto told me she cleared away all her things on her last visit home to Canada: yearbooks, furniture, photographs and more, keeping just enough to fit in 2 suitcases. Karen returned to México feeling lighter than ever, and exclaimed to me joyfully: “You have no idea, it’s so liberating. Take it from me, do it. I feel so free!”

Stop Dreaming. Start doing!

No one can do it but you. Make the change! Image courtesy of Just One Way Ticket

In addition to Karen’s influence, I am finding myself motivated by the idea of being free of the energy stored by tangible items, some of which no longer bring me joy. I am thrilled at the idea of swapping tchotchkes for delicious food and shoes for stories told in a language that I love. Trading “cool” stuff for the spray of salty air from a place I have only seen in magazines? I’ll do it in a second.

Isla Baru, Colombia

Isla Baru near Cartagena de Indias, Colombia – WOW

The time is now. I have photographed the cute furniture and rotary dial phones. I’ve read articles about Teaching Traveling, having your life fit into one bag, and how letting go of things opens up opportunity for experience. The boxing up of dishware, retro home decor and copious art supplies has started an avalanche of space clearing. I am inspired and motivated, ready to fit my life into a suitcase and carry-on. Next stop: Thrift Town for a drop-off and tax receipt.  Let the adventure begin.

Thrift Town

Dangerously close to where I’m living en el campo

3 thoughts on “Enough with the Stuff (Shift Happens)

  1. iamkaren23 says:

    Keep following your dream! All those “things” you dispose of are just that. They are “things”. YOU are what is important. And you are self-contained in one body. With the “things” you leave the past behind and can focus well on the present and on creating an exciting future. Then and only then can you truly LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST! God Bless!


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