So with the above disclaimer out of the way, here goes:
In the process of getting our son packed for college, I've been cleaning out closets and assessing whether the items are a "keep", "donate", "discard" or "assess" (as in will it fit our younger son, the reluctant king of the hand-me-downs). As a result, our floors are covered in piles of things: baseball equipment, clothes with tags still on them, art supplies, semi-used spiral notebooks, and the like.
The good news is that because we've moved five times since arriving in Los Angeles I've learned, and subsequently taught our sons, to be ruthless about detaching from their possessions.
"Are you ever going to wear this?" I ask, holding up some article from their drawer. If they hesitate even for a second -- it could be to sneeze; I don't care -- into one of the piles the item goes. I apply a similar principle when I buy something. For every new (insert item name here) we purchase, I try very hard to remove a like item from the house (though I'm not sure what to get rid of after buying a corn-on-the-cob platter on clearance from Crate and Barrel).
Given this, you would think our house would be a sparse, monastic haven, free of clutter and unnecessary objects, but it's not. Just open our tupperware cabinet if you want proof.
The problem -- beside the impact our conspicous consumption is having on the earth -- is the impact on my time. I'm not talking about the biannual closet cleaning (that actually feels great). I'm talking about the day-to-day temporal leeching by the things that need to be washed or watered or returned or tightened or shortened or repaired (I'm looking at you, iPhone 6).
Believe me, I'm so grateful for our possessions, such as clothes to wear and oxygen-giving plants to beautify our home and a phone that theoretically allows me to make calls. I can't stress this enough: I am so grateful. It's just that I have visions of living in a spartan house by the beach with nothing but a few flowing dresses and a pair of sandals in my closet. In this fantasy, I don't need a television (or three!). Instead the surrounding nature would be my entertainment. Yes, I would have a (simple) washing machine, but my clothes would dry on a line in the sun as I picked vegetables from our organic garden. My skin (and soul!) would be cleansed as I swam in the sparkling ocean. There would be no need for a weighted hula hoop or spinning bike or big mediciny-looking ball, because I would get my exercise while hiking through woods in search of wild berries.
But it's right at that last sentence where I hear the proverbial brakes screech. Just like the kids' book about the mouse and the cookie, once you get me out in nature, I am going to get stung or touch a plant I shouldn't . And once I get stung or touch a plant I shouldn't, you will need to give me Claritin and Benadryl and calamine lotion and hydrogen peroxide and benadryl cream.
And, if I'm swimming in the ocean, I, of course, would need lots of suntan lotion. And a floppy hat and a beach towel (or two). Lord knows that I couldn't do without a picnic basket and a large blanket, because how else would I enjoy my buffet of delicious organic vegetables? If you give me a buffet of vegetables, I am going to need some delicious wine, and if I have some delicious wine I will also need those cute wine-glass holders that poke in the sand. Since I would be so relaxed from drinking the wine, I would need a beach chair to read my book which means I would need a Kindle or an iPhone 6, assuming it ever worked.
So the moral of the story is -- just like with the mouse and his cookie -- that if you give a girl a beach house, you will have to also give her a working phone so she could order a corn-on-the-cob platter on clearance for her organic vegetables, assuming her hands and lips aren't too swollen from being stung.