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2007 June 19 » Philoxenos

Philoxenos

What things are really worth

19th June 2007

What things are really worth

It’s been very interesting to see how much stuff we really have. When we first got married, we had a lot of junk treasured momentos. During our first year of marriage I was able to separate my husband from a few of his precious things, like t-shirts he’d had since high school. But some things I wasn’t allowed to touch. But every year or so we’d revisit some items and slowly he was able to let go of those things that really didn’t need to be kept anymore. Now, interestingly, one of the things that he has doggedly clung to for nearly eight years is a piece of elephant dung encased in glass. An item that every family really needs. Truly. I wish I could tell you that I have lovingly dusted it every week, but I can’t tell you the last time I dusted. With each move we’ve made (we’ve moved six times in nearly eight years) we’ve reduced our things.

Now that we are moving overseas, we are actively purging our possessions. And I’ve been surprised how much we still have. I’ve gone through my sock drawer and realised that I simply don’t need 12 pairs of white socks.  Because we have three children who create massive amounts of dirty clothes, I wash clothes on a regular basis. I will never go through 12 days without washing clothes, so I don’t need 12 pairs of socks, so I’ve kept only six pairs. Similarly I went through my underwear drawer and realised I could probably start my own Victoria’s Secret because I already had my own inventory. For years my husband has been telling me that I have too much underwear but I’ve been loathe to ditch any of it. Now that I’ve gone through three pregnancies, some of them are never going to ’snap’ back like they should (much like my abdominal muscles) so they’ve gone in the rubbish. I refuse to donate used underwear to the local op shop.

But what’s been the most interesting to me is how much money some people will pay for our old things. We were given a copy of Trivial Pursuit Millenium Edition for Christmas 1999, just after we married. We played it a few times, my husband trouncing me soundly each time (and it was the American edition too!) Some guy bought it for $25. He thought it was a great deal, I thought it was a great deal. We both won.

This afternoon a woman came by to pick up some Huggies Little Swimmers that I had listed on Trade Me. For some reason I had 17 of these in medium. I think I had them leftover from our trip to the States last year. My daughter will never fit them again and my son is too small. I’m certainly not going to take them with us to America, taking up precious luggage space when I can replace them for what I received for them online. She got a deal, paying only $12 for 19 (I found two more in the closet) and I got a deal, getting money for something I’d never use again.

We’re starting to make lists of things. One list is things that we must replace. This includes pots and pans for the kitchen. We rarely eat out so we much have something in which to cook. We have another list of things we’d like to replace, such as picture frames. Obviously not a necessity but being far away from home we want our kids to see Nana and Granddad on a regular basis, even if just from the wall in the hallway. And I’d really like to replace my piano :) And I have a list of things that I want to get for the kids. Our oldest daughter, just 3.5 years, has been watching her toys and other household things get sold and taken away. She understands that her tricycle can’t fit in the suitcase, but it’s still difficult for her to watch these things disappear. I’ve promised her that she’ll get to pick out new colouring books and markers when we get to America and this has placated her.

In the end, what things are worth is whatever someone will pay for it. For us, none of the material things that we have are worth keeping because we know that they are just temporary. As we’ve sorted and tossed and sold, we understand more that our greatest possessions are those memories that we carry in our hearts, wherever we go. And those are priceless.

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