My roommate told me recently he was going to move out in a month. Not for any dramatic reason – he got an insanely good offer to housesit in a luxury duplex apartment and live rent-free in his own wing of a penthouse with a view of the Hudson River (I am not kidding), and couldn’t refuse. I’m already screening potential new roommates, so I’m not worried about that (okay, maybe a little).
But my roommate also sad he would be leaving behind almost all of his furniture, and offered to sell me all of it for really cheap. His stuff is all better than mine – seriously, his bedroom looks like a still photo from Dwell magazine – and I’m taking him up on that. But that necessitates getting rid of my old crap.
And that’s got me pensive. A lot of the furniture I have is random mismatched stuff that I either dragged around a couple of apartments, or picked up in a hurry when I moved to this place; my last apartment had a sleeping loft, so I had no bed when I moved here and I had to persuade a friend to take me on an emergency run to Ikea where I got the cheapest thing just so I could stop sleeping on the floor. My office storage is a series of four bookcases acquired at four totally different times as my “stuff to store” expanded. There’s a hall closet that is also full of mismatched shelving gathered from old roommates and cheap emergency purchasing.
It was slapdash and emergency and in-a-pinch. Just like a lot of the things on those shelves are. And I’m going from that to a stylish bed and a whole coordinated office set.
And I’m wondering why I put up with that slapdash stuff so long. Mostly it was about money – I’ve not always had a lot of it – but surely I could have scraped together the means to get a better bookshelf, right? Or at least been more patient and waited until I found one that looked right rather than just accepting what was at whatever store I went to and thinking “Oh, hell, it’ll do”? Or at least taken my time picking a bed?
I also am looking critically at the stuff on the shelves, wondering why I kept all of it. There’s a connector cable I have that I don’t even know what it was for – but I have it, and I need to get rid of it. And the two years of back issues of a culinary magazine that I never read, or the books on theater that I still have despite not working in theater for five years now.
Years ago I was browsing in a Neo-Pagan book that said that “you have to serve the Goddess of Trivia before you can serve any others.” It was an admonition that you have to take care of the basic life-maintenance stuff before you can do larger things; before you can climb the mountain, you gotta clean the bathroom. A handful of things about my life have felt a little stuck and weighed down; and I’m starting to think that what’s weighing me down is old furniture.