Pets Teach Us How to Live with Less

rss Block
Select a Blog Page to create an RSS feed link. Learn more

There’s nothing like the experience of moving to help one understand how much stuff one has - and how it seems to breed over time.

As we emptied our drawers and closets, my wife, Susan, and I discovered a plethora of stuff we never - or no longer - use: orphaned wine glasses, “sure-grip” jar openers, caulking guns, crocheted clothes hangers. Our mantle had become a shrine to old-world nicknacks that have no place in the new world.

Scattered about were the many incarnations of modular “organizers” (still in their original packaging) intended to arrange the stuff we can’t bring ourselves to part with. Because, of course, we’ll find ourselves “needing” it the day after its gone.

Over the past 10 years, we’d turned our home into a monument to scarcity and outgrown sentiments. We’ve collected and scrounged and two-for-one’d ourselves into such a tight corner, there was barely room to breathe. We gave our “stuff” the power we wished we had.

On the other hand, our Lilly, the Boston terrier, is a minimalist. Give her a couple of plush beds, her cuddle blanket and a half-dozen or so of her favorite toys and her world is complete.

Lately, though, Lilly has not been able to enjoy these simple pleasures because her mommy and daddy were blowing gaskets over what to do with the tower of stuff they had come to mistake for themselves. Instead of chasing her “chippy,” Lilly whined and paced nervously between us. Eventually, her angst got my attention sure as a toddler tugging on my trousers. 

Lilly doesn’t need a lot of “stuff” to remind her of who she is and what makes her happy. So neither should we.

Most of what we need that we don’t sit on, cook with or create can be found on the web - or in our hearts.

For now, we’re not moving. We’re clearing out and giving away to make room for what really matters.

Lilly gave us the best Chanukah present ever: she helped us dig through our piles of stuff - to find the home living underneath.