Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Too much loveliness, or maybe just too much

Today I met with a real estate agent to talk about selling our house. She toured around and we talked about the whole process. At first her suggestions seemed good (get the whole house painted, have an inspection done etc.), but then things started to make me uncomfortable.

I understand that this is what some people do when they sell their houses, they "stage" them. But in our case, it sounded like she was suggesting moving all of our furniture out of the house, and renting "more modern" furniture. Even this I could possibly handle, but when she started telling me that it would be a good idea to get rid of the bookshelves and books, I started to feel a little unwell. Really? Books lower the sale price of a home? Yeah, I get it: real estate agents are selling a lifestyle, and she wants to pitch this place as a minimalist condo alternative, and our hand-me-down furniture isn't up to the aesthetic (or apparently the price tag).

Anyway, her comments were only suggestions, and we'll have to see what we end up doing. A large part of me doesn't want to pretend to be or live in a way that isn't essentially the way we are. Nevertheless, after she left I spent yet more time sorting and cleaning. And here is the problem: I just love a lot of different things. For example, look at this thing:

This thing is just a crappy paint set that cost 89 cents, and that I'll never use, but I love it. I love the colours and the irregularity of the paint cakes and the graphics on the front. Anyway, this is only an example, and it is a pretty easy one. I'll get rid of it and never miss it. But what about all those things that are linked with memories? Like all the things I've collected from the sea, from all the different times and places I've been at the ocean? Or old letters and photos? Or even just strange old things from my grandparents house?

Part of me thinks that like the paint set, I'll get rid of these more sentimental things, and never look back for them. But another part of me finds that notion difficult, or like I'm "sterilizing the past," in the words of a friend (who might be a pack-rat?).  The problem is that whenever I sort through these collections I remember things that might be forgotten without that physical residue.

The answer as usual is probably in striking a balance, and finding a slightly more minimal curatorial framework for my life. I'll let you know how it goes...

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