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Monday, June 1, 2009

How to Kill Desire: For Stuff, that is

Title courtesy of Sir Philip Sidney(1554-1586), nephew of Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester (known, among other things, for his very close relationship with Queen Elizabeth 1). Also, more to the point for me, a wonderful poet, known especially for his sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella. Of course, Sidney is talking about erotic desire. He ends one of his sonnets with the line:"Desiring nought but how to kill desire."

So, with a transition to my frugality mode, isn't that what so many frugality posts are all about: how to kill desire for stuff? Even I, pathologically frugal, find all this a bit hair shirt. Stuff can be wonderful.

Still, I have two tips on how to kill desire. One for each child.

One: have your college student son come home. With 7 garbage bags filled with stuff. Dirty clothes mixed with school books mixed with mugs mixed with shoes mixed with change. Separate. Help do the laundry. Try to put it all away.Confiscate all the bills ($5.00!) that emerge from the dryer. So much stuff. That's a real desire-killer.

Two: have daughter return shortly thereafter. This meant that we had to get Frugal Son's stuff put away, because we were using Miss Em's room as a staging area. Miss Em is a lot neater than Frugal Son. Still, in addition to clothing,linens,and the like, Miss Em returned with 4 seven foot "people." These are fabulous looking, but...where to put.

And where to put the graduation robes? Well, Mr. FS made a statue from a rake a while ago. It is now wearing the graduation robes.

To keep this honest, I have to confess that the main clutterbug/slob in our household is me. But except for Miss Em, we all have problems in this area. If you've been wondering where my posts are: in the dryer? in a big garbage bag of college papers? The upside: a big infusion of stuff is a great way to kill desire for more.


Duchesse said...

My dear friend Susan asks for donations of gently-used clothing and then passes them on to people in need. (Her basement has rolling racks and bins of shoes, like a store!) She says seeing the things flowing in, then flowing out to help those with so little reduces her own need to acquire stuff.

The Zen Buddhist precept is that cravingcauses suffering.Here is a good explanation:

I try to keep this in mind when confronting the seductive lure of 'more'.

Funny about Money said...

LOL! My dissertation was a biography of Philip's younger brother, Robert, who succeeded their uncle Robert Dudley as 2nd earl of Leicester. He also wrote a sonnet cycle--88 autograph pages, attributed to "The Earl of Leicester" surfaced at Sotheby's, where a manuscript expert named Peter Croft realized at a glance it was not Dudley's handwriting. Peter, realizing there was more than one Earl of Leicester around the turn of the 17th century, figured out that the handwriting matched Robert Sidney's.

The Sidney brothers surely would have recognized the "stuff" syndrome. Robert was constantly in hock up to his eyebrows, largely because of his ambitions at court, where he had to keep up some very expensive appearances. He did a vast upgrade at Penshurst, the Sidneys' country house, and he also loved gardening. In particular, he had an affection for exotic fruit trees. He would commission people to bring them from overseas, and when he was on the continent, he would seek them out and have them shipped to England.

Bet he would have loved the rake/graduation robe sculpture!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--That's really beautiful. One reason every new influx brings us to crisis mode is that we have a fairly small old house with very little storage space. In Louisiana, you can't have a basement. I think that may be a blessing in disguise.

@Funny--Wow! What a great topic! I met Josephine Roberts many years ago (she was at LSU)--she wrote about Mary Wroth. Jo died in an accident--I was so glad to have met her.

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

Careful when school starts up again in the fall, and you 'suddenly' have all that space again. Nature abhors a vacuum. As does a cat :)

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I started to type a comment and then I read the one above me by Over The Cubicle Wall about the cat and the vacuum. That was so hilarious that I forgot what I was going to say, lol.

Steady On
Reggie Girl