The Catch and Release Program


There’s something about decluttering and downsizing an entire house that makes a person not care about things anymore — the things that you used to live with, the things that you’re not taking with you, the things that were once belongings but are now just stuff.

For example, Mr. Savvy and I owned a jar of rocks.  It wasn’t a bad jar of rocks, as far as rocks go.  It served its purpose well holding the screen door open, and we liked adding to it when we had the chance: bits and bobs we had collected throughout our time together, rocks that were cool or fun-looking, rocks from places we had visited together, or rocks that had splintered and shattered along our path and caught our eye.  They were fun, and we hauled them with us from our last apartment to this one.

But you know what?  They’re just rocks.

Moving has thrown that into relief.  We took the rocks to Wagon Hill Farm this weekend and released them into the wild.  We tossed them into the bay so that Nature could do her best with them, and threw some for Lily to chase at top speed.  Someone else will find them, maybe in ten years when they’re pebbles, or maybe never, which would be okay too, because they’d be doing their thing out there in the wilderness.

We enjoy giving away our stuff.  It makes moving a heck of a lot easier.  Once we’re done, we’ll have so little that I doubt we’ll fill the pickup truck we’re borrowing.  We’re loving watching our house emptying out to the point where Mr. Savvy even suggested that we do this the next time we move, whenever that is.  Let’s get rid of all our belongings the next time, he said.  It was music to my ears.  I called it the catch and release program.

It means that we won’t have to find an apartment that fits our Stuff (like an enormous bed).  It means that we have license to pick up new-to-us furniture that we’re not sure about, that we might not love, or that might not work for us.  We can always resell it or give it away.  We can experiment with decor ideas (the thought makes me giggle), we can travel lightly, we can make a pact to get all that we need off Craigslist and Freecycle.  Our Stuff is not holding us back because it’s just stuff — it’s not important enough for a capital letter any more.  We’ll get some for a little while, use it, love it, then throw it back.  Moving has done that to us.

The trick is, I think, carrying over this mindset into the real world, that banal everydayness where you’re not filled with fire and urgency and deadline.  Perhaps it’s as easy as remembering that we’re all small and insignificant on this world, so our things don’t matter.  Perhaps it’s much harder — writing notes and searching for inspiration and reaching out to a greater community.  Whatever, the case, I’m all in. This is a good move.


©2011 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where we’re talking about collecting rocks all next year, and then throwing them back on the Winter Solstice.  That would be a nice tradition.  Basket of rocks image courtesy of Dominic (because I didn’t think to take a picture of my own).

7 responses

  1. Great post! Having just been through that process ourselves we can completely identify. It is so very freeing! Funny thing we had favorite rocks too. My husband has a thing for stacking rocks, leftover activity from his childhood. We’ve been forever after finding, enjoying, stacking, sharing, landscaping, collecting and moving various rocks. Nary a one made it through our process, and we’re ok with it. What’s really funny is that since this, like the shells and sea glass we find on our island, is free, guess what immediately starts migrating into our home, pebble and stone at a time? 😉 We’re ok with that too, since, at the end of this sojourn we’ll just do the same thing you did. Thanks for bringing an obscure, enjoyable memory to mind 🙂

  2. i’ve learned to accept catch and release with clothing…over the years so many clothes have cycled in and out of my life as i’ve gotten clothes from thrift and consignment stores, taken clothes from sisters and friends’ closets, given clothes to them, and brought hauls of clothing i’ve tired of to sell or donate. but i have a hard time with other possessions. a recent move has got me planning a post about minimalism v thrift; keeping v giving away and needing to buy again someday.

    also i love that bucket of stones as a doorstop idea.

  3. I love the metaphor! Just used the Facebook like button. Thanks for adding it.

    Another great thing about buying used on Craigslist is that we are simply renting toys, bikes and such for our kids. I purchased a very expensive wooden play kitchen for a fraction of the original cost and will be able to sell it for what I paid. We take good care of our stuff.

  4. Rocks! We too had a whole clan of rocks in our life. They were friends with the sticks and twigs and bird feathers too. What an amazing feeling of relief when I realized we could give them back to nature instead of hoarding them!

    I love the “catch and release” concept. Very cute post.