Sunday, November 09, 2008


After an impressive start, The Great Cleanse of '08 (in which the Author gets rid of Things she doesn't need) slowed down til it nearly came to a complete halt.

That is, until Friday - when Jammu and Baby Sachi came to the rescue.

Jammu brought big, thick, black contractor's bags with her - massive plastic bags that look like garbage bags but don't break. "Black is good, because you can't look at the things you're getting rid of, and change your mind," she said.

After a mediocre Indian meal prepared by me, Jammu inspired me to go through things while Sachi sat in Upavisa Konasana on the cotton yoga mat and played with a stuffed toy called Neal (from the movie Neal 'n' Nikki).

We started by going through books. There are 18 shelves of books in the apartment. We slogged through three tiers of writing books, critically acclaimed 20th century novels and hipster literature (think Patti Smith, bell hooks, Lydia Lunch, Lester Bangs, et al)

Jammu helped me decide which ones to keep and which ones to toss. We wore dust masks, since they were so dusty and musty. The books were like dear old friends that represented different parts of the past - which made the mind resistant and indecisive.

Yet Jammu was infinitely patient.

And she knew which ones were worth money.

She told me to bring the massive box and smaller box of discards to Myopic Books, and try to sell them. This was a new idea for me; usually I just leave things at The Ark thrift store.

Then we started going through the jacket and coat collection.

She had me try on each and every one, and gave me her honest opinion.

Again, she knew which ones were worth money.

"Take those to the resale shops on Milwaukee Avenue," near Myopic Books, she said. "Whatever's left you can bring to the Brown Elephant" (a nearby thrift store).

We also dealt with the yoga mat collection (I got rid of the one the cat had secretly been using as a scratching post), the phone collection (shedding all but the one Dreyfus can sell on eBay) and Gorgeous George, a giant stuffed minkey that had belonged to my mother.

We ended up with two contractor's bags full of jackets, phones and other items.

Later, I went through a few more areas, and added biking shoes, never-worn Gore-Tex hiking boots and other items from the discard pile in the hall closet.

They made a large pile, and I wanted them out of the house ASAP.

* * *

Saturday was the first really cold, sleety day this year. Chicagoans take awhile to adjust to weather changes, and tend to stay inside until they do. So when I learned that I'd been bumped from my 10:15 massage appointment, I thought "Today's the day." I filled the car with stuff and drove to Wicker Park.

I found parking across from Myopic Books - a rare thing indeed - and brought in my boxes of tomes.

The handsome young gent behind the counter wanted many of the books, and I ended up with $65 ($20 of which was immediately blown on three new books: Meditation for Dummies, David Frawley's Arise Arjuna and Gita Mehta's Karma Kola). I decided to hold on to a rare Billy Childish book worth $50 or more.

I put the remaining books in the car, and dragged the giant Santa bag of jackets and whatnot to three thrift stores.

(Note to single women: the handsome hipster boys can be found near North/Milwaukee/Damen on Saturdays around 12PM)

Jammu was right; capes are in this year. A black cape from college and my mother's striped winter scarf fetched $10.50 in store credit at Crossroads, where I picked up a long-sleeved teal t-shirt for just $5.

As Jammu had predicted, Lenny & Me took the 1970's green leather jacket (they gave me $14 - not bad, considering that I paid $15 for it 15 years ago and had gotten a lot of use out of it - or a quarter of what they'd sell it for).

I made $27.48 at Buffalo Exchange, which took the Gore-Tex hiking boots and four jackets (including a rarely-worn wax-covered rain jacket from Scotland and a mod black patent pleather jacket purchased at a thrift store in Wisconsin for $2.50).

Since The Ark is closed on Saturdays and I have issues with the Brown Elephant (whose employees once CHASED ME DOWN THE STREET with my stuff and forced me to take it back), I packed the remaining items in the car and drove them to the Salvation Army on Clybourn. The gentlemen there actually helped me unload the car.

Then I went home and did some reflecting.

Usually, after going into stores, I feel tired.

But this time, I felt more energized than I have in months.

I felt engaged, and elated - like correct dharma was being fulfilled.

Then I counted the money: $88.77, plus three books and a new shirt.

Not bad for two hours of work.

And it's more than enough to cover tomorrow's colonic, when the Cleanse of '08 continues....


  1. you did good!and..i had my colonic on friday~ feeling much lighter!

  2. Great. :)

    I go on,too. I have a lot of electronic clutter.
    To let go of books will be difficult. I will sell some on amazon. To let go is really a freeing act.