Unfortunately, that lack of square footage has not kept me from accumulating a fair amount of stuff, most of which is carefully stored (read: crammed) in tiny crevices around the apartment. My special "filing" system means that while I may be absolutely certain I do in fact own, say, a particular book, itís often totally impossible for me to actually locate said item. Not very feng shui.
Apparently, the prince of Brunei has confronted the same dilemma. Heís put thousands of his belongings on the auction block this week, hoping, perhaps, to clear out a bit of open space in the palace. (He also seems to be interested in collecting a bit of cash to pay back a few billion dollars of debt heís accumulated since his business dealings hit the wall a few years ago, but Iím trying to focus on the positive here.)
Confronted by my own space-poor reality while searching for a photograph earlier this week, and inspired by the goings-on in Brunei, I decided it was time for some serious mid-summer cleaning. Just like my new hero, the good prince Jefri, I am going to embrace minimalism: Good-bye to the extraneous belongings cluttering up my life. Adios to the stacks of unread magazines. So long to the furniture taking up precious floor space. I will catalogue, tag and drag my possessions out into the sunlight, and await bids from the public.
Because, really, if you sit down and think about it, itís not hard to see we have way too much stuff in our lives. In the strictest sense of the word, we donít actually need much of anything. Just some bread and water occasionally. Okay, and maybe a really good hairbrush.
Following is a quick rundown of what you might expect to bid on at Prince Jefriís auction, and what you can find at my sidewalk sale next weekend. I think youíll find, as I have, that sometimes good old American shabby chic (emphasis on shabby) is just as good as fabulously extravagant pieces of art. (Sometimes, of course, itís not.)
Jefri has a thing for motor vehicles, it seems, many of which are up for auction. Heís accumulated innumerable cars (enough, itís reported, to fill three parking lots), two Mercedes fire engines, one Comanche attack helicopter simulator, a Formula One car, and an Airbus A340.
Back here in the States, my motorized products include a yellow blender circa 1982, a not particularly effective hairdryer, and the vague hope of someday buying a car with my best friend. I would also add that I do currently live right next door to a fire station so if you really want a fire engine, we might be able to work something out (assuming itís late enough and the Dalmation guarding the fire station is asleep).
The prince is trying to unload a couple of very strange items, which might be called knickknacks if they werenít so staggeringly expensive and weird. First up, an eight-foot, bronze-plated Trojan horse, which apparently already sold for $1,470 (sorry, folks). Heís also auctioning off a slew of gold-plated toilet paper holders, trash cans, Jacuzzis and shower heads. If youíre not into anything that flashy, you can go for the more tasteful marble Jacuzzis, each of which will reportedly run you only $300. Also up for grabs: A full-size pool table.
My New York City collection also offers a few special pieces, including a spectacularly ugly hat my boyfriend bought at a flea market a few weeks ago (trust me, youíll get a very nice price on this thing), a few picture frames designed specifically to never fit any size photo, two sets of Boggle and a collection of cooking utensils I will never, ever learn how to use. Please note: While I do not have anything thatís gold- or bronze-plated, I do have a very large cat who, if you pose him correctly, can resemble a Trojan horse. Sort of.
Finally, up on the block in Brunei: Hundreds of "European" sofas made of buttery soft leather, one of which is shaped like the tail end of a Cadillac.
I have one European sofa, designed by the good Swedes at Ikea, swathed in the finest green cotton. Added bonus: Both armrests are adorned with charming cat-scratch marks.
Another plus for those of you looking to do a little shopping Stateside: While Bruneiís auction is winding down, leaving only a few big-ticket items still up for sale, my sell-off is still in the planning phases, so you have plenty of time to arrange your schedule. And looking back over my potential offerings, itís clear to me that Iím going to have to advertise my upcoming sale very carefully. We certainly donít want a stampede.