I’m getting rid of all of my stuff.
At first, the thought was that I would simplify by getting rid of a few highly annoying items, things that are big, cumbersome, and meaningless to me. So, I made a list. It’s hard to describe all your possessions in that way, expendable or essential. If you get nothing else out of this post, I would recommend making that list. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Once I had my list in hand, I realized right away that it wasn’t enough. I really want to cut down on the clutter, but the things I most want to shed were gifts or heirlooms, sure-in’s for the essential list. Not a good start.
So I tried again, this time choosing to ignore the meaning of the item, and instead picking things purely by function. I kept my bed - I like a good night’s sleep - the large metal rack, my laptop, my kindle, my keyboard, and my kitchen junk. Everything else is truly expendable. But I digress.
At the core of all of this is a simple assertion, that the accumulation of possessions is not only unnecessary, it’s harmful to how I want to live. The reasons are simple. I’m nomadic, and as such, I move fairly often. The more stuff, the more expensive it is to move. Also, it requires me to find bigger and bigger apartments, to fit all my extra stuff. I haven’t gotten any bigger - not too much, anyway - so it doesn’t make a lot of sense why I need a bigger place. Thirdly, when my possessions clutter my life, there is a large psychological cost (there’s a lot more that could be said on this point, but I’ll save it for another time). And finally, I get wrapped up in these emotional attachments to certain items because of their history. The result is a bit of a three-way Catch-22, where I’m unhappy that my apartment is too small for all my clutter, I’m unhappy that I have so much useless stuff, and I’m unhappy because I can’t get rid of sentimental things and new ones keep appearing.
So once I decided that I was going to get rid of my stuff, the question became, how much should I keep. My religious aspirations aside, in living my life for the day-to-day, I put a value on what it was I really needed to keep me mentally, physically, and spiritually happy. The result was an overwhelming, “Less is more.”
The best decision I made on this front in Alaska was to get rid of my internet access. I let that slide when I moved to Atlanta due to some pressures from distant friends, but the result has made it all the more clear that I can’t be trusted to budget my time properly as long as I have this persistent connection. In a similar vein, there are lots of other habits I have around my apartment that lead to time-wasting, messiness, and generally bad living conditions. I’m going to need to take care of all of these.
The next step for me was to evaluate certain special collections or objects. What do I do with all my books, for instance? At first, I thought I would just do the same process of identifying the books I wanted to keep and shedding the rest, but I’m a pack rat. The behavior was passed down from my Dad, and it’s alive and well in me. The only way to shed the books is all or nothing. The same goes for lots of other things: “records, DVDs, CDs, etc. To go from having a lot to having a” little, you must purge.
I won’t lie. It’s emotional. It’s frightening to think of the amount of money I’ve poured into all these things, and to think that I’m going to give them away or sell them for next to nothing. In the end, I believe it’s worth the cost to simplify. The lesson having been learned, I’ll hope to avoid this same problem in the future.
So, to reiterate, I’m getting rid of all my stuff. If there are any of you out there who want something I have, please let me know. I’m terrible about shipping things, and it’s an extra expense I’d like to avoid, but if you can pick things up and take them away, they’re yours.
Here’s a brief list of items that will be going: books, movies, music, game systems, clothes, instruments, accessories, computers and other hardware, random electronics, and much more. Give me a call if you want something.