Among the nice things about the apartment-mansion, having a dumpster along the route to my parking spot is among the middle to maybe nicer things. If I aim a bag just right, it disappears into the ether, along with any bad memories its contents may have contained. Today I threw away two things that I once liked until their memories became sullied, and rather than keep them for saccharine lamentation, away forever they did go.
Mint condition items are weird. If you never wear the concert shirts you bought, never used the bottles of soap you got on sale, then unless it’s for some kind of museum preservationism, what was the point? I wore a fresh concert shirt, its cotton still smelling vaguely of factories all these years later, to bed and wore an ever-so-slightly off-white Wii Fit hat today. This sort of object reverence in everyday living is weird.
How many hundreds of CDs do I own because others like them more than me? More than one. More than ten. Maybe more than hundreds? It took me until my hoarding nadir to realize that I would buy anything that caught my fancy, rather than just specifically that which I appreciated the most. As I’m going through my collections to figure out what I’d sell for a dollar, I realize it’s actually a good portion.
One compromise I could make with my collections is doing what my neighbors just did. They kept the media and recycled the abundant packaging. I can respect that mentality. Maybe they like the movies but not enough to peruse their packaging? For me, if I don’t care enough about the movie to own its entire packaging, why own it? I suppose my lifestyle is one where I naturally favor new experiences rather than infrequent rewatches.
If the hardest decisions I have to make in the next few months determine the fate of most of my property, I’m in excellent shape. If that means putting in a CD, listening, and having honest inner monologues about why I like the object and whether those feelings can be condensed into an essay, then that means I’m not fighting for a paycheck, struggling to stay afloat, or otherwise dealing with life’s malignant stress demons.
We’ll wear many hats throughout the journeys of our lives. How many of those hats do we need to keep as trophy artifacts? Other than the ones that help us feel better, or remind us of particular memories, not as many as we might expect. It’s easier keeping things and never looking at them again than making difficult downsizing decisions, yet once we do, we’re reinvigorated to wear the remaining hats or get new ones.
5S revolutionized the way I professionally work but it’s cumbersome for me to remember the nuances and particularities in my personal work. This 3S is more of a riff than tribute, since I’m beginning to realize that I sort through collections of things the fastest in three main stages: stage, sort, then sell. Staging means bringing everything together. Sorting is the process I’m learning about almost daily. Selling, then, should be the easiest part, right?
On some lunch breaks some lifetimes ago, I would walk along the piers and beaches, my mind emptying itself of that morning’s stressors, and I might catch a speedboat, yachts leisurely enjoying the day or massive cruise ships that were like portable skyscrapers, and I’d wonder: How can I switch places? This wasn’t out of envy for the rich or out of want for sailing, rather: How can I afford a lifestyle of daily leisure?
I spend days off working on infrastructure changes and workdays maintaining my sanity. I can do some light “infrastructure” changes like moving things around or sifting through a box of stuff, though mostly I’ll spend my early mornings and late evenings “maintaining” my workload, including catching up on my editing, so my weekends aren’t stuck editing five essays. It’s a tricky balance. If I clear out maintenance tasks, I can make massive infrastructure changes quickly.
My biggest regret in life might be buying too much stuff. People come and go in life. You can get new jobs. Those things which become broken can be fixed or mended, mostly. But when I look back over ten year’s worth of salary and see how far that’s gotten me, there are tinges of regret scattered through the $1 CDs I’m sifting through and the more expensive purchases that I squandered money on almost needlessly.