I spent about five minutes aligning the lens flare’s blue dot just right. I first motioned the camera so the dot would be inside of two of the branches, then, between the three branches of this tree on the tail-end of my lunch break. This was the only way I could think to calm myself down from the panic attack I had just plowed through, which, somehow I was able to describe while having it.
I spent 5 hours this morning sorting my CD collection that could have been invested in anything else, with just two small boxes to show for it! If I could estimate the time I’ve spent looking over my collection, driving to then browsing in stores for new additions, or considering what I own versus what I need to add, the time would be in the hundreds of hours. Isn’t that a waste of time and money?
I’ve always been frustrated when games like EarthBound have limited inventories. I want to carry more than 99 widgets! Through this process of downsizing my possessions, so that when I move I can perhaps consider a studio apartment in the city, I’ve realized the elegance of this mechanic. It forces you to be strategic! Use items when you need them and discard junk. They are micro-simulators for reducing the physical and mental clutter in our lives.
Why do we buy what we buy? To gain compassion or camaraderie with other people? Is buying an experience any more important than buying an object? You only have the one experience, whereas you can interact with the object multiple times… What about concert shirts that might only be good to wear a few times before they become too worn? What if we just buy something because of convenience, it was on sale, or, clever?
In my zealous concern over not wasting material goods, I have wasted plethoric space. Years of kitchen counters filled with grocery store bags I might reuse as trash bags, half-broken boxes that once shipped something else now storing miscellane, along with worn-out boxes with nostalgic prints that make them hard to use but harder to throw out. Do we discard everything now, unless it has an immediate purpose? Should we keep some reusable clutter available?
I need to fix the lighting in my lightbox. Within my mental checklist(s), however, this task has such a low priority that even if all the lights fall over the next few months there will be no significant impact to myself or my projects. I’ve put time sinks like photography for “The Story” on-hold for higher priority tasks, including writing daily, Seattle Indies writing, and Keyboard Kommander development, with my highest-priority task being moving “Zeal.”
The main problem with owning an unchecked collection of over 1,104 CDs is that though impressive, storage becomes a concern. What should I keep and what should I get rid of depends on one primary question: would I want to listen to this album more than once every ten years? I would run through the embarrassing statistics of what I haven’t heard in over ten years, but that’s online already, so let’s instead explore moving mechanics.
The hair had to go.
This will be a winding series of whys and hows explaining how that seemingly insignificant weight was weighing me down, which is a funny thing to talk about on a purely physical fitness column, but I believe there are myriad crossovers between the many things we hold onto physically and mentally. After all, exercise is decluttering stores of fungible energy we have stored in our bodies in a controlled manner.
Staying in hotel rooms might help reduce hoarding tendencies. On a recent flight, I brought a nearly-full suitcase and the intention of only getting meaningful souvenirs. I had myriad materialistic moments between visiting: two music stores, one thrift store, one videogame store, one museum gift store, and five airport souvenir stores. I barely succeeded in not buying anything meaningless. My collecting intentions were focused around two questions. Second: “Do you have any rare Nirvana stuff?”
After donating three boxes of VHS tapes, my remaining VHS collection fits into 7 mid-sized boxes, with a TV/VCR and spare VCR/DVD player rounding out the pack. Other than two additional boxes of Disney tapes, which will join me on this first hop on my moving adventures… if they don’t sell, most of the tapes here aren’t worth much. Besides, maybe, some of the anime tapes. Why keep any of them? Is nostalgia worth their weight?