Nostalgia, or homecoming-pain, doesn’t do much for me anymore. An object should serve a utility, have an aesthetic you like, or as I wrote about years ago have a nice memory attached to it. I used the word nostalgia instead… I’m not sure I believe in that so much anymore. An object like this mug with the pink note on it didn’t start with a positive memory, but I’ve ground that nightmare thought off it.
My favorite thing about living in apartments, other than minimizing housing and maintenance responsibilities, is the abundance of acquirable things. Summarizing this past year living in this apartment-mansion from a downsizing perspective, I truly learned the value of tools versus trash. What’s the point of buying five containers of toothpaste if it takes me a year to use each one? The remaining ones would expire and become trash! However, buying one is a useful tool.
Until hitting the nadir of my hoarding tendencies last year, whenever anything even slightly caught my fancy, I’d usually want to have it. While not particularly weird, I have at least one road turtle, and I was tempted to take home another one today. The thing that stopped me today wasn’t whether I could legally own it – sure, that’s a concern, too – but more that I couldn’t answer one question: why should I take it?
There’s a value in large-screen CRTs for videogame connoisseurs to play retro games. I put no effort during the past two months in finding a retro gamer to gift this TV, other than joining a general gifting group, so I finally took it to a donation organization. It’s on some pallet to be recycled now. It’s too bad, too, because it worked, and someone might have enjoyed it. That’s a burden to hold onto, though…
While I was cleaning this cooler in the warming spring air, my patio dripping with two coats of soap, I realized that six months ago I would have never spent more than five minutes on something so “mundane” as cleaning. I have plenty of fun things to write and myriad opportunities await my edited and published writings! Why would I waste thirty minutes cleaning some boring cooler? Besides for duty, such activities inspire extraordinary ideas.
Somewhere between the concert where I acquired this piece of shiny plastic – maybe at the Marilyn Manson show, or maybe a Sabaton show – and its final resting place, in this pile of garbage, grimed by months spent in a greasy box full of dirty tools and assorted items from deep in my old basement, I lost this confetto’s meaning. If only I’d tucked it away in some album or attached a note, right? Probably not…
I have two bags of VHS tapes to donate soon, as I’m also soon bringing over another carload of stored stuff. The more I downsize, the less it feels like I’ve downsized. The hallways are clearer and there’s less stuff blocking other stuff, it’s just… I keep unearthing more stuff to sort through, and increasingly, less of it interests me. Why keep anything that doesn’t immediately excite or inspire you? Just to “have” it around?
As I gazed upon the otherworldly vastness of my depleting clutter empire, filling my apartment-mansion with innocent material wealth, I realized that somewhere between my Moving Zeal journey’s start in Winter 2018 and here in Spring 2019, my rose-colored glasses have shattered. I’m seeing crappy clutter rather than prized possessions. I continue photographing and sharing this journey in Downsizing Zeal because I am learning for myself what might be obvious to a neutral observer of these photographs.
Throughout the thrifting altruistic veneer is this sense of treasure hunting, whether for profit or to recreate memories from youth, where prizes like this duplicate of a childhood collection of wildlife flash cards could be yours for $5. The only problem is that these weren’t my flashcards; they were just around. I have no attachment to either the box or the contents inside, but when you frequent thrift stores, you might occasionally come across similar paramnesias.
Not everything you own is valuable! After donating another trunkful of things to a thrift store and with the apartment clearing up nicely, I’m beginning to learn to accurately access how much value an object has to me in terms of aesthetic, nostalgia, utility. After I donate another miscellaneous amount of furniture, I can then set up shelving dedicated to queueing up items for review. Not everything needs to be cut, but everything needs review.