Let’s say you’re in the process of curating your collections of music, movies, or whatnots. Passing your collecting nadirs, perhaps you’ve become disillusioned with turning a profit on any of your excesses? Maybe you’ve earnestly tried selling decent stuff at fair prices, only to have to deal with timesinks: lowballer, no-shows, or arguments with buyers at stores or through private sales? What if your local thrift store is similarly disillusioned with all these old media?
I can only speak from my experiences working at a big-box thrift store for a few months, years ago, but I’ll never forget baling thousands of pounds of clothing per hour, and despite putting in my best efforts, still being a slower worker than a man well past retirement age. So when I donate my depreciated clothing, I/they don’t care if it’s worn or damaged: they’ll bale everything except soiled materials and sell them overseas.
I don’t believe in the power of donating to companies to provide for my community. After throwing myriad items into the trash compactor, some better than what I own, and watching these kind-hearted gestures from you and me become destroyed for no other reason than because these items were old stock or didn’t sell, while I may still donate and buy from thrift stores, it’s with all altruistic façades removed. Sobriety is like that, too.
After doing large swaths of work, our natural inclination is to take it easy. That’s fine if it’s just some casual work, but if it’s a large project like moving and learning decluttering simultaneously, there’s always more to do. The trick is pacing yourself physically and mentally so you can accomplish more each day, so rather than completely slow down, it’s good to idly distract ourselves. For my wildly disorganized collection, that means ballpark alphabetizing.
Seeing some of these stuffed animals for the first time in years instantly brought me back to certain childhood moments. In some more ideal situations, these objects would be few and voluminous in the memories they hold, with the ones I’m no longer attached to going off to better homes with friends and family, or if not, sold or donated. After a day of reuniting scattered memories, I thought of avoiding scattering clutter going forward.
“I’m used to the very cluttered space I live in. So I don’t see it. But take a photo, and…” there’s certainly an art of some kind going on. Spending hours upon days decluttering, undoing the damage caused by the clutter both to the physical space and my mental organizational habits, only to look at the reclaimed space and wonder: how long will this last? I have a few arrangements I’m enacting to prevent that.
I haven’t seen these baseboards in years! While that’s by design for CD shelving, that mentality perfectly summarizes the hoarder mindset, which I aim to reduce or stop at my next residence. It’s fine to own stuff, but to completely forget what you own to the degree I have over the years implies a certain callous disrespectfulness to the stuff itself, which needs to stop. The answer is simple: slowly unpack and deeply consider ownership.
My meditation in a Buddhist temple was interrupted by an inner voice screaming at me to declutter. I am now, years later, facing the mental anguish over decluttering. The physical process is easy, but learning the mental fortitude to detach myself, even somewhat, from frivolous material possession is overwhelming. I must control my hoarding addiction. I’ll still buy and use things, but rather than let them control me, I must learn illusionary control over materialism.
There’s this depressive sludge I’m crawling through right now, as a hoarder that is decluttering and packing up my collection, that eerily reminds me of other addictions. The biggest I learned as a furniture mover was that it’s easier to move other people’s stuff than your own because you don’t have an attachment to their stuff. Learning the decisiveness to keep or toss material possessions, while pretentiously first-world, does remind me of quitting other addictions.
“Think of [moving] like Tetris. You’ve gotta fit everything into one space.” In many puzzle games, you get bonus points for lumping similar pieces together. That sort of design philosophy carries over into album sorting as well. How strictly do you adhere to empirical alphabetical order? Do you count articles [the/el]? Do you lump side projects by members of a band with the band’s discography? Or do you loosely lump albums by genre or …mood?