A difficult but necessary question I ask myself while looking at every single item I own is: “Why keep this?” Sometimes, the answer is a clear “there is no reason,” so off it goes into the sell or donate piles to address later. However, for everything remaining, of which this is now the fourth box of random action figures or objects, the question begs a little more nuance. Every object here should have a justification.
I own some CDs I haven’t heard in over 11 years. As I’m packing up everything to move, I’m not doing a decisively thorough cut of my collections. If that means moving an additional box of CDs I’ll later sell/donate, that’s fine. I’m just doing a preliminary sort at this time. But as I put away this particular box of CDs, the question came to mind: when will I next listen to all of these CDs?
I didn’t feel like I made a dent even after spending nearly two hours packing. It’s frustrating because while I’ve still got time to get everything moved out, I want to be further along than I am. It’s not like writing an essay, where after a certain point, I can call it done. Let’s explore that sensory overload anxiety so I can figure out how to circumvent that before returning for another round of packing.
When I sobered up, money otherwise spent on alcohol went to cool action figures. It efficiently re-routed the pleasure sensors of going to a store, browsing for some new treat, then bringing it home to enjoy. Now that I’m downsizing and moving, I can’t binge on new purchases anymore. Every new item now must fit succinctly within a specific purpose. It’s not as dangerous to browse for action figures as alcohol, but materialistically, maybe so?
Some years back, I stopped caring about precisely tracking every single album I’d ever heard, so I started tagging those albums as “close enough.” While packing up part of my CD collection to move – with less focus on alphabetical ambitions, and more focus on lumping larger discographies into boxes – I was reminded of how alphabetical accomplishments are yet another example of how pursuing perfection paralyzes progress. Is the work good enough? Is it close enough?
Junk shelves, random boxes, and “to do” lists are subtle ways to keep us organized by deferring the eventualities of cleaning. If pursuing perfection paralyzes progress, getting around to completing these cleaning tasks should just be a matter of time and interest, right? Throughout my moving process, I’ve discarded anything that doesn’t enrich my life, with some lingering questions: How many of this item’s collection do I want to keep? All or none? Maybe one?
Ideally, I shouldn’t donate anything that reminds me of particularly positive events. Realistically, I’ve gotten into the phase of donating and selling where I’m considering whether the memory a certain object emits is worth keeping. That memory won’t be gone completely, especially if I write about it or photograph the object, but more broadly, should we hold onto things just because they give us some memories? What if negative memories one day later become positive?
Goals require sacrifices. If I wanted to remain the same depressed, miserable, and terrible person I was years ago, I would continue those self-destructive lifestyles of decadence, clutter, and excess. If I want to experience more of life, write perhaps even professionally and on my terms, and have more autonomy in life, I must sacrifice some elements of myself that hinder progress in those directions. How will I do that? I guess with some resolutions…!
Everything I own now is under a microscope. If I keep an object, it will have a certain burden that I will carry to my next residence, the next, and maybe the next after that. If I don’t keep the object, should I try to sell it or just get rid of it? After kicking this move into high gear, objects no longer seem as interesting, because the question becomes: “when will this become burdensome?”
It’s easy to procrastinate without a structure. If there is too much ambiguity over what needs to happen next, then we pick the path of least resistance to pleasure. I have four tasks I still need to do this morning, but because it wasn’t clear how to proceed with any of them, I noticed I was about to set off several procrastinative traps. With a structure like this, it’s easier working on projects than procrastinating.