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 Blah Blah development, with my highest-priority task being moving “Zeal.”
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?”
The statement ‘keep what you love, sell or donate the rest’ would be easy, were it not for this overwhelming sense of attachment we have toward unnecessary things in life. We cherish bad memories arguably more than our good memories. When it comes to videogames, the natural inclination is to keep everything. How often do we hold onto mediocre videogames, bad memories, and other things out of convenience versus actually wanting them to occasionally enjoy?
Free stuff is usually favorable. This free bin, for example, helped kick a brainstorm off for “The Story” character Trishna. The problem is excessive hoarding. Through this process of moving for the first time in years, I’ve been coming to terms with my hoarding tendencies. I’ve started with destroying that which cannot be resold at thrift stores and reducing my curiosity of diving in free bins or thrifting. I’ve made significant progress toward psychological de-hoarding.