[Downsizing Zeal] Forbid Hoarding Instincts

Go to thrift stores when they open and you might find these rolling trash bins. When these larger stores have sales, like ‘green tags are 50% off this week only,’ the week after, when it’s blue-tag-week, those unsold green tag items get thrown in these bins to be destroyed. Don’t let your hoarding empathies kick in. Buy something if you need it or love it, but not just because it’s cheap or it might be destroyed.

I visit thrift stores, now, mainly for books.

Going to these stores fulfills my sometimes-insatiable lusting for hunting for things to purchase, perhaps a transposition of hunter-gatherer instincts, but by limiting myself to one specific thing, it encourages me to think critically when I’m here – and if I can practice that in these shops of leisure, I can practice that out there, where criticality might be actually important. When I had leisure time, space, money, with my mind that was once easily distracted if not focused on something novel or interesting, and now is more tamed, I found myself acquiring more than I needed.

I look for other items at thrift stores, too.

I’ll look for subjects to photograph then write about later – I skipped photographing a photo of a dog that was glued onto a box because I’d already written about something less sad recently. I’ll look for toys or electronics if I have more time. However, if I’ve only got a short amount of time, then I’ll look through the classics to see if there’s anything cheap or eye-catching. There was nothing this visit, but I was struck with melancholy by seeing that rolling bin. My role at a thrift store as a production technician was keeping these bins empty. In the morning, the sorters would sort out all the old-tag items for me to throw in the trash compactor.

They’d usually get done before the store opened.

If I wasn’t assigned out in a trailer, my job was to go around to empty all these bins in the back warehouse where sorters would look through donations and trash the trash before pricing what you’d eventually see out on the floor. I ran all over, and if I had a better diet, I could have burned off a number of pounds easily. That job was one of many periods of my life that taught me not to be lazy. You’d get micro-breaks with the lulls between work.

If all the bins were empty, then you could walk a little slower for a few.

While I don’t miss doing that work, mindset, or setting, it’s a valuable memory to reorient myself, which is subconsciously why I still like meandry thrift store trips. Seeing the best of other people’s garbage reminds me of those days when I was trying to get through my own mental garbage. I didn’t learn much about my sobriety there and what life should mean to me. I went there thinking it would be fun and left as soon as I could; before learning how item pricing worked.

I resisted the urge to look through the bin to look for things I didn’t need to buy.

As I’m clearing out the retro computer things I don’t want anymore, I uncovered a box of a fighter jet game that reminded me of the over half-dozen big-box PC games that I had thrown out in my limited time at some thrift store, somewhere. The anonymous one that stuck out to me had never even been opened, yet here I was, throwing it in the trash compactor.

Yet then I must ask myself, would I play that game?

Given the appropriate hardware and time, maybe not more than a casual meander, so such a memory serves as an emotional moment in an essay like this and as a thought to consider, but not as something I should aspire to attain. Now, when I see big-box PC games or anything else that might have formerly pulled on my heart-strings, I now think less emotionally and more logically. I don’t mean to encourage a heartless attitude. Just consider whether you’re the right person for this object. These lucky items have about a month on the floor before they’re thrown out. Do you really need it? If not, someone else might actually need it.

I want to own and read through La Comédie humaine.

I own two novels and one short story collection already. Those are books that I would “need” to own, not so much for a need to live as much as a need to fulfill that base hunter-gatherer instinct. I think that’s why we tend to collect things. It’s fun to go to stores to look for “out thing,” whether it’s a book like that or something else to add to our collections, since we can easily get food to survive, work is easy enough to come by if you’re willing to accept minimal wage – like I did at the thrift store, rather than let your ego demand only the best job possible, and living costs are expensive but manageable, so we can lead comfortable lives.

If we’re not after improving those conditions, we may want more stuff.

When we buy more stuff than we have the time to use, those items can accumulate to the point where it’s easier to remove those burdens in trips to thrift stores than it is to properly say goodbye to them or even try to sell them for a minimal profit. I don’t go thrifting for that goal, which wasn’t something I actively did before but ended up being an eventuality because I bought anything that caught my fancy that I had even a baseline level of empathy with, which led to excessive clutter, hoarding, and inaction in actually using any of the items I had purchased. I write these thoughts out now to display where I was and how I’ve learned to tame those materialistic hoarding instincts.

You can, as a recovering hoardist, still go thrifting.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My professional and personal experiences.
Inspirations: Jamming on the “403” idea with websites along with thinking about my thrift store adventures.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal and Thrifting Adventure essays.
Photo: They use the same type of bin, even years later.
Written On: 2020 March 04 [7:21am to 7:55am while listening to SNAKES FOR THE DIVINE.]
Last Edited: 2020 March 04 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.