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?
Which is more exciting: Having an object or having an empty space?
With the empty space, you have the potential to use it for other purposes, or even just to have more room for yourself to stretch out. I never would have imagined one year ago that I’d be happier with less than more. I’m not sure why I was in a constant hunt for more-more-more, but the house kept filling up with more things. I always kept the main hallways accessible, but the spare bedroom that was meant to be an office had turned into an inaccessible nightmare.
It’s not the life to live.
It might seem great to have an overabundance of things, especially when you’re collecting for something that you enjoy, but the question really becomes: Why do I enjoy this collection? If I’m enjoying something frequently, then keep it. If I only casually enjoy something once a year, then I should get rid of everything except the one or two things that I really enjoy, especially as I plan to move around for the next few years. No point lugging everything endlessly.
What am I keeping?
I have a stack of VHS tapes I’d like to see first.
Next, I have a set of tapes we made that I’d like to poke through to see if there’s anything that’s worth keeping. Everything else goes from the top shelf of things I love or kinda like to the bottom shelves of tapes to sell. The tapes that didn’t make the cut went into those bags. Now, that’s an over-simplification because this isn’t about VHS tapes specifically. Replace VHS with cassettes, or any sort of storage medium, or a collection of any sort, whether aesthetic or utility.
These tapes are an analogy for everything I own.
At first, I wanted to keep everything as I was packing. I kinda liked everything, but that saturation meant that the stuff I really enjoyed was bogged down by the stuff I didn’t care about enough to get rid of but liked enough to keep. Then, I got better, and cut things down, sometimes by half. Now, I’m comfortable with getting rid of collections of things I’ve realized don’t benefit me.
I’ll keep everything I really enjoy.
I’ll also keep the time not spent thinking about this excess, or having the excess disrupt my concentration as I’m writing. Days like today are difficult enough for me to retain my focus. I don’t need more stuff in the way.
Two bags down. Two hundred or more to go.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Scattered thoughts after I collected and downsized most of my VHS collection. Some more bags might be somewhere in my storage room, but I couldn’t find them easily.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photos: The first two are when I was going to leave for the day to do something with the last being the collection I kept after those plans fell through.|
|Written On: April 18th [45 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft for the Internet.|