There’s a quote from RoboCop that might have fueled my hoarding tendencies: “I’d buy that for a dollar!” It’s easy to consider purchasing an item for an insubstantial price, or acquiring it for free from, say, a free bin. What happens to those items once they ended up in my possession? Until I started writing my Moving Zeal essays, and until admittedly… recent weeks, I had a complicated relationship with items; they were mainly neglected.
Now I feel like I’ve taken control of my hoarding tendencies much more.
Since my spine surgery two weeks ago, I acquired three shirts, four CDs, two books, these four toys, one other toy, three Hot Wheels toys, a plush toy, and a cane. Rather than simply putting them away after purchasing them, I’ve decided to go a different route: I want to write about a majority of these items, and give myself the essay-writing space to do so until I “put them away.” By writing about them and what they mean to me, either directly if I were to write about or abstractly, I create a layer of mental thought to where I can’t just take for granted that I bought something, then forget about it as I move onto the next object on the next day.
These objects have been pleasurable for me in my healing process.
They’ve all represented items that I appreciate to varying degrees. The plush toy, for example, is precisely as cute as I feel something like this should be, which is to say, comforting. I did put the books away, but they are ones that I would like to read, so I’ve tried to encourage myself to read more so that I can complete my current book and move onto the next. I’ve kept the CDs in close proximity so that I can look at them and appreciate them. I opened one of the Hot Wheels wheelchairs, from Aaron Fotheringham’s feature, and this will be a desk object for me to keep and interact with in the future. The others I’ve put up on display.
Explained more abstractly, each object I acquire now must have some value.
I can’t buy it and forget it anymore. The three shirts I bought shouldn’t quite displace three other shirts, but should remind me to look through my shirt collection and find the shirts that make me feel great for wearing them. If not, then I should begin the process of detaching then donating them. Books are a major timesink, so unless the book is something that I know I will want to read in the next five years, it won’t be worth the dollar to buy if it collects dust. What if I acquire another copy of that dollar-purchased book for free when I feel like reading it? That would have been a dollar wasted today. What if that book would cost me more than a dollar when I feel like reading it? If I don’t feel like I want to read it now, or “now,” then why buy it?
Sometimes, this works out well.
This Mario and Donkey Kong statue set was exactly one dollar. I own other pixelated Mario characters, so this is my time to decide if I want to keep all, some, or none of them. Currently, I’m closer to keeping some or none of them. I bought the three Mega Man statues for three different reasons: one for one friend, one for another friend, and the third for myself. I’ve been thinking about playing the original six Mega Man games for a while now. I would do so casually through emulation to take screenshots and save-scum if necessary because these games – like the book examples – are something I’ve considered meandering through in the short-term rather than long-term.
If not, I wouldn’t have wanted to buy them for the fifty-some cents they cost me.
For these concrete examples, I want to abstract it a bit more, because the point is that whenever I go to any stores going forward, I feel like I am free to go to any thrift store, supermarket, or anywhere items are sold, but I have to be more discerning going forward, and I feel like I have been, despite outwardly seeming not through purchasing a variety of items. Every item I’ve purchased tells a similar story: I want the item for its own sake, I appreciate the item, and I can guess that I will continue appreciating the item for a while. If not, then I can move it further away from my writing desk area, and if I’ve forgotten about it, then I can sell or donate it.
This intentionality abstraction causes friction toward current and future ownership.
I can no longer buy a “dollar” item and forget about it as I did at the height of my former residence that was cluttered to its brims. I have to do something with it before I can buy more. These four toys items sat on my cooler-turned-coffee-table for days as a frequent reminder to address them. The set and one Mega Man will go to one friend. Another will go to another friend, who I reached out to today for coordinating a day to meet, and the third one will remain packaged but I will find a place for it that is not hidden away as a subconscious reminder to pick up Mega Man 1 as I have intended.
It’s fine if any of these, or other, items bore me.
What that means is that I should consider whether these goals are worthwhile. Let’s say a year goes by and I’ve neglected the remaining Mega Man toy. It’s fine if I still want to play it, but the moment I don’t feel like it anymore, then I should decide where the toy should go, because it’s lost its luster with me, and I shouldn’t keep it for much longer.
I know this seems like stating the obvious, but writing essays like this helps.
|Quotes:  The Robocop quote, as defined by Urban Dictionary dot com.|
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I wanted to write about buying this stuff before my materialism got too out of control. I bought more things about twelve hours ago, but these, like the photographed things, are things that I enjoy. Another way to phrase this essay is to consider every single item you’re about to purchase and ask yourself: “What’s the significance of this item?” If you don’t have any strong attachment to it, from a grocery item to a CD, then… why buy it?|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays, and to some degree, it explains a perspective I have on Media Meandry essays, too.|
|Photo: Four toys on my cooler that I now use as a coffee table.|
|Written On: 2020 September 15 [Midnight to 12:34567890am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 September 15 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|