[Downsizing Zeal] Clutter Is Dishonest

If you care about things, you put them away neatly, right? So if there are many objects strewn in disarray throughout your living arrangements, how much do you really care about them? Do your prized possessions intermingle with trashed trinkets you don’t care about? If so, you may not be fully honest with yourself about your materialistic values. You may care about being the owner of an object yet not care about the object itself.

My collections of VHS tapes and CDs represents this dishonesty well.

I own a VHS tape of Man Bites Dog. I like the movie but when will I watch it next? I watched a DVD, borrowed from the library over fifteen years ago, and I haven’t had a hankering to watch it since. Warehouse shoot-out shots of it linger in my imagination for fodder for some action movie I’ll never write, perhaps.

If I don’t own it to interact with it, why own it?

I haven’t looked at it in years, other than its spine being in some shots over the past few months, so my ownership of it is just a display of something I once enjoyed and still consider an overall good experience. I last watched a movie in …February 2019, it’s September 7th when I’m writing this, and who knows how long it will be until I watch another movie? I had wanted to slot in one movie per month into my schedule. That lasted all of about two or three months.

Objects like this are like white lies.

They whisper at us, or our guests: “this is something I like” but they don’t invite us in. I would rather display Dance of Reality or Pan’s Labyrinth. Those are movies I would want to see. Even the anime above it is just a mild passion. I’m disinterested now in watching many long-form series. Maybe the occasional one? Otherwise, I am just not an anime enthusiast.

Same with music collecting.

About a year ago already, I stopped constantly searching for new music. The stuff I’ll enjoy will come to me. I spent most of 2008 searching for new albums and heard over 700 albums. Two albums I still love listening to frequently from that year by Creepshow and Sabaton are two I hadn’t even heard of that year. What is, then, the value of displaying the many albums I’ll spin once, maybe twice, before never hearing again?

This is why I’ve been downsizing so much.

I want to arrive at honest answers to questions about my hobbies. I know now that it is better to display the things I love than display everything. Despite the glitter of everything, there is the grime of information overload present in both of these shots. I would rather not own things I’ll never use again, which isn’t meant in a fatalistic way. I can always buy or borrow another. I don’t value having large collections anymore.

Instead, I value a sacred few. The remainder I can appreciate at a glance.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: These objects are great when you have a stable income, however when you feel the looming threat of a lifestyle where you are doing work you don’t like and makes you feel uncomfortable, even spending that dollar on something a few years ago now feels a bit like a regret, and in that way, this essay touches on that dark space. The light of it is that life is better when you know what you love.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.
Photos: Two shots of some downsizing shelves.
Written On: September 7th [19 minutes, 458am-521am, mobile]
Last Edited: September 8th [Minor edits. Otherwise, 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.