[Downsizing Zeal] Days Managing Inventory

If I were in some post-apocalyptic zombie scenario, how much stuff would I keep? Not much more than a laptop, or two, and some pricelessly sentimental items. Given that we are spoiled to not worry about such scenarios, we can often allow luxury to get in the way of ourselves, as we struggle through possessions that might otherwise weigh us down. Playing or watching zombie games can help us practice post-apocalyptic downsizing inventory management scenarios.

Almost everything in the photo above is neatly knolled.

Games like Diablo, 7 Days To Die, DayZ, and Wilmot’s Warehouse, perhaps, follow in the knolling footsteps of 10 Bullets where, within a limited space, one has to figure out how to arrange their objects effectively. There are myriad organizational techniques. In most videogames, players acquire items freely, but in some games, organizing one’s item acquisitions almost becomes a puzzle minigame. Games like EarthBound give each character a limited number of slots for every item and there’s no stacking, while games like Diablo or DayZ will allow you to hold many small items or limited larger items, and others like the Final Fantasy games almost completely forgo this inventory management process entirely.

I think it’s useful and entertaining to see how one manages digital items.

Watching friend-of-the-website NamedGhost play 7 Days To Die and DayZ, as featured below, presents a sort of hands-off approach to this where he may need to strategize what items to keep or what items to leave behind, whereas I can pop in, watch when I want, and leave those sorts of difficult questions to my mind’s back-burner. When your inventory is completely empty, it’s easy to take everything. When your inventory is encumbered by other objects, there is the natural human instinct to want to hoard resources while also needing to progress ahead in the game.

These are difficult decisions both in games and life.

The most important lesson I learned about hoarding is letting go of “useless” items.

I throw out small bags of garbage nearly daily and keep a recycling pile nearby my apartment-mansion’s door as subtle reminders to myself to remove my attachment to the most insidious items that I own – the potentially useful garbage. I keep most of the boxes that my food was once stored in, if those boxes have sufficient cardboard strength, because those boxes can be easily reused. Plastic containers that might have held yogurt are significantly less useful, but I’ve held onto items like this over the years ‘just in case.’

Just in case is the worst mentality to have for a ‘recovering hoarder’ like myself.

I have yet to experience a situation noteworthy enough to recount here where I wished I had kept something like a plastic container that once had held yogurt in the nearly two years since I’ve been more rigorously recycling items. I will, sometimes, use these items. If there’s no immediate use for them, then I should recycle them nearly immediately, so they don’t clutter up my own inventory: my apartment-mansion.

With that downsizing focus, I’m realizing my over-attachment to objects quicker.

This was something I was only beginning to learn during the Moving Zeal phase of this three-step process-project, and now that I’ve had enough time away from mass-market materialism, I feel like it will be easier for me to sell things in the Selling Zeal phase. There are items I’ve had in the racks of my storage room that have filled up inventory slots for years in my mind’s imagination that I am comfortable with parting ways with, similarly to how, when one goes through a game like Diablo or DayZ and finds a variety of good and bad objects.

It’s not always useful to get rid of all of the bad objects.

What if you’re nearby somewhere where you can sell them? I guess the videogame analogy of using them as distractions wouldn’t work in reality, but there are objects I don’t necessarily hate that I own that none the less take up minimal slots of inventory. Combined, however, they are just enough to be overwhelming. Some, like a shelving unit placed erratically in my living room, has been an eye-sore for me for months that I want to get rid of quickly. Others, like the sharp increase in boxes that crowd in my living room, will have a place and purpose, just maybe not where they currently reside.

That’s where it becomes a matter of playing Tetris with my stuff.

Fortunately, compared to earlier this year or last year, I am much more willing to part ways with objects than I was before. It would be nice to completely tear the bandage off this downsizing wound, however, over the time I’ve spent writing and rewriting my thoughts, I have developed an internal discipline for reducing my intake and increasing my outtake. It’s like burning off weight by eating fewer calories than you burn each day. Counting calories might be tedious for most people, [not for me,] but it’s an effective way to prevent weight gain while also managing your weight loss.

These essays, then, try finding ways of making “inventory” “calorie counting” easier.

That may involve writing about specifically concrete examples, abstractly philosophical thoughts, or using analogies to videogames or anything else. The point through all of this, like editing an essay or a novel, is figuring out what elements enhance and what elements don’t. When I write to a word limit, it helps me figure out whether I need to remove some words or not. I’m not always rigorous about word count limits because, like having a spacious apartment, it’s easy to say “I’d buy that for a dollar” or pick it up because it’s freely available, only to find myself later on with a full inventory of things I’m equally attached to… and with no way of getting rid of anything. Without considering these things, everything in your possession becomes equally valuable.

The rotten trash, even, becomes more valuable than the easily resellable collectible item…

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Thinking about inventory management systems in both life and videogames. An example that I only played after I finished writing this essay was Unpacking, a demo of which I played during PAX Online, but I had heard about it years ago so it was a lingering example that I didn’t quite have reference to, and I didn’t want to wait to play it then return to finish writing the essay, so as an addendum, consider how some games like Unpacking appreciate materialism as well, so it’s not like I hate all stuff, I just hate the garbage I’ve collected along with the stuff I love.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal and Media Meandry essays.
Pictures: The leading photo is my writing desk, included among them, a green little zombie plush from the Squishmallow series. The screenshot in the middle and below is from NamedGhost’s DayZ stream. Not the best inventory example, but that’s up to you to explore further.
Written On: 2020 September 15 [9am to “my apartment-mansion” at 9:25am then from 9:56pm to 10:14pm]
Last Edited: 2020 September 15 [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.