I have four TMNT shirts that I haven’t worn since before I moved from my previous residence. None of these are mementos or hold any significant value to me other than presenting a design of a concept that I enjoy. Since my spine surgery and during the recovery process, I’ve been deciding what I can downsize, and three of these shirts are in a box that’s ready to go on my next thrift store adventure.
I’ve struggled over the years with detaching from objects like these.
Either seldom worn or sometimes never worn objects hold this sense of regret. The gray shirt that’s at the top of this pile – it’s clean, I swear, the flash just brings out uglier tones, I guess – is one that I wore on occasion over the years, but now, I’ve grown away from. I took a photo of it as part of the downsizing process. If I ever feel a sense of regret toward donating this particular object, I can always hunt down a similar one. The red shirt underneath it is one that I never actually wore, but had considered; isn’t that more regretful to part ways with something like that?
In my current mindset, I have no regrets about donating any of these shirts.
For some, there is a sort of ‘quickly ripping off the bandage’ approach to downsizing possessions, and not because of necessities like needing to move immediately. It takes time and energy to assess every item that you take from being a functional object, and for an analogy to games like Minecraft, crafting those items into a new item: a box to donate. I’m starting to learn to appreciate this process now. I started with shirts because they’re lightweight and helps me change up my wardrobe with old shirts I’d like to wear again, while also deciding which shirts I can donate. There are probably six or seven shirts in this box. I took photos of the ones that held more memories, and the ones that didn’t, well, they took up no space in my mind.
My mind needs to meander through these thoughts before it’s comfortable donating things.
I grew up surrounded by clutter. I never cleaned up my childhood room. The new would just pile atop the old, and I share that here, reluctantly perhaps, but I don’t think I’m a particularly outlandish example. I suspect that with the rise in automation and entertainment options, increasingly more people became able to acquire more with less friction – such as disposable income or storage space, which let me grow up around clutter and get into this mentality that has led to me writing as many essays as I have about trying to do what others might do naturally.
I give the rise in the popularity of storage units as another example.
If they’re not used for immediate or long-term transportation of possessions from one property to another, then why hold onto those objects? There are many edge-case exceptions that might contradict my example here, but I’m speaking more from a general perspective, where the storage unit would be the equivalent of having another bedroom added onto a home or apartment to store things. I speak from personal experience here because my apartment-mansion is a two-bedroom apartment where the second bedroom has shelving units lining the walls, filling the center, and there’s one “aisle” that’s completely blocked off due to more boxes that I haven’t unpacked from the move nearly two years ago.
Why hold onto all of this stuff?
I’ve been making a habit of going into this room at least once a day now for one of two reasons: either to turn the fan on to oscillate air in the room or to remove one object. It can be a shirt or something more substantial, but one item needs to be removed, and unless there’s a purpose for putting items back in, I shouldn’t bring items back in. The items I’ll be focusing on downsizing over the next few weeks, especially, will be the lightest objects that I can easily move around while my spine still recovers. I also want to clear out some of the clutter that had accumulated in the dining/living room – these were projects that I was working on more intently before my spine problems. With the context of nearly six months of looking without being able to act, I haven’t quite come up with master gameplans for everything, but I’m certainly much more willing to part ways with some objects than before.
I’m more willing to downsize over sell objects now, too.
Before I started writing this essay, I thought about whether I wanted to start doing local sales again. My mind will act to deceive me in overvaluing items. It might say that if only I am patient, then I could sell these shirts for a few dollars. That may be true, but it’s a harmful mentality to get into for low-dollar items. I would prefer to spend the time – and remember, time is money – of posting the ad, waiting for a response, meeting the person, dealing with any situation that might arise from meeting to scheduling to driving, before I could get the amount of money. If that were all recreation for me, sure, that’d be a fun way to spend some time and get some money.
Downsizing Zeal, in a sense, is me coming to terms with my addiction to materialism.
Those who don’t have this tendency might wear a shirt once, decide they dislike it, and donate it or throw it away. It would be the equivalent to using some tissue and throwing it in the trash. I don’t consider how I could have reused a tissue from last week, but these shirts? It took me one month of consideration to downsize those four TMNT shirts down to one remaining shirt. It wasn’t active consideration that took hours of time.
But still, I think writing about these experiences can be valuable.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I wrote the introductory part on a whim after I found the four TMNT shirts and decided I didn’t need them. Up until shortly before writing this essay, I left one shirt out to decide if I wanted to wear it. I like TMNT, don’t get me wrong, but I consider wearing a shirt advertising something to be a personal extension of yourself.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photo: Top of the box before I put in that last shirt.|
|Written On: 2020 August 23 [Written at around 5:41pm: “I have 4 TMNT shirts that I haven’t worn since before I moved from my previous residence. None of these are mementos or hold any significant value to me other than presenting a design of a concept that I enjoy.”] September 28 [8:46pm to 9:16pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 September 28 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|