[Downsizing Zeal] Trash Versus Donations

What happens to all those miscellaneous drawers after a move? Do you dump them into boxes and procrastinate on addressing them until you need something? As I sorted through one such box of office supplies, I wondered: Are rubber bands trash or donatable? My mind flashed to the donation handlers at some thrift store somewhere, as I emptied their trash bins for probably the twentieth time on my shift, bagging up almost anything to sell.

Trash it if it’s obviously trash.

Crusty rubber bands and broken office supplies won’t have much of a use for thrift stores making a premium on your charity, or the employees earning minimal wage, so if we’re going to make this cycle of donations work, there has to be a certain minimum threshold for quality. I donate anything I couldn’t imagine selling for under $10, unless I know someone that might want to buy it, and I trash anything that I know can’t be reused.

Donation handlers can bag up basically anything and sell it for a dollar.

They’d trash many things and when I’d look in the bins, the trash was stuff everyone could generally agree was trash. Sure, weighing down boxes with trash helps the initial daily/monthly weigh-in goals, where each department aims for a certain minimum amount to prove to their corporate overlords that they’re being productive, but those metrics only work if the donations aren’t garbage. Otherwise, they start downsizing people.

That’s why we should donate responsibly.

My process for reducing the likelihood of clutter clogging up my life is exemplified in the photograph above: A sort-through box is on the left, another box with things to address is on the right, and the table is nearly cluttered with assorted objects. I’m listening to Let’s Mosey through a headphone cable that could reach my donation box and trash can. The final step: Everything I didn’t donate or trash went back into the box for later.

Not ideal, although it minimizes miscellaneous messes.

After today’s downsizing session, I freed up a few shelves of space. After I’m done writing this essay, I’ll pack up another shelf that has miscellaneous materials clogging it, and call today’s efforts good. Although it’s more ideal to donate donate-ables, trash trash-ables, and keep keepable items, it’s hard to parse through everything at once. My objective is a steady downsizing descent rather than a possession purge of anything or everything.

I’m only casually looking at apartments now.

It’s important to establish these sorts of criteria for yourself when deciding whether to trash, donate, or sell items that you don’t care about. While I think we’d all like to earn money selling spare items, selling junk just doesn’t seem efficient. I know I’ll get more money from working any average job than trying to learn how to sell random junk to random people and saving the gamble of possibly earning a profit by just not buying superfluously.

I’m saving that sales energy for selling higher profit items and my writing.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Some of my other listening today was about earning money, which isn’t through donating things, but I am firmly in a financial downwind until I get into a cheaper, quieter, or closer apartment that has less stuff distracting me and I start earning money writing. I could probably find ways to earn money today, but that former part is what’s impeding that progress. As long as boxes clutter the hallway, as long as I look around and see plethoric junk that doesn’t inspire me to work harder, I am trapped. It’s innocent enough, but let me expound on my thoughts on this, since it provides relevant context for why I’m not focusing on creative writing or really anything else, I suppose. I’ve been in a rut this week, my last week off work for hopefully the perceivable future. By the time this essay publishes, if things go well, I’ll have been employed for a few months. The past few months I’ve had off have centered around building positive habits including being OK with donating things and figuring out good workflows for doing that. My downsizing rack consists of many small boxes, which I can casually browse through if I have five minutes where I’m not preoccupied with writing my dailies here or any larger project elsewhere, which I can apply to a routine when I get home from work. I imagine the schedule will look like this: wake up, drink coffee, wake up to maybe some reading or watching of something, getting ready for work, working, arriving home from either the gym or elsewhere, and with the time I have in the evening, briefly look through a box of things, edit, write if I wasn’t able to find time throughout the day, and conclude my evening early enough where I’m not fatigued the next day. It will be important for me to maintain this work/life balance throughout my probationary period and beyond because even though this job will end years of contracting and hopefully be fulfilling enough for me in terms of employment, benefits, and other sorts of full-time, long-term profits, I’ve learned through writing for Better Zombie over nearly three years that I’m most interested in writing, and everything that impedes my ability to write is objectively not good. As much as it’d be nice to work and retire as a humble salaryman for some company, without the friction of looking for work, and only publishing when I feel like it, that will only work for so long. There is a deeply profound need inside of me to do more than that. I experienced this unrest just before my third year of employment – and my longest to date – along with during my second-longest employment to date. Maybe it’s boredom? Maybe it’s not finding the right balance between the boredom of corporate living and the excitement of private living? Nearing 500 words into this aside, this is the part wherein I realize my concern: during that previous mindset, where I wrote “Quit Your Job,” just before striking it out on my own as a contractor, earning roughly half the amount of money I did before, but earning roughly twice the amount of free time to cultivate my writing, I couldn’t handle the downtime at work. That was a big stress on my life. Over the years, I’ve stolen many hours of corporate time either brainstorming or writing. It’s not something I’m overly proud of because I do like the idea of having every dollar in my paycheck be for work that I’ve earned fairly, but there’s a certain amount of downtime that just happens, and why not use that time to fulfill my daily obligations towards improving my writing craft? I don’t work for any of those companies anymore. No one caught on. I wasn’t fired for writing anything on the clock, and at one contract, doing so made me look more productive. Let me repeat that again for clarity and emphasis. Because I’ve learned to write in chunks in formats that appear similar to actual work – I’ve written some essays in emails, others in my notepad I’ll have open to take notes during calls – management has seen my writing as an asset. They hear my thunderous clamoring on chiclet keys, guaranteed to be louder than any mechanical typist, and these managers from an era that value perceived productivity rather than quantifiable work just glance upon my screen with the careless judgment of looking for reddit and social procrastination sites rather than looking at the contents. If they saw that I was actually writing fiction or essays on self-improvement, I probably would have left those jobs under different terms. So all that said, I feel more eased now that I just have a few days left before I return in earnest to employment – other than those four days I worked that I don’t bring up to future employers – for the first time in nearly six months. I know that if I can only exchange some of the barbs in my soul toward wasting time to learning some corporate concepts, helping others through problems, and being a good corporate lapdog, I will have the financial stability I need to ease myself into better living. This will be good for my downsizing process. The time spent in traffic twice daily will remind me of why I want to move out. I’ll sit down after a long day of work and traffic to see objects that subtly impair my progress. Although I’ll only have one, maybe three, hours to invest per evening on downsizing, editing, or writing, that time friction is usually more useful for me than not. I just have to pace myself. There are time thieves everywhere. People or ideas that linger longer than needed. They’ll borrow a half hour to tell you nothing. They’ll accidentally exhaust you. The more you know about yourself, the more likely you can assess your days and weeks and invest your time wisely. The past four days since my weekend away have been mainly spent procrastinating. I haven’t felt motivated to do anything, from writing my dailies, writing my current big project, editing my backburner projects, to organizing my apartment-mansion. I briefly thought of spending today to drive out to a place for location scouting for “The Story,” but the problem with that was it was just an idle thought for a project that I can’t tend to right now. Before I can write about John and Trishna, with the location scouting spot specifically being an outing during the College Arc to a bookstore and surrounding areas, I need to clear out some of the projects that are impeding my process toward that goal. I still have much to learn about writing, from the actual mechanics of writing in terms of composition and structure, to learning the discipline required to write even on days or weeks like this where my interest has been minimal. Writing this aside, which was me clearing out the junk from my mind, was helpful. Now it’s time to return to my big project to close it out tonight. I made a second pot of coffee tonight to help me focus on actualizing that project’s completion. Tonight, I will finish it to the best of my ability, no matter how long it takes, and I will shop it around to my editors and readers to take their precursory glances and critical assessments tomorrow so that I may publish it within a reasonable amount of time. This also marks the last major project I’ll be able to do in a while, which might have been why I procrastinated on it. I won’t have an entire week off to work on one project like this for a while. If only I had developed more skills for retaining motivation and follow-through throughout these past few months I’ve been unemployed. Hopefully, I will learn and relearn those skills when I return to full-time employment, so the next time I’m unemployed from career work, it will be because I’ll be writing full-time for more money than I would earn in a career, earning a steady salary. If not, then I will continue to hone this writing craft for as many years as it takes. Throughout these nearly 2,000 words now, I believe I have explored depths of my psyche that have helped me learn more about myself and grow as a human being. Hopefully, they’ve helped you, too. If not, then consider this an experiment in concentration, which I needed to return to in order to complete this longer project I’ve been procrastinating on finishing. It might have just been easier for me not to look deep inside myself to realize that I was fearful of a future where I might sweep away my personality. That won’t happen. Honest.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.
Photo: Ever stop improving?
Written On: May 16th. 30-some minutes for the main essay and probably 45 minutes for this endtable dissertation on the nature of my reality.
Last Edited: 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.