I don’t care about half the stuff I own. Sure, I enjoy observing particular items, interacting with action figures, or listening to albums. It’s just now we’re living in a society where photos of items can immediately be retrieved autonomously, action figures can either be repurchased easily or viewed in dynamic photographs, and albums are available for legal streaming. The message is no longer confined to the medium. Is the only problem purging that pesky 50%?
Clutter derives from misplaced desire.
Years ago, if I wasn’t feeling particularly content with my day or life, I’d go thrifting. I’d explore myriad items and would often come home with something either through a desire to want to add to any of my myriad collections or our of a misplaced moral obligation to the object. What if this thing gets destroyed? Tomfoolery thinking led me to purchase products that now draw dust.
What to keep? What to sell? What to trash?
Addressing these questions in the weeds of the collections won’t solve the issue. “Should I keep this NES game or this TMNT action figure?” These are valuable questions after addressing the bigger issue: “Should I still collect NES games or TMNT action figures?” I subconsciously already know the answers to these questions. Both of these were objects that have sentimental sacrality.
Childhood objects should be mostly preserved.
Unless the object no longer carries the message. Even if you were to repurchase the characters your childhood self once purchased from, say, the local Toys R Us on a hot summer afternoon after a ride around with the parents and siblings, they wouldn’t be those exact ones with those exact memories. Those time-traveling objects and collections are the ones you should keep.
Objects without sentimentality should go.
They play into “the shoulda-woulda-coulda game” of regret that weighs us down in our attempts at exploration more than they should. We should be free to try out things to an innocent degree. If our experiments don’t give us pleasure, or have an inherent reward that is better or equal to the amount of time we’ve invested, we should scrap them without much emotional investment.
Recycling some project hardware was an easy first step in this process.
These older printers and half-working computers were things I’d thought about building my life around. There was a romantic notion of fixing and maintaining hardware on the side along with my identity as a modern technical support repair technician. Around the time I scrapped my technical support side-business, I scrapped the romance of that lifestyle, and until recently they were just regrets.
Now I’ve reached a point where it’s becoming harder.
This might be where my scatterbrain divvies up the work: if I can’t address the older hardware at this point, move onto something else to declutter in the meantime, to free up the physical space and mental fortitude to keep reducing items that I don’t want but don’t want to give up either… it’s a weird thing. Hopefully, once I move, I’ll have addressed the subconscious stress.
My next project might be tackling my VHS collection.
Unlike my NES collection which is currently hogging up my sorting station because it requires a certain level of effort to clean, test, and consider, my VHS collection comes down to this: what 20% do I want to keep? Ideally, the remaining 80% shouldn’t be dumped into a dumpster, but if the thrift store I drop the tapes off at does this, is that my obligation to obsess over? Not really.
It’s just a matter of deciding how much effort I want to put into that project. Just like any collection, if I had 200 tapes and reduced that number down to 40 tapes (rare, sentimental, oddities,) if the remaining 160 tapes went in bulk to one collector or company, then that’d be that. Let them parse through for the rare tapes. I could reallocate that time to write, edit, publish, or, do something else.
I think I’ll donate them on craigslist.
When I post the tapes and other items I’m parsing out of my collections to sell or donate, I’ll post in the ad something about how these items are part of a writing project and that the person with the best pitch will get the loot. These will become entries in the Thrifting Adventures column. I still owe it to the guy that gave away all of his punk/metal cassettes to do a proper collection assessment.
That should acquiesce that concern over disposals.
With the VHS tapes addressed, I’ll have more room to shuffle around the older computers I might still want to try out, the experience of having sold/donated the tapes to do the same for the computer equipment, and condense the keepers/testers into an area where I can actually do so methodically. Ideally, it should be a revolving door of prep, set-up, test, then keep or prepare to sell/donate.
This process should help me address bigger collections.
What action figures collections do I want to keep? I have the most attachment to my childhood GI Joe and X-Men series, so those should stay above all else. The collections that were just easy to amass because they were on clearance and don’t have much sentimentality, having already donated or sold bulk collections on craigslist will help me later sell the rarer items individually.
That was brainstorming through my “50% off” plan.
I’m not interested in wasting time with a garage sale selling stuff because it won’t address the root issue of why I over-collect. It’s for the experience of interacting with the object, on display or as part of a storytelling photograph, with a long-term materialism value inherent to owning the object. Selling these items this way, with some effort, will impact my time the least, with just minutes or hours on occasion, and will hopefully yield interesting content to write about, which might have been the real reason I collected:
To have stuff that had stories to re-tell later.
|Sources: My thrifting adventures.|
|Inspirations: I wanted to explore why I collect what I do through practical topics. By not only addressing the “why,” but the practicality of disengaging from the compulsion of collecting, I think it worked. I’ve seen too many things wholesale dumped off at thrift stores that must have been some collector purging their collection. I know that if I do this, I’ll be filled with regret and would later re-buy others and more.|
|Related: Other Moving Zeal entries.|
|Photo: A thrift store’s cart.|
|Written On: September 10th [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: September 10th [0 minutes]|