After over twelve weeks of addressing clutter in all areas of my life, I have to learn to get used to empty [shelf] space. Even three months ago, I couldn’t leave any surface without something to fill or clutter it, yet now, I almost struggle to fill the shelves with stuff. I will probably half-fill this plastic shelving unit I cleared off over the next few days, but it’s not the urgent rush it’s been.
It’s nice walking around now.
Just today, I cleared out a self-made obstacle in my kitchen between the dining room and refrigerator, and in the time or two since moving it, I’ve still instinctively moved my foot in the way needed to avoid banging my toe. It’s weird how often we will cause our own downfalls, whether small like this decluttering project or larger, which is why I’ve gone through such lengths to write and document this process.
I never considered myself a hoarder.
‘I just had a bunch of stuff,’ I would justify to myself and ‘just a bit of a mess,’ as I would do the clutter dance to get over to certain shelves or areas. It’s not that I was disinterested in the stuff I had buried behind layers of clutter. Almost everything was inaccessible to some degree. I’m airing out my first-world embarrassments here out loud, in the public eye, because to do so means that it will no longer hold power over me quite as strongly. I will still buy things, probably even things I won’t obsess over or use to its full potential, and that’s OK.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully get rid of everything.
Certainly not the pictures. No matter if they’re digitized and triplicated, I still will value the originals. Some objects, like childhood toys, cannot really be replaced. Besides, if they reliably bring back positive memories or feelings, then, aren’t they worth keeping? So there will always be stuff around, and no matter how few possessions I have, I will still have possessions.
Might as well be your favorites, right?
Perhaps the problem with overabundance is that you normalize to it too quickly. It was easier for me to see some object on my shelf and appreciate rather than actually interact with it. In that way, rather than say reading one or three books, I could have a shelf of one or three hundred books. That must certainly be better, right? It would if the knowledge could be transferred automatically. Since they’re not, I’ve found that when I’ve spent more time with certain things, like books, there will be a brief surge of new books I’ll want to buy, but then after a day or two of brainstorming, I’ll feel more inclined to donate the books that I don’t feel like ever reading.
If you had told me that three months ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.
I’m happier now having one main book I’m reading, and two on the side, than three-hundred forever unread.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I’ve been writing in the evenings to abstractly summarize the work I’ve done in packing each day. On most days, I’ll think of something to write in the early afternoon, ruminate on that thought, and by the time 10PM rolls around, I’ll write for a bit and call it done. This was more of a last minute topic and I just sort of wandered around the topic, but I enjoyed the learning process of writing to the conclusion. Why own things you’ll never enjoy?|
|Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.|
|Photo: Intentionally artistic shot.|
|Written On: February 17th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|