[Moving Zeal] Limited Inventory Systems

I’ve always been frustrated when games like EarthBound have limited inventories. I want to carry more than 99 widgets! Through this process of downsizing my possessions, so that when I move I can perhaps consider a studio apartment in the city, I’ve realized the elegance of this mechanic. It forces you to be strategic! Use items when you need them and discard junk. They are micro-simulators for reducing the physical and mental clutter in our lives.

This idea popped up when addressing my professional and casual wardrobes.

The main difference here is that my professional wardrobe consists of over a dozen white dress shirts and the effort to appear more presentable. As I burn off more weight, I will, perhaps, concern myself more with building a stylish wardrobe, but aesthetics have always been secondary to function for me, so I’m doubtful I’ll suddenly become a fashion expert.

Let’s focus on exploring the clutter within our casual wardrobes, then.

I’ve gone from growing up wearing plain shirts to wearing shirts with any generic graphics generally representing something to perhaps exclusively black concert shirts. I have some shirts in other colors, but if possible, it should be black. Through a reckless sense of collecting cool compositions, I now own of too many cooly-designed shirts to ever wear.

As of this writing, I have 79 concert shirts hanging up in my closets.

If you thought that number was excessive, just wait! There are 4 more shirts that have duplicate designs, just because I liked the design enough, or wanted to support the band some more. This number also excludes shirts for bands I’ve become disinterested in, which is probably about 2-5 more? And, we’re not even including other shirts I own, such as Seattle Indies swag.

Then, I thought, what’s my ‘inventory limit’ for concert shirts? 99? 50?

How many of these shirts will I still be wearing in 5 years? Let’s assume my tastes don’t change significantly. I tested a handful of generic graphic shirts, then with shirts featuring perhaps PG-13+ material. I found generally they held up well to repeated washes, and the ones that don’t may get filtered out quicker, so I can safely give the answer “at least most.”

How about my overall bandwidth for getting new concert/other shirts?

William, aka the Keyboard Kommander, keeps a strict ‘inventory’ system. “Whenever I’m considering whether I want to buy something, I’ll really think about it. I’ll consider it deeply and think about everything I own.[1]” That meticulous consideration prevents his living arrangement and his extensive wardrobe of diverse clothing from getting too cluttered.

Applying this concept does mean I’m much more decisive when it comes to purchases.

During some recent shows, I saw some cool designs that years ago I would have gladly added to the concert shirt collection. They met all the criteria:

  1. Cool (enough) compositions.
  2. Supports the music I enjoy.
  3. Adds to this sense: “I own X shirts, therefore, I’ve seen them X times.”

I did not buy any of them… Limited inventories aren’t so bad.

Endtable:
Quotes: [1] Expanded further, with some of the methodologies explained in-line, William is not at all impaired by his limited inventory system. Also, hearty hellos to friends of William that stopped by from his Facebook. Hope you enjoyed the read!
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Not sure. The introductory paragraph just popped into my head with such force that it kicked out a short story I was planning to write.
Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.
– If you’re interested in other essays that use videogames to tell grander stories, check out tim roger’s material. Everything from his Found in Translation videos, commenting on the translation of Final Fantasy 7, to his 10,000+-word review of EarthBound is outstanding.
– For shorter essay like mine, read “The things we carry.”
Picture: EarthBound’s inventory menu with text from the title to give it thematic weight.
Written On: November 21st [1 hour]
Last Edited: November 23rd [minor edits]
My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)