An uncluttered thought or two


Yesterday the library was closed in observance of Independence Day, and I have been using the time to get a little closer to my minimalist goals. This is a constant undertaking, an intermittent weekend project. Although I am frequently given pause by the thought of how much else I have to do — how far away it seems I am from my goal of a clutter-free life —  my memory is good enough to give me perspective. I  can compare what is now with what was two years ago, and in that comparison I find much progress.  So I press on!

When I approach an impasse, when I encounter items that I know I don’t want to hold on to forever, but what I cannot prompt myself to do away with just yet, I asked myself a question. It’s something of a meditation.  If worse came to worse and I lost everything I owned, save for the clothes on my back,  what would I seek to restore? What clothing, what books and DVDs?  What tools?     This question always throws light on a subject for me, because it makes me realize that I can live without the thing in question.     It gives me hope for the future, too,  because when I ask the question the answer in the back of my mind always surprises me:  astonishingly little.   In the last year I’ve drastically reduced my wardrobe and found that a boon to my daily routine, for instance, and these days I almost always give away the books I buy, and I steadily chip away at my book, CD, DVD, and game disc collections.    I can see myself at peace — one day.  The question is more interesting on a deeper level, too….stripped of of all our things and the sense of security they provide,  how would we cope as individuals? Do we find our meaning in the things we possess?  That was one of the largest burdens for me in attacking my book collection, because I was so proud of my enormous library and the variety of subjects it contained. It was a monument to vanity. Now  it’s just my TBR pile  that serves that function, doing double-duty as a monument to my gluttony as well…!

Anyhoo, enough rambling. Review to come for Clutter Free tomorrow.


About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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5 Responses to An uncluttered thought or two

  1. Mudpuddle says:

    i’ve not been able to do that, altho the mrs. periodically tries to enlist me into a major clean out… but i’m just wedged down in my morass of literary paraphernalia and just want to wallow around in it… i admire those who can pare but i just need all my stuff: everything from thousands of books to lots of tools ( i work on bikes a lot) for every conceivable emergency. the only thing i don’t have much of is clothes, but i never go anywhere except on bike rides, so who cares… oh well, each to his own, altho some are more impressive than others (like mine)… happy fourth, which doesn’t seem happening very much around here; quiet as the proverbial…

    • It’s also quiet here, at least for now…there’s usually a bit around midnight on the 3rd because people are ..confused. I didn’t see any of the usual fireworks places open today.

      One challenge I have is balancing minimalism with emergency prep, as you allude to. There’s a motto in the prepper community…”Two is one and one is none”. Big emphasize on redundancy!

  2. Marian says:

    This is a great process you’re going through. I’m trying to do the same thing in anticipation of possible moving, and also with any new items I order, really trying to pare it down to the actual essentials/consumables. Another question that comes up is, have I even *thought* about this thing in the last 1-2 years? and if not, why?

    Happy 4th! I’m hoping to see some fireworks in the neighborhood, but it’s pretty quiet here, too. I had to listen to some Sousa marches for a bit of excitement. 😆

    • It can be a sad procress sometimes, to see what we waste. I have a multifunction audio player, for instance, which can play records, cassette tapes, CDs, and mp3 files as well as picking up AM/FM. I’ve used it in the last five years to listen to a couple of cassette tapes from my closet (radio broadcasts from summer 1999 or so), annnnd that’s about it. A $100 gift to myself that just wasted money. :-/

      My neighbors finally woke up late in the evening and were frightening all the dogs hereabouts for hours after that!

      • Marian says:

        Yeah, same here. I’ve been trying to adopt a “cost per use/wear” mentality, and it helps, but since starting to work from home (pre-covid), some of that cost has gone up due to lifestyle change, so it just becomes a best guesstimate for the next 6 months.

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