There are myriad downsizing constructs like “one in, one out” that logically make sense, but don’t address the roots of clutter: An overattachment to objects that might have initially made us happy but no longer do. My concert shirt collection is broken into three categories: Frequently worn indoors, occasionally worn outdoors, and seldom worn outdoors. I stopped splurging on new shirts about six months ago. I’m more critical now, which meant one in… three out.
The one shirt added in was a Gogol Bordello shirt.
I wore one of the shirts going out while at the show and it just didn’t feel right anymore. There are times when you wear or interact with something where you just don’t like it much anymore. I still like the band on that shirt, but not as much. So that shirt, after I washed it, and a few more others in its ilk will either go in the donation bin or maybe boxed away until I find a use for them other than seldomly wearing them, if ever again.
The intention of “one in, one out” is fine enough.
Replacing one object in your collection with something else is fine. My problem with this idea is that it’s not addressing the root question: Why do you not like this collection as much as a whole? If you enjoy collecting concert shirts, why would you get rid of any of them? I used to collect these shirts recklessly, like everything else I collected, and I was only halfway interested in all of it, but now space and money are bigger commodities.
I’ll sort and downsize based on proximity, space, and interest.
I have many things taking up space I’d like to tear apart to see what I want to keep, but those things are innocuous compared to the items currently cluttering my living room: currently, cassette tapes and computer hardware. The concert shirts, like everything else, don’t take up that much space, or have a dedicated space with no overflow, but reducing an item or two can be helpful in deciding what else to keep or donate.
Remember those three categories of concert shirts?
My “frequently worn indoors” shirts might have some potentially vulgar imagery that I could wear out to a show. My “occasionally worn outdoors” shirts are the ones I’m OK with damaging through the natural act of wearing then washing the shirts. My “seldom worn outdoors” shirts should be close to zero, because that’s just being wasteful.
I can apply that same concept to the cassettes or computer junk.
How many cassettes will I frequently listen to again? If I own them for the same reason as those “seldom worn outdoors” shirts, then it’s just wasteful, even if I like how they look.
Break down why you own what you own.
Do you own it because you kinda sorta like how it kinda looks?
Or is it something you’d wear around town, excitedly promoting to whoever you can, wherever you find yourself?
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: This downsizing project is really about assessing the roots of what I like and don’t, which I write in a way where I use my examples to help you find your own examples.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photos: Wide-angle shot and 1x shot of my concert shirt closet.|
|Written On: May 27th [45 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft for the Internet.|