Years spent going from thrift store to garage sale to wherever else I got all this clutter led me to forget about the potential for amazing everyday experiences, ranging from seeing thousands of cherry blossoms litter this pedestrian walkway to short story ideas like a crime drama interlude taking place at a dog park. My mad dash to downsize is to hurry through all this clutter so I can explore the world, free of baggage.
I recently emptied two shelf sections; unlike months or years ago, where I’d compulsively need to fill that space with something, now I don’t have that same compulsion; it’s wonderful. The space shown below is already claimed by these boxes containing my CD collection when I can retrieve them, but I have no plans for the other space. No future tenants scheduled to move in. I’m now starting to value the freedom of empty space.
The good and bad of apartment living, as I’m being reminded, is everyone moves in or out at around the first of the month. Moving boxes are great. Rough furniture is not. There must be better solutions than apartment dumping grounds, but short of adjusting the mindset of having disposable things – income, furniture, or lifestyles – it will always happen. Thrift stores trash subpar donations, anyways, and they probably go to the same dumps…
My writing desk is a rickety end table, partially because when I bring my laptop somewhere for a day, all I really need to feel comfortable is my mousepad and mouse. In life, we tend to rely too much on many objects to make us feel at home, where, really, we just need a few casual creature comforts. Too much just gets in the way. The more we have, unintentionally, the less we overall value.
As I sat in the lobby waiting for my interviewer to arrive, I thought about how I only own one polo shirt now, and three dress shirts that aren’t white. I prefer a limited professional wardrobe. Call it laziness, or inspired by videogame characters, but I see no point in spending any effort showing myself off in various colors. Which is funny to contrast with the multitude of concert shirts I own, but there’s logic.
I didn’t feel like I made a dent even after spending nearly two hours packing. It’s frustrating because while I’ve still got time to get everything moved out, I want to be further along than I am. It’s not like writing an essay, where after a certain point, I can call it done. Let’s explore that sensory overload anxiety so I can figure out how to circumvent that before returning for another round of packing.
Junk shelves, random boxes, and “to do” lists are subtle ways to keep us organized by deferring the eventualities of cleaning. If pursuing perfection paralyzes progress, getting around to completing these cleaning tasks should just be a matter of time and interest, right? Throughout my moving process, I’ve discarded anything that doesn’t enrich my life, with some lingering questions: How many of this item’s collection do I want to keep? All or none? Maybe one?