The Stuff in my Life

23 Jan


Well, I’m counting my possessions again. I wasn’t going to, but that was because I had too much to count; now I don’t. If you’re wondering why the hell anyone would want to do such a thing, click on the above link or read all about this “movement” called minimalism. In as few words as possible, for me, it’s taking a stand against rampant consumerism, one thing that’s messing up the planet. If you’re skeptical about going to the extreme of counting your stuff, I get it. In a way, it’s totally pointless for me to do this because I live with three other people. I live with their crap too.

The kids want to keep every scribbled on piece of paper and every little rock they pick up. Last May, Chloe packed away a big box of her 6th grade work. I’m all for keeping the best of the best, but a big box for each grade? No way. Maybe I’ll get rid of the 6th grade box when she packs up a new box this Spring.

And Jennifer just took over one of my closet drawers. An ongoing concern is that as my junk recedes, she’ll fill the void–erase my gains–with that insidious need some of us have to fill in the empty gaps of our lives.

But still it feels good. Feels light. Liberating. Over the years my neurotic obsession with blank journals and notebooks of all sizes had manifested itself on a cheap snap-together shelf to the left of my office computer. This was the closest thing in my life you could call a collection. I’m not a collector, obviously, so I jettisoned several of the notebooks regardless of where they came from or how new they were. My rate of acquisition has been greater than the speed in which I would fill the pages. Like I said, liberating as hell.

This “challenge” will force me to examine every single item in my life. Another example: I’m not into jewelry, but I’ve had this thumb ring in my life for years. I would look at it once in awhile. I’d move it around the house, not sure of the best place to keep it. I’d pick it up, slide it on each thumb–marvel at the way it fit one thumb perfectly and hung loosely from the other–and then I’d put it back down. This weekend, looking at it like a “minimalist,” I decided to get rid of it. It wasn’t adding a damn thing to my life, except a tiny amount of guilt for never using something I paid money for.

Even today (last example, I swear) I’m wearing a light brown pair of Old Navy pants that are going into the Goodwill pile tonight. I’ve never been big on brown pants. When I’m in my favorite blue jeans, I don’t think about my pants. When I’m wearing this brown pair, I’ll be busy with something else and I’ll glance down and think “Oh, I’m wearing brown pants today.”

The end result of all this will be living in a house that has barely a sign of a fourth person living in it. And I know, most people need–or think they need–to live with a certain amount of stuff to feel secure, to feel alive. I think it’s time to get past that nonsense. You’ll find no “man cave” in our basement with pennants and old trophies and other memorabilia lining shelves and walls. You’ll see no golf clubs, kayaks, guns, or deer heads. No high school letter jacket in the closet. No magazine stacks.

An incredibly cluttered "man cave"

An incredibly cluttered “man cave”

Life is simple these days. I have my family, my Kindle, my running shoes, my laptop, and my bicycles. My days are filled with reading, writing, thinking, learning, running, walking the dogs, pedaling, and experiencing the ups and downs of two growing girls. And food! I can’t omit food from this list, for I spend so much time buying, slicing, dicing, sorting, and on and on. The battle to get whole, natural foods into those girls is as important as anything else in this paragraph.

Oh, and I thought my old blog was gone, but it’s still hanging around here. My last post was April of 2009.

One Response to “The Stuff in my Life”


  1. Does One Guy Need Ten Plaid Shirts? | plum bananas - March 8, 2013

    […] you’re new here and wondering what the hell the following numbers are for, go here or check out the minimalism […]

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