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Cleaning Stuff Out and Learning from It

I’ve been all over the spectrum of living with less/minimalism my adult life. I started off with a huge burden of things and then I cut my belongings down to fit into just a couple of banker boxes at one point. Some of these decisions were made out of necessity, others by choice, but throughout the years I’ve discovered that I am happier when I own less.

There is a common misconception in minimalism that the less you own, the more you win. That’s not the case at all. I think the core belief behind minimalism is you should just own what is useful or beautiful, and then disregard the rest. Clutter just takes up room where you could be putting something useful or beautiful. It also makes moving a lot easier. 🙂

The number of possessions I’ve owned over the years has often been tied to fear. I went through a few moments of homelessness and the more you own, the harder everything is to deal with. So, I kept my belongings light, that way if I needed to dump them on a whim, I could.

But as my adult life became more stable, I found myself in a weird spot where I had more space, some extra money, and that led to more things. There were plenty of toys and gadgets, but where I most commonly struggle is in physical media. Between the issues with streaming networks and just wanting to unplug, I’ve put a lot of money into books and movies/tv series. Also, I don’t really enjoy shopping of any sort, but as a kid I loved bookstores and video stores, so anytime I have a chance to browse books or movies, I almost always walk away with something.

There is nothing wrong with this. I think a wall of books and movies you love is tremendous. The problem I have is I don’t watch/read them. I’ll buy a physical book and then download a digital copy, because I like to read before bed, with the lights off, and no book light has ever been as good as a backlit e-reader in the dark.

I tell myself I’ll watch the special features on blu-rays, but I don’t. It’s so rare for me to turn on even deleted scenes these days. I’m just not that invested, and I’d prefer to spend that time watching something else.

I also tend to buy things on an emotional level. For example: let’s say I’ve been feeling down, and I find myself looking back fondly on the past. I might find myself browsing eBay and buying up old toys/magazines/video games that I once owned. By the time the item arrives, that feeling of nostalgia has moved on and I’m left with clutter that ultimately gets donated.

I’ve wasted so much money on frivolous things. Things that brought me happiness for a moment or two. I don’t beat myself up over it, because a lot of the time I bought things to get me through a moment in time. They were helpful items to make my day just a little bit brighter, no matter how short of a time that may have been. But I realized that I have way more things than I really want right now. I want… no I need less things. I need less clutter for my mental health, and I need to get back to my old standby: if I haven’t used it in six months, it’s time to donate it.

What frustrates me is I think about things I’d like to buy: a new couch and a new Kobo, but I don’t spend the money on it because I blow $20 here or $50 there on stuff that doesn’t matter and doesn’t get near as much use as I’d hope it would.

There is a single item that sits in my living room that is really haunting me and has inspired all of this. About six months ago, the Evil Dead Groovy blu-ray set went on sale. I honestly didn’t need to spend the money on that, but it was the first time I’d see it on sale, and I really wanted it. I promised myself I’d devour every disc and revisit all the commentary tracks and I’d get my money out of it. Sure, the box looks great on the shelf, but I was going to make this purchase worthwhile.

Now, I don’t know exactly how many times I’ve seen Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, but I guess it’s 25+ each movie. I used to watch the DVD features (the same ones on this set) over and over as a teenager. And while I do love the movies and the franchise, I honestly didn’t need to buy it again (I’ve probably bought Evil Dead a dozen times over the years). But I bought it, and I enjoyed watching the wonderful 4k transfer for Evil Dead and then I watched Evil Dead 2 and again, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t walk away going, “That was so amazing.” I mean, I’ve seen these movies, arguably too many times.

I’ve tried to get myself to watch the special features, but I won’t. I barely made it through the movies, which I could have watched my digital copies of or found it streaming someplace. So, now, I have a super cool box on my shelf with a bunch of blu-rays I’ll probably never watch again. Ugh… why do I do this to myself.

This week, I’m going to spend a little time each day decluttering. That money I spent is lost, but I’m hoping I can learn from this and by writing and intentionally decluttering I can reminder myself in the future not to buy things I really don’t need or want. I might just pack up this Evil Dead box set and ship it off to the biggest Evil Dead fan I know.

Published in#WeblogPoMo2024

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