A book by the dude from Clean Sweep, a show on TLC I haven’t seen in three years. Peter Walsh is his name. He’s great. Very convincing.
Here’s the thing; I cannot let go of stuff. I love cool stuff, or, I love things that remind me of something deemed worth remembering. So, as I’m sure many of you reading this are with me, what do we do? We get the thing (a ticket from a concert or Broadway play, a wedding giveaway, a map from a vacation spot you loved) and we…drumroll…put it in a Rubbermaid bin and stick it in a corner, or a closet, or a crawlspace.
Perfect! What a great way to honour this thing you felt was too important to recycle, or NOT BUY IN THE FIRST PLACE! I think when these actions are put into some kind of perspective, we get the sense that this is a very dumb way to go about collecting/honouring the few things we actually appreciate.
For instance, my father has given me some stuff from when he was in the American Air Force. Did I put it on a mantle with his military name tag, maybe a photo of him in his uniform? No, it’s in a desk drawer somewhere. Obviously, this is VERY special to me.
Facetious today, I know.
Within the pages of this book are the keys to realizing why we get attached to things, and why we SHOULD or should not be connected to them. And this book was a perfect thing for me to pick up. Kevin Kelly had recommended it, and subsequently, Merlin Mann had given it a thumbs up. I have an insatiable appetite for keeping stuff I shouldn’t.
On top of that, my wife also likes to keep EVERYTHING! Clothing, shoes, purses, lamps, receipts, picture frames, obsolete kitchen gear, and more. Between the two of us, we are buried in junk that we don’t really appreciate or use. It’s better defined as “clutter” rather than the image some people get of hoarders, stumbling through shabby shacks full of abused pets. We just can’t find things when we look for them (generally speaking) because we don’t have a “place” for things. Scotch tape could be anywhere at any given time. Why is this? Wouldn’t it be good to know where the Scotch tape is, whenever it isn’t in use? Sure it would! But the drawer that could be holding Scotch tape is being inhabited by the hobo batteries, listless glues, and wayward screws. This crap needs to go, or it needs to stay somewhere that it can be retrieved.
This has been the change.
Between the two of us, we have set aside mountains of stuff we are purging from our lives. We will be trying to sell these things at a yard sale soon. If they don’t sell, they go to the Sally Anne (St. Vincent De Paul or Salvation Army). Simple as that. They have been placed in these bins and boxes, and almost the action of finally letting the object slip through my fingers, or flitter away to the bottom of an already overstuffed bin makes the connection sever. Disconnect. Goodbye.
It feels so liberating! The rooms are already looking like the purpose they were meant for, which is one of the things Walsh suggests. Rooms need to provide the function you want them to provide. When they are overrun by things that are preventing that function, there needs to be a change.
If you’re afraid to invite company over to your house/apartment/hovel, then you are in the same position we were in, and you likely need to decide, “Do I want to live like this? Is this stuff helping me become/exist as the person I yearn to be?”
I am so pleased to see this stuff go! The books alone! I have so many books that I will never read again, and that I will never read for the first time because there are more current, more championed books that have been released in recent time.
I’m extremely proud of Jhoan for letting go of many objects that we had been holding for several years, and I am equally proud of myself for making the same decisions. Deciding to make room in my home, my brain, and my heart for better things. For things becoming of my ideal view of life. Our ideal view. Room for the joy of freedom from things.