I try to own as few possessions as possible because too much, “stuff,” mucks with my mental health.
Stress manifests when thoughts are scattered, indecisive, or unfocused. It’s a lack of control over thoughts, emotions and actions.
A book, a hammer or a blanket, all serve some purpose. Possessions should be tools.
Even art is a tool if it serves your intellect.
To avoid stress, I limit my possessions. But still in a moment of laziness I leave a dish in the sink, a shoe in the hallway, a book on the bed. I decide to do laundry, “tomorrow,” and then while preparing for some ritual I look around and think, “what a fucking mess.” My thoughts scatter and dwell on various personal short-comings, failures and insecurities.
So I clean it up.
In that hour of chores I look at my computer and curse myself for being so unproductive. I should have a maid for this, I think. But cleaning is sort of relaxing. It gives me a sense of purpose. So there is a reason for existing…to organize things.
My shelves are full so books are piled on my floor. My “junk” drawer is stuffed with “useful” items that I rarely use. I have a few old laptops, a printer with no ink, clothing I never wear.
I’m supposed to be a minimalist. How did this happen? It’s because humans are accumulating machines. We love to collect stuff.
It’s time for a purge. Clean house, clean mind.
There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth. Leo Tolstoy.
I remember helping my girlfriend and her roommate move into an apartment, and the roommate had enough crap to fill a museum. Four end-tables, enough clothing to costume a circus, fifteen chairs, and and endless supply of boxed crap. Most of which we moved to storage.
When I asked why a 22 year old needed to pack around all this stuff, her justification was basically, nostalgia, and, “Just in case.”
That 150 pound desk was a family heirloom. Sure it would be worth $100 on Craigslist, but she couldn’t be rid of it because her grandmother’s ghost would be devastated. And one day she might need it.
Women aren’t the only gender inclined to irrational hoarding. My male friend is a small level hoarder. Both of his parents sadly passed away the same year, and he inherited all of their junk. His apartment is full of ancient furniture, gaudy artwork, taxidermy, broken guitars and tools, and old boots. He has seven pots, nineteen cups, two tea sets, six frying pans, three couches. And when I ask him why he doesn’t rid himself of this burden his justification is, “remembrance,” which is basically nostalgia. That’s fine, but I will be mysteriously sick or out of town come his next moving day.
It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly. Bertrand Russell.
I have no possessions I couldn’t do without. Even my laptop, which allows me to work. If I really needed to, I could find a pen and paper, I could go to the library. Even my clothing; if I was desperate for protection from the elements I could go to the salvation army, or call friends and accept charity.
Not that I don’t like my 46” tv, $800 mountain bike, my $150 leather boots, designer multi-vitamins, and king sized bed. But if it was all stolen, I might cry for a day or two, and then it would feel like shedding a great load of flab.
Organization is the productive man’s playground.
All you really need are your tools: the things that help make you money, help you feed yourself, or protect you and your loved ones from the elements.
Spring is here, so it’s about time to purge. Dispose of everything you haven’t used in a year or more. Clean your house, and you will clean your mind. Give it away, and be grateful for how little you need to thrive and be happy.