Returning Clutter

Last week I boomerangtook all the PEZ dispensers to Goodwill. They’d been occupying three shelves in the living room. When I decided to get rid of the shelving I decided to let the toys go, too. The toys might be worth a few bucks, but I don’t want to warehouse a bunch of stuff waiting for a theoretical eBay sale.

When I take something out of here it is with the understanding that I can probably buy it again if I ever decide I need it. Nothing in this house is one-of-a-kind. Everything I have is mass-produced and replaceable.

Quite replaceable.

Ridiculously easy to replace.

It is the ready availability of things that makes it all the more important to turn off the auto-pilot. Unconscious consumption is how things end up in a shopping cart, a trunk and back in our homes. There have been several times, since I started cleaning, that I’ve been in a store, passed by something I got rid of a week before and been tempted to buy again. And I’ve even said to myself, “…I just gave one of those away.”

Stores aren’t going to help you not buy things just like drug dealers won’t help you stop using and liquor vendors won’t help you stop drinking. Having your credit cut off isn’t the answer. One can always find a way. You have to put it down and walk away.

Sometimes you have to do that…a lot.

Remember the space. It’s priceless. It’s worth more than the entire contents of your home.

Gifts: The persistent apparition of clutter

GiftsBut that was a gift from ___________!

Yeah. And there it sits.

Years go by.

I gets dusted.

It stopped being a conversation piece a couple years after you acquired it in 1982.

Four presidents ago.

But you hang onto it. Not wanting to offend the giver, whom you haven’t been in touch with in twelve years. It’s like they marked their territory by placing something in our homes.

Fear has us enslaved. We keep things that have long ceased to serve us. We’re afraid we’ll hurt feelings and so we live out our lives owned by objects. We serve them as warehouser, cataloguers, polishers and oglers.

Go work for a museum. They’ll pay you to take care of stuff. Otherwise give it one final dusting, box it up and sell it or donate it. Your space will thank you. Practice a few minutes of “I’m sorry” every month or so in case the person shows up at your door wondering why they saw their precious object in a consignment window or on eBay.

Forgiveness is always easier to get than permission.

So many contacts. So little time.

CrowdIt’s people clutter, contact clutter…a digital throng.

I have 966 “friends” on Facebook. At one point I had over 1000. Compared to folks with over 4K I guess that’s kinda small. I started unfriending folks with the intent of reducing the number to 400. I decided, recently, that even that is too many people. You can only cut contacts one at a time. There is no bulk action. Facebook wants you to build that pile of 4-5,000 contacts so they can hit them up with ads and other junk.

The ice-aged slowness of the standard Facebook friend-removal process being what it is, I opened a new account and I am adding people from my old one. I plan to stop at around 300. That should cover people I know plus closer internet acquaintances. The rest are mostly folks who, other than a couple of Facebook database entries, I don’t know at all.

But they haven’t done anything!!!

No. They haven’t. No one I’m excluding has “done anything.” It’s not personal. It’s a matter of numbers. If I only know half the folks I’m friends with and many of those I have not seen since high school, I could go back to not being in contact with those who have not interacted with me other than accepting a friend request. I am also guilty of not interacting. Part of the problem is the amount of traffic that one thousand people generate in one day of a news feed. Think about that and then multiply it by 5 for folks with FIVE THOUSAND “friends.” I am not watching the thing all day long and I may not have seen the new pics of you and your new fur-kid, Mr. Puggins.

I’ll keep the other account active for a while and see if anyone I’ve not added to the new one notices my absence or lack of activity. Then at some point I’ll deactivate it as that appears to be the only way to close a Facebook account.

Old photos – OUT

Old PhotosSome would be shocked at the things I trash, sell or take to Goodwill. A few days ago I came across some photos I shot over 15 years ago. I tossed them in the recycle bin. I thought for a split second about buying albums and keeping them. Then I realized I’d have to dust the albums at some point.

Shock usually comes with a noise. What you hear is “…Oh no,” followed by some sloppy, oft-repeated rationale for keeping this or that. This usually comes from someone who isn’t responsible for cleaning or maintaining whatever it is. I’m not going to ask someone to come clean something I don’t want to have to clean. If I’m not using it, out it goes.

In looking through them, as I was scattering them on the floor for this photo, I remembered shooting them. Most of them are bracketed shots of the same thing as I was trying to get a better exposure. I still do that, but I don’t pay anyone for prints anymore. I threw out all the photos, except one, the negatives and little plastic sleeve holders. I kept the one in the center because it’s one of my favorites and I still have the negatives from it. As far as the rest, if I make my way back to Southern California, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Shenandoah, Big Bend or any other National Park, I’ll try shooting something similar.

Photographers make a lot of photos over the years and fill up a lot of albums or other storage containers. If I’m not going to keep around a huge library of books, I’m certainly not going to do it for picture albums.