Sometimes I think I should become a minimalist. (Not the kind of minimalist that lives in a 10 foot square box in someone else’s back yard and has only one chair (for him or herself) and thus has no room to have anyone over for dinner. Not that kind of minimalist. But the kind of minimalist who knows the exact location of every fork and pencil and mismatched sock, and doesn’t have boxes and piles of anything useless just laying around. Or maybe that’s just being organized.)
Then I think, “Why would I want to do that…become a minimalist, I mean?” I like my stuff. Sometimes having extras of things that seem useless comes in handy. Like when the in-laws come to visit and you actually have enough towels without having to dash out to Tar-jay and purchase cheap towels at 11 o’clock the night before they arrive. Granted, they only come once every four years, but you have enough towels when they do finally show up!
But I look at images like this one and I think it looks so relaxing and uncluttered and refreshing and beautiful and my word, that view! I do think those randomly placed stools can go. Did the photographer think they were necessary?
I look around at stuff I haven’t used or needed in years…some of this is stuff I didn’t even remember that I had until it fell out of the top of a closet, and I think I should get rid of most of what I own, coming back around to thinking I should become some kind of minimalist.
But that’s probably my extremist tendencies talking.
First world problem: having too much stuff.
A maxim for living should be, “Don’t have too much stuff.” Or “Your stuff wants to be the boss of you.” Or “Throw it all out, for crying out loud! You haven’t used it in ten years, what makes you think you’ll use it now?!”
Raise your hand if you think arson should be legal. We could all set our own houses on fire and be done with it.
Don’t look so non-plussed. I’m kidding.
Every time we have moved, we have purged and culled and disposed of a bunch of our stuff. That would be sixteen times in thirty years of marriage, if anyone is counting.
Not that we were unstable…it’s just that we had a baby and needed a bigger place, or we had another baby and needed a bigger place again, or we had one more baby and needed a bigger place yet again, or we moved overseas for ministry, and then to another country, and then again for language immersion, and then back to the States because we weren’t immersed but drowning instead (not really but it makes a good story…for another post), and then we had a GREAT need to move out of the fog zone in San Francisco and into the sunshine, but we didn’t actually make it out of the fog zone even though we thought we did so we decided to move again but conveniently this time we needed to move closer to the church because we had moved the church, and then across the country for ministry again, and then back.
Each move saw us getting rid of stuff. We consciously dumped at least 50 percent of it all when we moved from England to Spain, and then another 50 percent when we left Spain. Sometimes it seemed like we left behind the wrong 50 percent, but whatever. It’s just stuff. When we moved across the country we unloaded every single stick of furniture we owned except for our mattresses. And the wooden rocking chair my daughter gave me for Christmas one year. Ditto when we came back.
I have lots of thoughts about excess stuff and clutter and how it affects our thinking and our productivity, but I’ll just share a few here because this post is already way too long and I haven’t even reached my point! I am wordy to a fault.
Stuff makes noise. Unpleasant noise. It shouts at us and berates us, and complains, and distracts us and often causes mental mayhem. It also often fills an emotional need, which is a HUGE subject all by itself, but my focus at the moment is digital stuff. I have pictures taking up precious memory in my laptop that are duplicates or near duplicates of at least a dozen others. I have documents and writing that I’ve saved over the years that is taking up space. The text documents take up more space in my mind than on my drives, but it’s still space and it’s making noise. As I review some of my previous writing, including many posts on this blog, I see quite a bit of embarrassing and shallow melodrama.
And this post could probably be added to the shallowness, but now I’ve that I’ve written it I might as well post it and at least remain consistent. …And go public about my phobia of becoming a hoarder. Have you seen that show by the way? I’ve seen clips and …wow. Just wow.
So…all this is to say if anyone has any ideas about how to organize digital pictures in a way that specific pics can be reasonably accessed I’m all ears.
I enjoy your writing, Mariah. I do think clutter, and even stuff that is put away and not visible, can wear on a brain. The older I get the more I crave visual quiet almost as much as I do literal quiet. I try to take something to donate at least once a month, but I have a hard time paring down my books. I wish I could help you about a good organizing tool for photos. I have Macs and they do a good job by date. What are you reading these days? xoxo
Yes, I have a Mac as well. I try not to keep too many pictures on it though because I don’t have a lot of memory. At the moment I’m uploading everything to my Amazon Prime account. Though it’s not very satisfactory, it works for now. Lately I’m readying inspiring accounts written by runners/marathoners. The latest one I ready is by Dean Karnazez called Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of An All Night Runner. Not that I intend to become an ultramarathon runner (yikes!!), but I’m interested in the mindset…the tenacity involved in such an endeavor. I’ve never had much stick-to-it-iveness and it’s something I’m working on cultivating. Basically, I need to learn to finish what I start, which is why I’m writing again, albeit slowly. Thanks for your compliment, and thanks for reading! 🙂
For organizing pictures we do it by year then by month or by event. If you have a Mac then iPhoto does a good job of keeping them by date then you can title each album however you want. It’s just a matter of emptying your digital camera after every use. Believe me I have twenty years worth of random pictures and video that are unorganized…
I don’t have a Mac, but I think year and month is the best way to go for me too. Church stuff probably by year and event. It’s a huge job, but once it’s done I’ll be happy! (and be able to find stuff!)
Lol I feel ya. We’ve only been married a year and a half and already need more storage space. And what is storage space? A place to put things you don’t need to get to and won’t use. Probably ever. Ugh.
True. But some stuff needs to be stored because you do use it every now and then and when you need it you REALLY need it. But Ugh is a good word for it!! LOL First world probs fo’sho’!
Hahaha, raise your hand if you think arson should be legal! Hahaha
…or even if you think about doing it whether or not it’s legal. …kidding. I’m just kidding. Sort of.