I think it’s safe for me to finally get rid of this old computer
with all the changes and preparation for the baby on the way, i’ve really been focused on downsizing my life. very critical about sorting out the stuff i need to keep and get rid of. minimizing anything i don’t need. i’ve become much more pragmatic about things i own as well and questioning new purchases if i really need them. in the past 10 years since graduation, i’ve never really had to worry about impulse purchases and restricting my spending on the latest gadgets. the new baby has a big effect on the budget and financial planning.
but mostly i’ve been cleaning out my existing goods. ever since i was a little kid, i’ve always formed an emotional attachment to goods. i treated my toys like gold and would never scratch them. i placed a lot of value in them and wouldn’t part with them until long after they worth anything to me or anyone else. looking at anything, i could still find value it it somehow. for example, when recycling a plastic bin that something comes in, i would think to myself…”I can keep some stuff in that. i’m not sure what, but at some point i’ll need to store something and that bin will be perfect”. there’s also an environmental aspect to it – i hate to throw things out when they can be repurposed. everything has value, just maybe not to you at this moment. if only there was an efficient way to find someone who absolutely needed that bin at that moment in time.
so we’ve sorted a lot of electronics, books, clothes, etc and tried to find new owners for things. donated computer gear to friends and family. selling stuff on ebay/craigslist. clothing has been donated. books given to friends to read. i even gave away a very old Playstation and all my original games to goodwill. I wish I could have found some young kids to give it to directly to brighten up their holidays.
when making decisions on whether to keep or get rid of things in my life, I think about what my friend Ben would do. he’s always been very free about getting rid of everything. very minimalist. even when packing for trips, he has very little to lug around. whereas I’ll pack a laptop, my ipod, magazines, a book, portable game system, portable dvd system. i fear boredom. other than furniture, if you asked him (before he was married and had a kid) to pack his life in a box it would contain a laptop, a camera and some books. oh, and of course a snowboard. everything could fit in a carload.
so in this paring down of my life, it’s being done to lower the maintenance and overhead of all the gadgets and “stuff” that takes time out of living your life. this was very reminiscent of when i moved from a PC to a Mac. I found I no longer had the overhead of maintaining a PC. I could just get on doing what I wanted to and not have a burden of maintenance and upkeep. that’s what i’m looking for in my life. less maintenance, more time for doing things and less things to distract from living.
in new purchases and anything around the house now, I question if I really need one more thing in my life. knick-knacks and toys that clutter the shelves and closets are no longer kept. presents that i can’t use will be returned. excess gifts for the sake of giving are not needed. there are only a few things i truly want and outside of those things, i do not need. global society is consuming too much and it needs to slow down. my brother in law made a good point on the weekend as we were wandering through a store. “do there really need to be more candles made? can’t we stop making candles and just buy up the existing ones?” I laughed and it made sense. every big and little store sells candles yet only a small percentage buys them. there’s probably 4.62 candles per person in the world, i think we can cut back on the candle store stockpiles until someone starts buying these things. and if you get candles this year for christmas, it’s likely the person who gave you the candles probably got them as a gift from somebody else the year before.
so next time you’re out wandering the stores ask yourself if you really need more in your life. and can you share the things you already have with someone who might need it more. then you can focus on the more important things like friends and family.