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The tyranny of stuff

I have been trying to pare down the amount of stuff I own recently. For the last week, I have been digging through my drawers and closets and boxes to find things to either donate or throw out. I get this tremendous sense of relief when I can let go of objects; I strongly dislike clutter, and I really love the feeling of indepedence from worrying about or attachment to physical crap. So out goes anything I haven't touched in forever. Out goes any costume piece I've had forever but never used. Out goes all the clothes I never wear, or no longer enjoy wearing.

I grew up in a very clean, clutter-free home. When I was little, if we didn't touch something for a certain period of time, my dad would get rid of it. Nothing precious or important, fortunately. But it did force me to develop a zen-like detachment from material things. When I was a kid I would get upset at first, but honestly I'm glad it taught me that physical objects aren't really that important.

I sometimes find myself slipping into that creepy Depression-era mentality of, "Ugh, what if I need this useless thing sometime down the line and I have to buy a new one? I hate spending money on dumb stuff that I used to already have!" But I follow the rule of if you haven't touched it in a year (some people say five, but I'm conservative) then you really don't need it. And whatever, you had to buy a thing that was probably already pretty cheap to begin with. Useable space, and the appearance of that space, is more precious.

Bernie loves stuff. If he and I ever live together, which I'm hoping we will in the foreseeable future, this is probably going to be a sticking point to work out. I tease him by calling him a few steps away from a hoarder, which really isn't true, but to my perspective he does have an excessive attachment to things I consider to be useless clutter-- tchotchkes, broken stuff that could theoretically be repaired but never will be, "emergency backups", supplies that may never actually be needed.

I have noticed that whenever I hear about any situation that has even the suggestion of excessive amounts of stuff, I get a weird panicked feeling. If I read about hoarders, I want to pile up everything I own and set it all on fire. Even if Bernie mentions the tendency toward clutter at his parents' house, I feel the urge to start throwing stuff away. I'm not sure why my reaction is that extreme. It just feels so suffocating, like I might drown in stuff. It's pretty unreasonable, but honestly I'd rather just be free of useless crap.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
lillibet
Jul. 22nd, 2015 04:57 pm (UTC)
My best friend and his husband have this conflict in their relationship. The big part of the solution has been that Tom has a small storage room where steve can put anything he comes across in the house that he wants gone. The room is completely full and unable to be entered, but there is still room to toss things in.
laurion
Jul. 22nd, 2015 09:11 pm (UTC)
I have this conflict in myself, and all the time with my environment. Often I just don't have, or don't take, the time to purge.

Never visit my parents house. You will set fire to it.

On second thought, maybe I should have you come with me next time...
jducoeur
Jul. 27th, 2015 06:24 pm (UTC)
Mmm. Having gone from a first wife who synergized badly with my "accumulating" impulses to a second wife who has rather limited patience with them, I understand this particular tension quite well. (I still have two storage units, totaling 400 sq ft of Stuff.)

If Bernie ever needs someone to talk with about how to work on the syndrome, feel free to point him to me: I've spent much of the last few years learning to reorient those impulses towards enjoying weeding stuff instead, so things slowly move in the right direction...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:



MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3


at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM

and

Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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