How do I live life more with less?
I moved into my apartment 2 years ago as of the first of the month - other than a short-term stay in a tiny little apartment just down the hall, my only previous residences have been my 3000+ square foot house in Hudson and my parents’ basement.
I don’t really consider myself a “too much stuff” kinda guy. Nevertheless, when I moved from the huge house to my 1100 square foot apartment, I really felt the pinch.
Besides the normal assortment of “stuff” indicative of a middle-class lifestyle, I’ve got three major “collections”. I call them collections ‘cause, frankly, the three categories of stuff just exist to accumulate more stuff. Kitchen gadgetry doesn’t count, ‘cause I can honestly say I’ve used everything for its intended purpose (and many unintended purposes) over the years, even if I don’t have tons of room in my kitchen here at the apartment. I’ve got tons of books but, once again, all of them have been used for reading at one point in another, and I appreciate keeping them around as a reference or to loan to curious others.
No, my three collections are much less utilitarian than either of those examples. The first is my Toy Story collection. I started collecting everything Toy Story I could get my hands on when the movie first came out. Due to the lack of enthusiasm for the Disney-distributed Pixar film prior to release, very few merchandising deals were made, making it relatively easy to collect a majority of the original set. Most of the items bigger than an action figure still have their boxes, but almost all of them have at least been removed at one point or another to be played with and/or exhibited. However, almost none of the toys are currently on display here in the apartment…I just don’t have the room. Well, I might have the room, but if you combine this collection with the next two, I’m just plain out of space.
The second collection is my desk toy collection. Working, as I have, since I was 16 years old at a desk job, I’ve already collected an entire lifetime of fun desk toys. I’ve got stuffed characters of all types, snow globes, action figures, time wasters, curiosities, etc. Right now, almost all of these items are stored away in the closet in file boxes. About 10 file boxes, to be exact. What does one do with all of these? I’ve already tried recycling some of them into my current work environment…if I kept my desk clean there I imagine I’d find more success. Instead, they just get added to the existing items decorating my current desk and add to the clutter.
Third, my collection of old computer hardware/software/books for the Apple II series (and a few other older systems) takes up more space than any of the previous collections. Taking up a good portion of the unused floor space in my second bedroom, the wide assortment of old machines, and their accompanying accessories, is something that has a meaning so nostalgic to me that I really can’t imagine ever getting rid of them. I’ve got both my original Apple IIe and my second computer, my Apple IIgs. Both of these computers set my parents back a pretty penny in their day…and both of them together are often referred to as “the best investments in [my] future they’ve ever made.” I’ve also got an even older Apple II+, piles of software, most of the Nibble magazines published and enough spare hardware to make sure things will continue to run long into the future. That is, if they are ever powered up. Most of the systems are still in the boxes we packed them into when we retired them.
Without any of these three collections, my apartment would be furnished, but not crowded in the slightest. Instead, I’ve got a storage closet filled with desk toy boxes and Toy Story toys, a spare bedroom mostly filled with old computer equipment and piles of things that could be better stored away in an organized way in the living room awaiting their final destination due to overcrowding by the collections. Do I just get rid of all three? Do I decide on one to stay with and dump the rest? Each of them pull at my memories in a different way…representative of a portion of my life, breadcrumbs leading to who I am today.
Something to ponder…