Just walk away

Philosophy,Stuff & Things — Sean Bonner @ 6:57 am
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I’ve been thinking (and talking) a bit about my last post – the “don’t buy new stuff, get rid of old stuff” one. Mostly about the getting rid of stuff part because I still haven’t fully unpacked from my last move. To be fair, I moved into a much larger place and was able to get everything I had out of storage, and I’ve been traveling for most of the time since the move, but still – there is stuff in boxes.

A lot of the stuff I have is stuff I don’t want. It’s stuff I’ve tried unsuccessfully to sell or thought I knew of someone I should give it to. I’ve even told people they can have stuff for free, and yet, it’s still here, still in boxes. Giving things away is hard. It requires planning and scheduling. It’s a real pain in the ass honestly. I kept thinking that I was doing the right thing by holding on to stuff for other people or hoping to get back 20-30% of what I paid for an item a few years previously but I wasn’t. I was just enabling things to pile up.

So my current feeling is as I’m going through this, and I find something I’m deciding not to keep, that stuff is just gone. If I think it might be useful for someone else I’m putting it in a stack to take around the corner to donate to the neighborhood thrift store. If I think it likely isn’t useful for anyone else, I’m putting it in the trash. I need to just walk away from it all.

I also need to come up with some clear rules about what makes something useful to me or not and I need to do this before I start sorting. On an individual level I can justify keeping anything, but painting with big strokes I can write off half of it. I need to make some hard and fast rules that apply to the real word. I can’t foresee a situation where I’m going to need more than 1 week worth of t-shirts, so there’s no need for me to keep more than 7. Likewise, how many pair of black pants do I actually need? There was a time when I had 2 pair of shoes -every day ones and nicer ones. Now I have like, hell, 7 or 8 pair? That’s just stupid.

Anyway, I’ll keep chewing through my thoughts here, and as I solidify the rules I’m making for myself I’ll detail them as well. And hopefully I’ll begin documenting the stuff I’m parting with soon.



  1. I think (realistic) rules are pretty hard to define here. 7 white shirts are enough, yes, but there are certainly other shirts you like or with special memories. You just prefer keeping them. The result is: to much shirts/stuff. But you have to draw the line somewhere…
    The shoes are a special case, too. With only one pair of every day shoes, people can die or want to kill you on the subway train, e.g. after a day of riding bike under the LA sun. –> perhaps one pair is not enough.

    Perhaps a solution would be to make “rounds of throwing away stuff” over and over again.
    Step by step you minimize the clutter.
    And: what’ gone is gone. Only works though if you don’t buy new stuff…

    Comment by Phil — November 27, 2011 @ 12:38 am
  2. Great idea! I’m with you on this project/plan. 2012 Clean-up! Parameters and an agenda or game plan are essential for any long-term project. I’ve started with recognizing that we have 6 major areas of the house, so that’s 2 months for each area. Determining what the main store areas are in advance so that nothing gets ignored is going to be important for me because a lot of the “stuff” is hidden (drawers, closets, bins, etc.). Since we are with child also, the amount of time we will be able to devote may need to be split among our weekends, so one weekend I’ll have my “clean-up” time and the next weekend hubby will have his. I don’t imagine we’ll need to spend more than a couple hours for each session, but certainly that will have to be decided as the occasion arises.
    Ok, this is a good start…

    Comment by Sonya — December 4, 2011 @ 3:59 am

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