As 2012 is fast approaching so is the year of getting rid of stuff that I’ve been talking about. I’m actually really excited about it and have been thinking pretty regularly about it and talking to friends to try and refine the idea even more. I want to start right now, but I’m being good and just aiming for Jan 1 to press go.
One thing that keeps coming up that I realized last time I went through a major purge is that any single item can be justified. Take a box you have in storage, one that has been there for years untouched. One that you’ve been paying $100+ a month to store. Do you need anything in that box? Without opening it I can tell you that, no, most likely you don’t need anything in that box. You could through it out and chances are for the rest of your life you’ll never miss anything in that box. But! Open it up, and suddenly the stuff in there is oh so important. Stuff that 5 minutes ago you didn’t even remember existed is now precious and worthy of saving.
That’s the stuff lying to you.
I’ll say it again – on a single item basis, you can justify keeping anything.
Yes that camera still works and it would be fun to take it out one day and shoot a roll of film through it. Remember when you used to wear that watch all the time? Who are the people in these photos, summer school class of 1980-something? Do these batteries still work? You still have that t-shirt too?
The truth is getting rid of stuff is hard, but it’s hard for a reason. Stuff is designed to make you want it. If you haven’t needed it in the last 12 months, you likely won’t need it again, ever. And if you do need it again at some random future date, borrowing it from a friend or buying it new is most often a better option anyway. You get what I’m getting at.
I have a lot of t-shirts. A lot. Many I’ve never worn. Some I designed. Some friends designed and gave to me. Most of them have been in a box I’ve had in storage for over 10 years. Some of them have been in my dresser. If I went through each and everyone one of them I could think of a reason I needed to keep them all. But if I’ve never worn a t-shirt I’ve had for over 10 years, the changes I’ll ever wear it are slim to none and the justification for keeping it “for the archives” is pretty weak. Today I bought 7 new blank t-shirts and come 2012 I’ll be taking all the rest of those shirts to the thrift store down the street, with the exception of a few I might put on ebay. It’ll hurt to say bye to them, but I know I’ll feel so much better when they are gone. I’ll write more about it when I start this whole thing officially, but yeah, I’m looking forward to this a lot.