I had a brief moment of decluttering yesterday. I have these little store boxes/draws that keep odds and ends in, such as spare batteries, guitar plectrums, random screws and buttons.
I’d also dumped in them some old postage stamps I intend had intended to stick into my stamp book, but never got round to it, deciding that I’d do a load at once.
I also found the earphones I couldn’t find when I needed them and ended up buying some more.
Along with these simple things though I found some items I struggled to part with; things that carried some kind of attachment burden with them. There were the 8-years worth of membership cards for a community thing I used to be part of (and created the cards for), a name tag from a part-time job I used to have years ago, and a college card for a college course I was on for barely 6 months. That last one was a weird one to be clinging to.
It’s like there is some sort of fear of letting go of the past, a past that seems to hold strange meaningfulness. Like, I risk forgetting something important, a lesson I perhaps learned or and still trying to learn, by parting with these things. Will I regret it later? Do these things bring meaning to my life now? Will I be forgotten just like these thing when we’re gone? Strange, strange fear.
Do people who live a ‘strict’ minimalistic life really like living like that, or are they in denial and are instead, deep down, deeply troubled by having parted with so much stuff and instead feel an emptiness?
Too much stuff is not good, hoarding is a recognised health issue, but too little stuff might also be tough too.
Here is a Parable I found this week by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle “for people who find themselves too busy to make room for the best.” It’s from p.5549 / Volume 8 of Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia.
High-Brow House was furnished well, With many a goblet fair; So when they brought the Holy Grail There was never a space to spare. Simple Cottage was clear and clean, With room to store at will; So there they laid the Holy Grail, And there you'll find it still.