Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Devil wants you to shop - the evils of owning too much mediocre junk

Daniel's idea of a good storage area.
My brilliant writer friend Daniel just moved into a new house and is in serious purge mode, dumping crates of belongings and selling his entire cd and movie script collections online for cheap.

Whoa, this is some impressive and decisive clearing out!

Since I'm looking for inspiration to cut the clutter myself, I asked Daniel what's going on in his mind as he casts off these intimate objects that surely had meaning and purpose at one point.

Here are his feelings about his stuff:
"It's exactly like this. They say "good is the enemy of great." 95% or more of everything we own is not truly great, inspired, and essential. In tossing boxes and boxes of stuff yesterday, I found a note from my daughter, in little kid writing. It said "I love you, daddy. Forever & ever! I will never not love you!!!"
The things that are most essential lose their power if they're just one of hundreds of okay things we own. 
Gluttony is not just about food. It's about stuff. We need to put our homes on a diet. The more junk you toss the lighter and more free you feel. If I were The Devil I would love and encourage mindless consumption and clutter."
I recently cleaned out my closet, evaluating each item by asking these questions: Do I love it? Does it have a purpose? Does it have meaning? Does it represent who I want to be? Daniel uses a more visceral sorting system.
"No joke, like a great big pussy man, I get in touch with my feelings, and go through boxes, looking at items. If they have personal resonance or emotional charge - vacation photos, gifts, things we bought traveling, I keep em based on how they make me feel. If they stir nothing they must go. Not only do I not feel bad about losing junk, I feel like good riddance. I wish I could burn the wicked mediocre stuff as it is wicked and vile and blocking all that matters most.
I figured this out before my move. While studying martial art I would often walk into the dojo which literally means "place of enlightenment" and instantly solve a problem I'd been stressed over. I'm convinced it was because the dojo is empty except for a few sacred objects."
Way to go, Dan! If I had any lingering doubts or guilt about getting rid of things that are only so-so, you've blown them straight to the dumpster. Surrounding ourselves with meaningless objects is sinful. I can't turn my home into a dojo, but I can make room for what really matters, as well as new experiences and ideas and creativity and light. And I'm going to teach my kids to do the same!

Pure evil.
If only I can convince my daughter that her Ugly Doll collection is possessed by demons.

1 comment:

jasmine said...

Good practicals, Marjie!

I have a favorite Scripture that i apply whenever i need to de-clutter: "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." --Hebrews 12:1

Is it hindering me? Then, bye-bye! And i keep on goin'...