Tossing Stuff

How do you live a simpler life? How do you keep a mountain of stuff from burying you?

I’ll tell you: I have no idea.

I spent part of the afternoon listening to Merlin Mann talk with Dan Benjamin about getting rid of stuff that doesn’t bring you pleasure or utility. And of course he’s right and it is something I’ve thought about for years. Literally. I make grand plans and I get a little ways, and then I give up.

But of course, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t try.

So here I am taking a few first steps. I threw away a few small useless things that have been sitting for years. I threw out a half dozen phone cords (yes seriously) and a few old USB cables. Several of the cables had never even been removed from the package.

So do I keep up with small moves, or do I start the big moves Dan and Merlin mentioned. Do I buy a bunch of contractor bags and start just tossing things, or do I slowly pare things down? I don’t know. But I have a problem.

I replaced two old suitcases late last year, but I still have the old ones. I have several battery chargers that I don’t need or use any more. I have a laptop charger for a laptop that is long since dead.

I have a laptop that is long since dead. I have half a dozen naked hard drives. I have two 1U servers in bubble wrap in the garage. I have four bicycles but only two I ride. I have a bicycle helmet I replaced 4 years ago. I have darkroom equipment I haven’t used since I moved to Denver. I have two old cameras that don’t work, and half a dozen that do work but I haven’t run film through in 2 or 3 years.

And all of this is not even remotely close to a complete list.

I doubt I’ll ever live a minimalist life, but I’d love to pare things down.

— Steve

Posted on 29 February 2012