Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Hoarding thoughts
Bar Harbor
Several of my friends have been talking/posting about Hoarding recently. I'm somewhat of a case myself, though I feel I'm improving.

I think it has its roots in my upbringing. My parents were pretty poor when I was born, and there was a definite philosophy of "Don't throw out anything you might conceivably need later." And just often enough we *did* need it later, that it got positively reinforced.

I used to justify having a vast book collection with the concept "What if I get up in the middle of the night and want to read *that* particular book?!?" Decades of experience have yielded lots of occasions of waking up in the middle of the night wanted to read something, but I don't recall any where I had a burning need to read something *specific*. I'm sure I will always have a large quantity and variety of books, but it doesn't need to be as large as it currently is.

Two big (if gradual) changes in my life over the last few years have greatly helped me be able to reduce Stuff:

* The existence of internet commerce has drastically reduced the effort required to find specific things, and also (on average) reduced their price. If there's a book or comic I want, I can probably get it easily. Significantly, if there's a book I want to *replace*, I can do that easily as well. It's much easier to get rid of Stuff when I believe I can easily replace any individual piece of it when needed. And I can afford to do that replacing, because...

* I've come to realize that I'm Not Poor. Sure, there's debt I'm trying to pay down, and I could always use more money -- but it's been years since I passed the point of being able to buy more media faster than I could consume it. The amount of this un-consumed media is frankly embarrassing. Now, when I think about buying new Stuff, I always run it by the mental filter "Will I consume this before anything else that is in the Unread Bookcase?" This kills vast numbers of would-be impulse purchases.

So I'm (slowly and intermittently) reviewing all my Stuff, and deciding what parts of it are not actually useful. I think the net flow has reached negative sign, though the magnitude is still small.

  • 1
On the one hand I'm shedding my stuff rapidly, on the other hand I've partially achieved this by leaving a fair chunk of it in your basement.


Having lived without it for long periods should help you achieve clarity about what parts of it you don't really need.

3 questions Libby and I use:
1) When was the last time I used it?
2) How hard/expensive would it be to replace if I decided I did need it after all?
3) If I saw it in a store right now, would I buy it?

We got rid of a lot of stuff, and I found one of my very favorite things to have? Uncluttered open space. It is really about my favorite. Once I had some I really wanted more.

Good questions.

Open space is OK, but not of great value to me. On the other hand, being able to find and access specific things when I do want them *is* of high value, and that's much easier once useless cruft is removed.

I've come to realize that we only re-read about two dozen regular books and maybe that many comic book compilations (Calvin & Hobbes, etc.)

We have hundreds of books. Most of the new books we might want to read are borrowed from the library, and go back. We should really get rid of the ones we haven't opened in years.

When I moved, I shed many books, most with Alex's realization: If there's a book (or information) I want, I can probably get it easily on the internet.

But I've still got lots of paperback science fiction.

  • 1

Log in

No account? Create an account