On this day of the great purge, I walk through my little apartment, stare at each and every object in turn, and decide impulsively: stay or go. Out goes the old laptop computer, dead in 2008. Out goes the 2006 camcorder, hardly used. Out goes a stack of books. Out goes clothes, a size too large. Out goes the unused and unnecessary.
I do not throw out much as I already live quite small. Some minimalists counsel owning no more than 100 items and wearing a similar uniform every day, much like Steve Jobs. I likely own ten times the minimalist recommended daily allowance, extravagances like three dinner plates, an iron, and a microwave.
Purging prompts shedding, cleansing, and simplifying. I have enough and a bit more. I am lighter now and more mobile.
I identify with the belongings in this apartment. I am them. They are me. Silly. Why am I this lamp or that bookcase? I will never be the aggregate of what I own. Nonetheless, I like feeling smaller.
Some notes from the purging:
- Don’t hold on to clothes that don’t fit. Either alter them, if you can, or give them away. Holding on longer to the too-smalls and too-larges will not improve their chances of fitting. That red T-shirt Greg gave to me with the cartoon of the happy dinosaur: gone in size L. That beige corporate hoodie with sewed in “Rawr means I love you in dinosaur:” gone in size L.
- You need less than you think, especially clothing. Most people wear the same three or four outfits, and not much more. Come back to older favorite stuff instead of buying more.
- Keep tools. Tools make experiences possible. If I could winnow my possessions away, I would own just clothes, tools, and food.
- Get rid of books, mementos, and objects. You will experience more when you have less.
- Keep empty some shelves, drawers, and cupboards. You’ll feel like you live in a place too large for your needs.
I extend the purging of possessions to purging of identity. I let go of myself as a chemist. I release myself as scheduled. I purge worthlessness and inadequacy.
After the purge comes The Great Clean.