Bird_Voyeur's Living Simple

tips, tricks and introspections

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Stuff and junk and stuff.
bird_voyeur
I hate stuff. This statement isn't a nihilist manifesto describing my loathing of all of existence. I am talking about disliking possessions and consumer goods. I am an anti-packrat. I dislike clutter, hoards, piles and boxes in storage. My nemesis is the thing that has no purpose; my fondest dream is to live in a home with a concise assortment of things that I need and nothing that I do not require.

I have an open view of what constitutes use, but I am still ruthless in my culling. If an object is only aesthetic and has no other value, I still consider that thing to have a use, so long as it is on the wall and not in a box in the basement. Holiday decorations are acceptable, but I have one smallish box of all my seasonal ornaments, not the endless boxes that I remember from my youth at my parent's house. I keep old journals, photographs and letters, but if I can foresee no future utility in those things, they get tossed.

I get a peace of mind from a simple uncluttered house that even the heady rush of endorphine soaked consumption can not match. There is something fundamentally calming about having less things to worry about, and every step I take away from the rat-race induced drive to be happy, actually makes me happier. I cannot fathom who in their right mind enjoys having more acreage of surface area to dust, vaccum, scrub and maintain. The more one owns, the higher the cost of replacement, the greater the insurance the the more insidious the anxiety and worry about it all.

I would rather give away possessions as they lose their utility and risk the inconvenience of needing them later, rather than have to move to increasingly larger dwellings like a hermit crab. Besides there is something gratifying about giving things to others. I do not know if gift giving is as addictive as shopping, but it far more productive and charitable.

I do not dream of a mansion or mcmansion in the exurbs of the city. I long for a cottage the size of a modest apartment. I desire my independence and own piece of the pie as much as the next man, but there's no need to overdo it. The original American dream of owning one's own house resulted in suburbs that had houses which were very small compared to today's standards. Levittown featured 800 square foot homes, which would fit in a corner of today's average of 2,070 square feet. This isn't to say that small can't be cute, fun or modern. Too much stuff complicates plans such as owning a house, I would rather keep from spending my money on frivolous things and keep it for big significant purchases.

I control my purchases, I am not controlled by them. I am sick of marketing telling me who I am based on a consumed identity while trying to manipulate me into fueling a corporate system that cares little for my welfare. The greatest anti-capitalist act is to not consume. At this juncture I think that few people would contest the ills of overconsumption of the world's resources.

I would urge any listener to consider the virtues of a small lifestyle shift, even if my particular argument does not appeal. Try reworking a small part of your life to have more simplicity and less stuff, then let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you. Until then, live well and be well.
-B
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