Decluttering is harder than you think… that is to say, more specifically, Decluttering is harder *IF* you think… Many items that would mean nothing to someone else, have a sentimental root in my mind, and thoughts continue to flower.
The Tintin clock from Beligium that was given to me by Brigitte Marechal has not ticked since 2007, but has sat on my bookshelf as a loving reminder for 25 years. Who would want to have a broken clock? Only a sentimental fool, right?
I have a huge selection of books, some of them are over 50 years old now, and were well-loved by my mentors before they were given to me. Some of the more recent books were gifts from the authors, and more than one book was signed by the hand of someone whom I love dearly. These things are immeasurably valuable to me, yet to anyone else, the books are worth only pennies in the age of Kindles & e-readers, and the inscription carries meaning only for me alone.
Books from mentors and friends, Allan and Barbara Pease, Pat Mesiti, Peter J. Daniels, Nik Halik, Jamie McIntyre, Daniel Priestley, Grace Hart, Dr Dain Heer, Louise Bedford, Roger James Hamilton, Paul Dunn, Don Tolman and many many more… I am truly sorry, my friends, that I cannot take all of you with me wherever I go.
The original manuscript of my first book, and its original cover design: it should be in a museum, it should be worth a fortune, but only to me 🙂 To anyone else, it is scrap paper. My certificates and accreditations from various institutions: scrap paper.
My baby daughter’s first shoes, my son’s first drawings, the hand-painted mug, decorated in the careful loving hand of a five-year-old child… All precious treasures to me, yet to someone else, they are just “junk”.
My entire collection of CD’s is now defunct in an age where 400 albums can be stored inside of a phone and take up no room at all. The 3 inch digital cover art on a glass screen taking the place of 16-page album booklets with lyrics and photos of erstwhile heroes.
Hundreds of DVD’s can also be discarded as almost worthless, while the entire movie collection can be carried on one small hard drive.
Even family photo albums can now be digitised and stored forever in the ether, yet I am still emotional about discarding a dog-eared photo of myself as a baby, even after scanning it and backing it up, supposedly for eternity.
I guess that Generation Y & Z would have no qualms about discarding a photo: these are the kids whose baby photos were taken on mobile phones, and they never had to pay $20 for prints, and wait a week for developing, only to discover that someone had blinked in their holiday snap.
I’m guessing a Millenial kid would discard a photo in a millisecond, and if they ever wanted a hard copy, would just go to “the cloud” and print out a new one for 10 cents.
These kids have missed out on the tactile thrill of flipping through records at a bricks & mortar music store, opening the CD case to see if it had lyrics or just pictures, (or just obscure non-music-related poetry; thanks Moby).
Millenial kids have missed out on the aromatic pleasure of opening a pack of newly-printed photos from the photo booth, flicking through them and saying, “Oh yeah” as they remember events from days or weeks before when the picture was taken. Even as Netflix takes over and movie rental stores close, you don’t even get to touch your DVD or Blu-Ray movies anymore.
We can now have “face to face” chats with people in other countries, better than long-distance phones, and it seems that the world shrinks with technology, yet somehow we are buying bigger houses and bigger TV’s… will they be 90% empty?
I’m guessing that with a laptop and a couple of 2Tb hard drives, you could now replace all of your books, CD’s, DVD’s, home movies and photographs…
You would be able to have a complete household of memories and entertainment in a small case or backpack… A literal “household of memories” in the same space as a ream of paper
Yes, you *could* do it… The question is: what’s stopping you?
Like me, is it just the mind & the emotions that are holding you back?
Everything is temporary and transient anyway, so what are we holding onto?
We can be free from so much clutter, and we could live lives that are almost frictionless, but what do we lose? Is it just tactile sensations, smells and tastes? Or is it something greater that we fear is going?
What is stopping you from digitising, downsizing and decluttering?