Clutter… It’s a word that I could use to describe many aspects that surround my life, including the inside of my own head. For much of my life I’ve surrounded myself with clutter finding comfort within the piles of squalor, but the older I get the less at ease I feel within such spaces. I constantly ask myself where did all this stuff come from and why do I bother to keep it? The word that seems to be appearing more and more is purge.
In moving cross country twice as an adult, there came a great purge with each event. I find that transporting these objects, that really do me no good in the long term, to be quite burdensome. Why do I need these notebooks from when I was in college? Where did all these useless pillows come from stashed in my closet? Am I really going to use these art supplies that have sat here unused in years? The little voice in the back of my head has the answers that echo through all of us that deal with these possessive quandaries. We have these small attachments to things that could be useful at some point in the far and distant future. While I’d love to think that I’ll use all of these little things in great ways, like Joseph Cornell with his wonderful boxes, it’s highly unlikely that I will do so given the projects I have in mind.
It’s not just in physical space that I feel this encroaching clutter. Today I removed 13G of useless files from my laptop… THIRTEEN GIGABYTES!!! How did I let my harddrive get that bogged down with data? Files that I hadn’t touched in YEARS!!! Zip file downloads, pictures sent from my phone, and working files from long dead projects are just examples of what I deleted today. Don’t get me wrong… I have backups, but that’s the beauty of digital space. Easily destroyed… but COMPACT! Even digital clutter sneaks up on you when you when you’re not paying attention and you’ll be left wondering why your computer is running slow.
While I am nowhere close to achieving hoarder status, I still feel like I have too much that goes unused in the day to day. It’s been a slow purge, but I expect to be rid of more by the end of the year. I already have a pile of things for donation, it’s just a matter of bringing it to some center to unload. There are some things that I could never be rid of. After all I look forward to a day when moving is not a concept I will entertain at all, for that is the day that I will start buying books in mass quantity again. You can never have too many of those… unless you’re moving.
My living and working space are slowly becoming less cluttered, but my car will be the last bastion of my old messy habits.