You know you’re a minimalist when your eldest, in role play, says to your youngest, “Your baby stole one of my necklaces!” and you sit thinking, “Why do you have more than one?”
We are experts in deciding what is worthy of our time as we watch online clips of Internet crazes, eccentric pets and strangers arguing. If we don’t get gratification within a few moments, we swipe on ruthlessly.
Yet we fail to realise the amount of time we waste, sacrificing the possibility of meaningful activity for these thoughtless pacifiers.
Recently, I had friends around, who saw my pile of things to donate/toss, amongst them, several books, a loo block, shoelaces and a blue plastic box.
My friends pored through the items as if offered some sort of golden ticket. Could they have this; could they have that? Yes, of course! If I can pass anything on that’ll be of value, definitely. Even if I actually wanted it, if it was of more value to someone else, I’d seriously consider parting with it.
But why did they want it? The plastic box: I know where my friend will keep it. I’m sure it’ll remain unused; a great just in case item; my friend has an extensive Tupperware collection. I know of its unhappy, unused existence, because I stopped using it around four months ago and only just discarded it. Should I have said no? That seems a little judgmental and controlling. Superimposing my values onto my friends is probably a great way to irritate them too.
The shoelaces attracted my other friend, who’s to put them in his Adidas Superstars, a pair of clean, white laces to replace the clean, white laces. Those replaced would go into another pair, from there another pair, until the twin fogs of disinterest and disbelief had fully descended.
So, the items went, yet I feel frustration at adding to clutter problems elsewhere, and in so doing, firstly, preventing a charity from making a little money, and secondly, making it from people who may have gotten more value from my discards – the opportunity cost of saying yes was the sacrifice of two meaningful ends.
What do you do with your discarded items, if people want them, and you feel they will get no value from them?
Last year, I went through my Agatha Christies, unsure why I loved half and cared nothing for the others. It wasn’t to do with the plots, it wasn’t whether I’d been immersed in a televisual adaptation. Finally, I realised, trivial as it may seem, it was the font. The ones I loved had a particular look and feel that the others didn’t.
I accepted this, quite proud of how I’d drilled down to the detail, and the decluttering and donating continued, my Christie books half in number.
What are some of the stranger factors that have helped you to keep or discard?