For the past year or so my wife and I have been attempting to simplify our lives. Doing so has involved generally paring down things that we own and things that we do. For us, this has made life easier and more enjoyable. For me it has been something close to lifesaving … or at least ‘nerve’ saving.
Some of our ‘life simplifications’ have just been efforts to own less. Here I’d like to admit that I am a capitalist and believe in things like business and purchasing. As a former retail manager in a previous life, I also know that without things being bought and sold our country would be in big trouble.
Still, those big steel storage units springing up all across our land over the past few decades might just hint at our ‘collective’ (pun intended) priorities. That is for another column, so stay tuned. (Do people even really say ‘stay tuned’ anymore?)
What has bothered me the most is the stuff that is put on a shelf in our home, then moved to another shelf, hid in a drawer, etcetera, but never disposed of, often for many years. Do you have stuff like this? I think you might. It is stuff that you may have looked at almost forever, and that somehow has a hold on you. It’s likely stuff you just ‘can’t’ get rid of because someone somewhere in the past gave it to you. You may remember where some ‘thing’ came from, or you may not. “Oh, Aunt Mildred sent us that, I think …” How sweet of her. But was it really? Maybe not if you only keep it because of where it came from. Never mind that Aunt Mildred passed away twenty years ago and wouldn’t remember that ‘thing’ even if she hadn’t. I don’t mean to be callous, just practical.
I have found a simplifying solution to this particular problem, and it has to do with black holes. No, not the ones in space that swallow up everything in their path, but something a bit similar. I’m referring to the ones at the grocery store that can swallow up that thing from Aunt Mildred and many more things like it at the same time. These black holes usually come in a 33-gallon size and can be taken to the used stuff store or collected by your trash/recycling man. Mine comes to our home every week.
As strange as this might seem, I’d like you to consider the serious side of all of this. For me, there has always been something nearly debilitating about looking at the same old ‘stuff’ every day of my life. Seeing things all around me that hold no purpose other than occupying the space they always have occupied is nearly sickening and I think it’s the real reason people take vacations. We sometimes need to get away from ‘it all.’ Right?
The small black holes are the perfect solution. Consider this beautiful reality. Once you release objects into the interior of such a black hole, whether it’s destined for the Salvation Army store, recycling, or the trash, and then tie those top flaps tight, you will NEVER, EVER, IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFETIME have to look at those things again! For me that is a cleansing experience that is hard to describe, and I recommend it, highly. (Sorry Aunt Mildred.)