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GPW — Pack Rat

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:02 pm - January 1, 2007.
Filed under: General

About ten days ago, I woke up in my cluttered apartment and realized one thing I could do to reduce the amount of junk here was to throw away the bottles of cologne I had on my bathroom countertop. While I once liked to wear cologne from time to time, I could not remember the last time I put some on. Once I got rid of those bottles, I started work at cleaning the bathroom counter, finding other stuff to discard.

Since then, I’ve been working pretty diligently — at least one hour every day and getting rid of stuff. It’s amazing how much I have accumulated. I found notes for blog posts, printouts going back as far as the election of 2000, even articles by Andrew Sullivan that I had saved because I had agreed with them so strongly.

Today, I recycled two whole wastepaper baskets full of paper — as well as one bag of shredding. I have created space where once there was clutter and consolidated the papers, files and magazines that were once in three storage boxes into two.

I do need to learn to throw things away. As I took a break from sorting through papers to call a friend, he suggested that it is a sign of depression when you live with too much stuff. I’m not entirely sure if he’s right, but he does have a point.

I do think we tend to take comfort in our things, buying something sometimes not so much because we need it, but because the excitement of the purchase helps us forget a momentary anxiety or the difficulty of the day.

Perhaps then it’s a good sign that I begin the new year by focusing on ridding my apartment of the junk that has accumulated over the years, looking briefly into the past as I review these papers, saving some, trying to gather together what I have observed and then, to reflect on what I have learned and to move forward with less stuff, but more space, determined in the future to act on some of those ideas I had written about in the past.

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8 Comments

  1. Hey GPW, I’m a “packrat” as well; so I know what you went through. Here is a tip that is really good: if you haven’t used or read anything after a period of 1 year, throw it out. This 1 year method keeps my living quarters reasonably clean & organized.

    Comment by Jimbo — January 2, 2007 @ 10:00 am - January 2, 2007

  2. I completely sympathize with you, GPW….it’s amazing what we let ourselves accumulate. I myself cleaned out the home office this year after my layoff and shredded or otherwise disposed of more than 5 trashbags full of paper. I haven’t missed a single piece.

    Comment by Mike — January 2, 2007 @ 11:42 am - January 2, 2007

  3. As Thoreau once said, “Simplify, simplify.”

    Except for tax records, I never keep anything longer than a year or two. And here’s a helpful hint: don’t ever get warranties on anything. For starters, they don’t help a whit. Second, it reduces clutter considerably.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — January 2, 2007 @ 12:16 pm - January 2, 2007

  4. Anybody want to help me with the clutter in my office tomorrow? It ain’t going to be pretty.

    Comment by Pat — January 2, 2007 @ 3:25 pm - January 2, 2007

  5. […] Over the weekend, I’ve been continuing the process of reducing the amount of clutter in my apartment. As I go through drawers and closets, bookshelves and piles, I keep finding things that I should have discarded long ago. Sometimes, things bring up pleasant memories of the past, but more often than not, this stuff too often pulls me back into the past, reminding me of mistakes I have made and wrong turns I have taken. Or potentially beneficial actions I have neglected. […]

    Pingback by World and Global Politics Blog » Blog Archive » Of Writing and Space — January 29, 2007 @ 3:56 am - January 29, 2007

  6. […] One thing I have learned as I go through the mass of papers in my apartment is how long I have thought about these two “conversations.” I […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Gay Community’s Two Conversations on Marriage — June 27, 2008 @ 1:47 am - June 27, 2008

  7. […] read them as they were merely his original drafts of the story, never fully fleshed out. When I was cleaning my apartment at the beginning of 2007, I decided to give these to a local thrift store, given that I already had […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » GPW: Tolkien Geek — July 7, 2008 @ 12:01 pm - July 7, 2008

  8. […] read them as they were merely his original drafts of the story, never fully fleshed out. When I was cleaning my apartment at the beginning of 2007, I decided to give these to a local thrift store, given that I already had […]

    Pingback by GPW: Tolkien Geek | — July 15, 2008 @ 5:12 pm - July 15, 2008

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