Tale From the Cluttered Crypt: 13 Realizations
It was a dark and stormy day. No work could be done in the yard, so there was no excuse to put off dealing with the basement. I put on scruffy clothes, grabbed the broom and a roll of garbage bags and switched on the light in the basement stairwell. Thunder. The lights flickered, but remained on. Dust bunnies rolled by at the bottom of the stairs, prompted by an unknown draft. I got a whiff of stale basement air, that brew of old concrete, a bit of damp, aging cardboard boxes, a 45-year-old water heater, and whatever chemical is given off by stacks of plastic storage bins. Real healthy. But my mission was good and true, and I continued down the zig-zag stairs into the Netherworld beneath my clean and uncluttered house.
I surveyed the scene before me. As far as I could see, there were areas of items and boxes roughly grouped by type or date of use, the result of a previous “organizing” effort. I approach one of them: tools, caulking, leftover hardware from a home repair project. Another: boxes of files from the business before last. Yet another: clothing from twenty pounds ago. And still another: obsolete or broken computer peripherals. One after another the stacks and boxes and bags were of the past, were over and done with. Thunder struck again, and I suddenly realized:
The space beneath my home was a graveyard!!! Over here there was the Old Hobby crypt, over there was the Ghost of Christmas Decorations Past, and further back I could see the Mausoleum of Moving Day, the things that never got unpacked. Anything and everything I looked through had memories and past-ness oozing and swooping out of it, the forever and ever gone and done. Memories of laughter in the box of party supplies turning yellow with age; the sound of dial-up service when opening the old computer cabinet; faces of clients in the labels on old stacks of blueprints. Use any of it? Nevermore!
Truly, this inorganic necropolis was enough to disturb the chi of the most serene of homes. I set forth, wielding broom and bags, commending the stuff to the Useless, the Useful, and the Free to a Good Home. In surprisingly short order, this intrepid ghostbuster and her trusty sidekick Spouse (he’s gonna get me for this) blasted through the dinge and the darkness and the noxious stuffiness and restored The Basement to its roomy, airy, and Unhaunted glory.
Epilogue: 13 Scary Minimalist Realizations
- We bought too much for ourselves
- Others bought too much for us
- We were ruled by guilt and habit
- We need surprisingly few things to be happy
- Our little house is almost too big for us
- Our kids don’t want our crap
- We don’t want their crap, either
- Minimalist businesses are way more efficient than other kinds
- We only need one set of anything, but have four sets of screwdrivers
- Elaborate holiday decorations are really about outdoing the Joneses
- The older you get, the fewer things you will even be able to use
- Your kid’s childhood didn’t last very long, but his Teenage Ninja Turtles will never biodegrade
- Old gas-fueled water heaters are very bad for you, your house, and your heating bills.
I'll Be Baaaack!!!