Quote of the Day: “Actually this is just a place for my stuff, ya know? That’s all, a little place for my stuff. That’s all I want, that’s all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? I can see it on your table, everybody’s got a little place for their stuff. This is my stuff, that’s your stuff, that’ll be his stuff over there. That’s all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time.”
— George Carlin
I read this article today on Time.com about a “grassroots movement” of people pledging to pare down their possessions to 100 things. A patently ridiculous effort, especially considering the people quoted in the article considered such items as a 20 pair collections of shoes as one item. Even the subjects are not truly committed. Nonetheless, the thrust of the idea seems to be that making our lives simpler by accumulating less will be good for the soul and for the environment. Theoretically, it sounds really appealing, and I instantly made a silent commitment to see where I can de-clutter, decrease and dematerialize.
But first, I need to make my list. In hopes that someone will actually read this blog, I won’t name 100 things to keep, but I at least need to give some idea of what is important. My car (1), my laptop (2) and my clothes (3). I need to empty my closet by at least 50%, but the remainder counts only as one. I have to have my XBOX 360 and games (4) and all of my books (5). One cannot live without a bed (6), chair (7), television (8), or Ipod (9). You must have a refrigerator (10), a fork, a spoon, knife, and toothbrush (11-14). And toothpaste. (15) Now that I’m in the bathroom, I’m going to need a bar of soap at all times and some shampoo and towels(16-18). I only like to read under a lamp (19) and I can’t see the words without my glasses (20). My baseball cards have been with me for 30 plus years, so they aren’t going anywhere (21). And I’m keeping all my pictures (22). As Carlin said, you gotta have a house to keep all that stuff in (23). Already, if everything was itemized, I’d be well over 1000, so there’s really no point in going on. I’ll never be down to 100 unless my life takes a drastic turn for the worst.
But maybe there are some things that can go, besides out of style and ill fitting clothes. Maybe I should try and get rid of 100 things. Do I really need my college dishes and silverware–a motley collection of bar, spring break condo, and roommate deserted goods mixed with some chipped grandparent’s plates? I think I’ll count these individually (1-30). What about that slush puppy mini helmet collection? (Answer–don’t need it, but its staying.) I can get rid of the original Xbox (31). I don’t know when I’ll actually use that bed frame in the garage (32) or those cable boxes gathering cobwebs out there (33). It doesn’t look like my old car tags are going to be as useful as I once hoped (34-39). My dart board hasn’t been used in years, and the darts are long since disappeared, so out it goes (40). I have no idea why I’m hanging on to my gym membership card (41). That ought to save some space. Ok, this is getting a bit tougher. Eureka! Shoe boxes full of notes from high school (42-100).
Ahhhhhh. I do feel better. Simplification is good. Think I’ll go read some Thoreau.
Bonus Quote of the Day “Navin R. Johnson: Well I’m gonna go then. And I don’t need any of this. I don’t need this stuff, and I don’t need you. I don’t need anything except this.
[picks up an ashtray]
Navin R. Johnson: And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one – I need this. The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. And this. And that’s all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair.
Navin R. Johnson: And I don’t need one other thing, except my dog.
Navin R. Johnson: I don’t need my dog.
from “The Jerk”