Apr 242012

Monday I had some big plans. Take care of some Internet work in the morning. Stop by and pick up a package I was expecting in the early afternoon, head downtown for sunset. It all fell apart when I noticed the broken pedal on the bike was about at the end of it’s economical usefulness. So I pulled it off and took off for the local bike shop about a mile away. It wasn’t particularly hot so I walked to the bank first and then the bike shop, and then home. Only to find out the new pedals don’t fit. So back out again, trade them for the correct ones, back, and install. Since I’m doing bike maintenance I adjust the brakes which I noticed have worn down mostly due to the bent rim on the rear wheel. Since I had to go into town anyways, I took the bus, got the new brake pads at a different place and stopped to pick up my package, which had not arrived yet. I got back and by now it’s 2:00 in the afternoon and I’ve accomplished nothing. I still need to make a run to the groceteria. I get the brakes fixed, load up the back pack and head for a food run. I swing by a second time and finally my package is in. Grab some food and by the time I get home it’s close to 4:00 and I still have shit to do. So much for sunset.

Finally after I ate I looked around at the debris from the pedal replacement and the package I got in. Since pedals are sold in pairs I’m now stuck with a spare. I have a garbage bags worth of packaging from the pedals, brakes, and the new Internet device I ordered in. I have receipts laying all over the place and I notice that I seem to be acquiring clutter despite my best efforts to be rid of it.

As I said earlier, I’ve added an iPhone to the mix meaning I now have a mini Apple store with me, the iPhone, iPad, and a MacAir. I picked up a new set of earplugs last month at the dollar store, which work surprisingly well, but now I have two sets since the iPhone came with one. It all reminds me that just because I minimalized last year, doesn’t mean it sticks. Minimalism requires constant vigilance against the forces of clutter and consumerism. It’s real easy to settle into a place like I have in this little apartment and slowly start acquiring things, little though they may be. Some have a one time use, others become part of the regular routine. But the bottom line is they are more things. I have a couple drawers now where spare parts and a few other things have settled in. They have become part of the “I might need that” category. I can leave them lay and not worry about it. When I’ve moved on those things can stay behind. No harm, no foul. But it’s the whole mindset of no clutter that gets in the way. I justify the drawer full of extra crap and then it gathers more and more. Before you know it another drawer fills, then a cabinet, then a closet, then stuff starts piling up. Then I start thinking I need a bigger place and so on and so on.

What it all boils down to is that I will need to do a mini purge. Go over everything again and shit can all but the essentials. I may do a test, fill the backpack with what I would take if I was moving, and get rid of the rest. The upside is the amount of money I spent on the current pile of clutter is minimal.

It may seem like I’m fussing over some really minor issues but trust me, clutter can get out of control really fast if you ain’t paying attention. One minute you’re sitting around all content with your 100 things. The next you’re wondering where all this crap came from. So, every so often do a mini purge. Sort everything out like you did in the beginning when you started to minimalize. The essentials, by now you know what they are. The fluff, you know what that is too. Use the old tried and true test. Did you need or use it within a specified time period? If not, get rid of it.

Remember, the clutter monster never sleeps. But every once in awhile it pays to give it a good swift kick in the ass just to let it know who is boss. Less is more.

Capt. Fritter