TLDR: I am decluttering my life. On my own terms.
If your span of attention is higher than one sentence, read on and you will see how I got to create my own word "Zeninifcation" as a start to take action against the fact that I have more crap than I need and it is sucking my time just to keep it out of the sight.
I don't like clutter. I don't do things I don't like.
Even if my wife disagrees, no, I don't have OCD according to this one random article. But I do consider clutter a distraction to my thinking process.
It's like if you always dress like a slob then that one day you have to dress nicely it feels specially constraining. Or if you normally dress like a New Yorker stock exchange assassin; the few days in a row that you are in your PJ feels like after you finished your huge McDonald's burger the first week of when you started a strict diet.
I am overly active and keeping the thinking streamlined is essential to focus just on what matters the most. Therefore, it is not an OCD against cluttering, it is a choice to keep my thinking clear.
Let's dig deeper.
I moved from Europe to the U.S.A. about 18 years ago, by the time of this post. At first, as most ex-pats, I noticed right away all the macro differences of the hosting country. Everything is bigger in size. People seem to be this and that... I recall my wife saying "mom....! Even the paper towel is bigger. It's actually huge!". After a few years into the melting pot, I start spotting the weird things from an angle of who wasn't born in the town.
More than anything I kept noticing one particular habit that others had (anyone from anywhere) they were shopping by opportunity and not as I was raised, by need.
If that statement sounds cryptic to you, let me explain:
In places where economy and socio-dynamics are not the same as the ones we experience in most of America on a daily basis, people buy things on the basis of:
to do X, I need Y, I don't have it therefore I am going to the store to get it.
The friction is so high that you end up spending money on just the essentials because the process to get it is harder and the mentality is: I might get it done without buying anything.
in most of America, the mental workflow is:
a price drop is splashed in your face, and your brain thinks how much you can future proof save on something that you may or may not need, right now. It's the opportunity that triggers the spending not the necessary. And the most common expression you hear people saying is:
It was a great deal, I couldn't pass it on!
Black Friday matters... even if you don't need anything.
If you are not fully Americanized or fully Amazon-ed that last statement might sound logical but not factual to you, yet. Give it some time, even if you are the most stingy of all, soon or later you are going to crack my friend. #True_story.
Typically that faulty consumeristic ad logic is followed by a quick Amazon trip which normally, like when you walk in any retail store, ends up with additional purchases that they just happen to drop in your eyesight at the time of buying something that perhaps wasn't that essential in the first place.
I recall keeping thinking about why people do that?! "if you don't need it why buying it?!" - I also remember thinking "you will end up feeding the system which generates more waste of your health (pollution) and your hard-gained money." I remember watching parodies like the one below and thinking "so true! That's not going to be me!"
Well, sure enough, if you play with the devil long enough soon or later you become evil too. They say... and hey if they don't say that, they should... soon or later - our #45 shameful president say so!
So after almost two decades, I end up having so much crap in our home that I keep spending time reorganizing and building new storage locations.
Like any other diligent engineering mindset out there, I label things, I try to keep records so that I don't end up buying another HDMI cable when probably another seven thousand are hidden in the place that made sense at the time of again, reorganizing.
So now I am officially entering the new phase of full adoption in a country that I feel is as close to me as my birthplace. Fixing problems that I created while starring at the obvious differences between the two continents I belong to.
I am going minimalistic and get rid of stuff that might be somebody else treasure when I will post the ads.
Like new, cash only. You pick up.
And just like any other bad gambler, after so many reposts of the same AD in the usual places, I will put something on my street with the free sign.
Ignoring that most people in the same life stage that I am now, they like things that they don't need, to be delivered by their doorstep, by the Amazon masked up people. Thanks, COVID! Therefore I will experience the ultimate defeat shopper loss just to get rid of my shit.
Like any other middle-class well-educated individual that is getting older, between a meditation session and some healthy food I am going to read a bunch of good articles on decluttering, making sure that every person I know becomes aware of it and then initiate the process of selling/giving away my crap.
I am wise not because I am particularly smart or savvy. It is because I accelerate my failures so much that I learn my lessons faster than most. And compound knowledge of failures when transferred from one domain to the other is really smart in action.
Or by using words from Edison aka Nikola's Walmart boss said:
Actually, he didn't say "that" according to historians but eventually he was right.
I am not seeking some new-age fad to distract my brain from purchasing stuff that I don't need. Time is everything to me. Literally everything! And the excess of things is consuming my time when I have to find yet another place to keep things out of sight.
So here's what I am going to do:
- I will start room by room collecting things that I haven't used in over one year. Put them into a box
- Put those boxes somewhere on our property that is "in the face."
- The more I see those boxes the more will annoy the heck out of me
- If months later I haven't opened any of those boxes then the Nirvana has been found.
- If I need anything that may or may not is in those boxes, I will buy it again but this time putting a lot of thoughts into the process. I have done this really well with the tools I have bought for home improvement and I have naturally nailed it without too much thinking. If it works don't change it.
- The things I will immediately decide "I haven't used this in X time" will go immediately for sale.
- No free stuff. Everything must have a price. I usually give away valuable things for $1 to my Facebook friends and the idea behind it is philosophical and I will therefore strictly be applying that concept. Unless is through networks like this where the philosophy behind is as good as mine of the $1 logic.
- No negotiations. This means who asks for less than I ask in an unreasonable way (super common on the Facebook marketplace) I will rather dump it myself. Not just because it is super annoying negotiating but because takes TIME from the steering wheel.
- I will repeat the process every year but without losing the cushioning comfort of having what I need for the things I usually do. I am a full-time inventor, I need things to make faster progress so decluttering can't be at the expense of pursuing God's gift of inventing from nothing.
- I will put into a jar a stone every time I end up missing something that I tossed. On each stone, I will pen the money I had to spend to bring that thing back into my life. When the jar is full I do the math and improve the process for the future. Seeing is believing and changing...
I used the stone jar in. the past to correct things that I didn't like about myself and it worked so everlastingly. That it is usually my last resort to win over bad habits and what I picked here in the land of opportunity is a bad habit.
Let the good fight begin!
I have received a very surprising number of messages through multiple forms of communication that people enjoyed what I shared. As far as California and Netherlands! I am obviously very happy to see that and more than people are taking control of their own time and dime.
Boxing going strong and definitely in the face!
I have sold 99% of the things that I had packed. I put only one stone in the jar and it has been about 9 months since this process started. I know understand what Elon Musk refers to when he speaks about "I don't want any possession, they hold you down". Therefore, I will continue to pursue Zenification regularly and religiously. In time I will know what are the things that are really essential for a better balance. There has never been a better time to re-focus on what is most important. COVID has put that in our face and I do know that the biggest challenge of all, is to not take the first step but to stay on the unbeaten path. Till then, I will keep exploring the unknown in search of a better balance between owning and be owned.To all who sent updates about their own version of the Zenification, thank you! Your messages kicked off a change in my life beyond what I would have imagined I had the guts of acknowling and then pursue. Rock on. Simple is more, indeed.