You really notice how much stuff you have when you move house. All the objects you've been hiding in drawers, cupboards and bookshelves hang out like an old man's nappy for all to see. You have created a mountain of crap. It's terrifying, depressing and humiliating.
You bust a gut to move it all into the new place only to spend days rehiding the stuff there. The things you didn't need at the last place are now in the new place never to be used there either.
Most possessions bring nothing but storage and haulage. Why do we allow this crap into our lives in the first place? Weakness, laziness and the misapprehension that objects can bring happiness.
"You don't get a prize at the end of your life for having consumed more, spent more or collected more" - Ryan Holiday.
For most of our species' existence, we moved every day and carried everything with us. We set up camp each night and packed it all up the next day. Owning something was a big, heavy deal for our ancestors.
If modern humans had to carry everything we own, we wouldn't keep 50 T-shirts, 25 pairs of shoes and 15 years of useless Christmas gifts from relations we don't like. You wouldn't have 50 plates, 12 half-empty bottles of Spray N Wipe and 200 DVDs you haven't watched in 10 years. You wouldn't load a breadmaker, two rice cookers and three generations of PlayStation on to your back. Our forefathers had one stick and a set of skins to wear. They were happy with that.
Many of us spend hours fighting through drawers of clothes, looking for something to put on. Some of us can't close the door to our bedroom due to the neglected jackets on the handle.
Our mountains of crap are the result of 1000s of moments of weakness. We don't have the guts to get rid of things when they become useless; we don't fight the urge to buy pointless stuff in the first place. Instead, we choose to wedge crap into every available space we have. We hide our shame until shift day when we must face it.
As luck would have it, I purchased a new place on the day of lockdown. I am sitting here staring at my useless crap, waiting for level 3 so I can move it. The piles in front of me are a filthy manifestation of weakness. They represent moments I was tricked into buying things I didn't need. A waste of money, time and resources. We should all be disgusted with the amount of stuff we have in our houses. These objects are time thieves; they are here to steal your life from you.
"Life is long enough if we spend it well. But when it's poured down the drain of luxury and neglect, we finally see that it has passed by before we even recognised it passing. And so it is – we don't receive a short life, we make it so." – Seneca
There are better things to do with our time than collecting and dealing with inanimate objects. How many thousands of hours have you worked to pay for stuff you don't need? We could spend this time with the people we love. We could do something good, experience things, connect with other humans.
"Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life's excess in favour of focusing on what's important — so you can find happiness, fulfilment and freedom." – The Minimalists.
What you buy costs a lot more than the price marked on it. Every item, no matter how small, is a big decision. Together your possessions can cost you your soul and your life.
What can we do to save ourselves?
1. Start by not buying things you don't need. When you are about to purchase something - don't. Wait a week. The desire will pass.
2. Cut off the flow of gifts; they take more than they give. Tell people in advance of Christmas, birthdays and weddings, to give you money, advice, a hug, love or just their presence. Anything that you don't have to take with you when you move.
Minimalism is the way. Unnecessary things are expensive at any price. Life with less crap - is less crap.