Let’s talk about stuff….as in having less of it

As I drive around the back alleys of my neighborhood, I am able to take a peak into many of my neighbor’s open garages as they pull out the mower or get ready for their morning commute. It’s still shocking to see just how much stuff some of these people have. Inside what would normally be a two car garage are piles and piles of things, boxes and papers and objects that take up so much room the car can barely fit or the owner is forced to park on the sidewalk in front of her house.

When we first moved down here to Texas several years ago, I barely wanted to unpack everything. Sure, a lot of the stuff I had was cool or interesting but also bulky. We had little toys and sculptures and knick-knacks. You know those cool toy rooms that we nerds take so much pride in? I don’t in mine. I am dismantling it this year for one reason: I have to dust that shit.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love nerdy things like statues of monsters or odd little plastic dealies. But…I am 38. Wait, hang on a second.

Seriously, I just forgot how old I am. Seriously, give me a second.

OK I am 37 years old. Whoa. That was odd.

Anyway, I am 37 years old. I might still feel the same as I did when I was 20 (at least I think I do) and I certainly don’t feel “old” but I do feel mature. With my maturity has come this obsession with getting rid of things, plastic bits of shit that take up room and gather dust. I have sold off many of my old toys on Ebay, packed up all but the choicest tidbits I could, and am slowly organizing my entire life from my ancestors to the current day and putting it in digital form online.

Why? A few reasons.

a) Digital doesn’t dust. That paranoid feeling I used to get about saving all of the paper in my life is gone. I can scan it in and actually have the chances of it surviving go up, not down. A hard-drive and several digital copies can live possibly forever. Paper cannot. I scan in my drawings and anything else I find interesting and either throw the stuff away or, in the case of my art, store it flat.

b) It makes me feel good to have all of my shit in a row. I don’t know why, but I am sure there is some actual underlying insecurity about death or fading away or forgetting the past that is making me want to do this so much more this year.

Whatever the reasons, I just don’t like stuff anymore. I am working very hard to make my life condensed into a few items of clothing, a digital device or two, and a lovely wife and animals. I want to be able to have a single device that I can open and show my entire life to someone. It’s not that I think anyone might care to see that, but it’s just something I need to do. And, it’s cleaner. No paper means less trash and less pollution and less space taken up in my house. I have taken down all of my art and replaced it with a few black and white simple sketches in two dollar frames.

I’m also sick of all the wires that a house comes with. I go wireless most of the time, except when I need a direct connection to stream games or perform heavy internet tasks like video editing online. Being wireless means that me and my one device can go sit in the bedroom, or better yet, near the back door with it open, a lovely spring breeze flying in. Being mobile means being clean, free to move around and organized.

The devices are getting so much cheaper, more powerful and common. I predicted that the browser will be delivering most of our gaming content within 5 years, and I also predict that within 15 or so more most of us will just use a tablet and work wirelessly. Want a larger screen? Stream it from your pad. The even better news is that this freedom and lower cost means that I can somehow (not sure how yet) help this tech go to those people who need it the most where information might save a life, help fight a crop disease or to document crimes.

Or, maybe I put all my stuff into boxes and scan the rest of it in because I want nothing to do with staying in one place. This house we rent is definitely no home and there is no way in Hell we would buy a house. When you buy a house, you rent it — it’s not yours until the bill is paid in full. This way I can pick up at any time and go somewhere. Maybe I can travel to another country and show them new technologies? It might sound silly, but MMO gaming is very social and can quite possibly be a fantastic vehicle for spreading knowledge and teaching empathy. Or maybe I’m just thinking about it too much.

The point is I am sick of stuff. I have my knick-knacks but now I want to streamline everything. I want to tweak my lifestyle until it is pretty damned efficient, organized, cheaper and happier. These can all happen.

I think my project will be done within the year, at least mostly. I will store it online and download back up copies. Several of them. I will store them in different places. I will store a copy in a fireproof box.

Who knows, those ideas and digital knick-knacks might be handy someday?






Author: Beau Hindman

I write for a living, which means that I sit around in my PJs all day. I love it. www.beauhindman.com

2 thoughts on “Let’s talk about stuff….as in having less of it”

  1. It’s a wonderful dream, Beau. I’m nearly 41 (sigh), even if I don’t look it, and somewhere along the line I also seem to have lost an attachment to things, at least in the physical world.

    The one possible exception is books: I’ve got over 2000 novels, bookcases full of them. They’re bulky as hell. With ebook readers becoming so prevalent and easy to read from, I’m now wondering if even they are no longer essential to hang onto.

    These days, I keep everything important digital and stored in the cloud. The goal is that my computer could vanish, and I wouldn’t lose anything.

    I do wonder if something went wrong somewhere with me, in that I just have no interest in knick knacks. I’d be perfectly happy in an otherwise empty room, with just essential (comfortable) furniture and a computer or networked device. Preferably with big windows, overlooking some scene of natural beauty. While it’s conceptually nice to consider working outside, in Australia it’s really safer to stay indoors. 🙂

    So yeah, I don’t think what you’re doing is strange at all. I salute your efforts, and look forward to reading about how it works out.

    1. Well it’s good to hear that it’s not just me. haha

      The books were some of the first things to go once we wen’t digital. Unless they’re a sentimental thing, we pack em and get a digital copy.


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