Stuff I

by zenquaker

As I may have mentioned, over the past two or three years I have gotten rid of 85% to 90% of the stuff I own. Why? I didn’t need it. It was bogging me down. It was getting in the way of things I wanted to do with my life. In the Habit Course I am taking, some people have started a habit of de-cluttering, and I have been sharing my experiences with getting rid of stuff to help them out.

Today was a long day and I didn’t sleep well last night, so I got on the wrong bus at the metro station on the way home. I remember thinking “Man, this guy’s going really fast. He’s going to miss the exit onto Shady Grove Rd.”

So I get off and figure I’ll walk to the mall, have dinner there, and catch a bus home. It turns out there is no shortcut to the mall through where I thought there was one, so I ended up wandering the long way around. Into a barbed wire topped fence that induced more wandering the even longer way around. I’m wandering and thinking about the whole de-cluttering thing, and suddenly it hits me: my back pack is really heavy. If getting rid of 85% of my stuff was meant to free me from clinging to my stuff, then why do I insist on carrying around all this junk every day?

Well, that’s actually easy to answer: I’m paranoid. The whole thing started as a DHS approved disaster survival kit. Maybe the coil of rope was overboard.

Tonight I decided to take everything out of the backpack. Take everything in it that I haven’t used in the past year (like the rope, and binoculars, and the lighter…) and set it aside. Then see if I can pare it down to see if I can get by on just what fits in my pockets. Try that for a week and see how it goes. Here’s what was in the backpack:

  1. Binoculars
  2. Napkin
  3. Another napkin (there was only supposed to be one)
  4. Kindle
  5. Rope
  6. 3 bicycle tire irons
  7. Bungee cord
  8. Another bungee cord
  9. Bicycle tire patch kit
  10. Allen wrench (for bicycle rear view mirror)
  11. Leatherman multitool
  12. Towel
  13. Car keys
  14. Bike lock keys
  15. Lighter
  16. Sunglasses
  17. Compass (a real one)
  18. Reusable grocery bag
  19. Minimag flashlight
  20. Netbook with power cord
  21. Umbrella
  22. Wallet

I decided to just keep the wallet for now. I even took some stuff out of it. I also took the emergency whistle and the USB drive off my key chain. I almost kept the napkin. I use for when I’m at restaurants, to avoid using paper napkins. But they always give me paper napkins anyway, and I’m not sure they don’t throw them out anyway. Besides, the plan now is to keep the bike-useful stuff in the backpack. I need the back pack anyway for the portable pump and the lock(s). Most of the time I go to restaurants I’m biking anyway, so I can just put the napkin in with the bike stuff.

I also use the grocery bag and the umbrella on a regular basis, but with a little foresight I can carry those on an as needed basis.