Life Laundry

Over the past week or so, prompted by an overwhelming urge, I have been de-cluttering my life. And despite my reservations about it initially, the whole process has been a joy.

Over the years I have accumulated vast quantities of books, DVDs and more recently Blu-Rays. I can safely say that I am one of life’s natural hoarders. Once I have something in my possession I will often file it away unread or unwatched with the thought in my head that I will, ‘Save it for another day’. Most of the time I will do exactly that, but sometimes that object taking up space (which is what something remains until it is actually used for what it was intended) will continue to take up space and be ignored in favour of something newer or more appealing. And eventually I will grow to resent their presence when I next move flats and lug them around in heavy boxes.

It dawned on me recently, after years of looking at these objects, that I really don’t need many of these things. In some cases I have attached ridiculous emotional or sentimental attachments to things, and in others (books, usually) I have created equally ludicrous reasons for hanging on to stuff that I’m simply never going to read or, in many cases, never read again (despite my best intentions).

So I have just said goodbye to 150 DVDs and over 50 books. Well, I will once Music Magpie come and collect the films and Fatbrain send me the labels I need to post the books.

The way I look at it now, if I’m not going to watch or read something I own then it’s simply another object (and a useless one at that). The whole point of films or books are that they should enrich your life in some way (even if that’s as simple as providing a few hours or days of entertainment). If they aren’t being used they aren’t enriching your life – they are just more clutter, an object you own that ends up owning you because you lug it around with you every time you move, creating ever more fanciful reasons for not getting rid of it.

The other thing  (in the cases of music and movies and to a lesser extent books) is that these things can now be bought digitally and stored on hard drives or computers and backed-up to anonymous clouds somewhere on the internet.

When you realise you can have your music and movie collection on one or two hard-drives rather than hundreds of discs, filling space on shelves or more usually taking up space in unopened boxes, you know there’s no reason to hang on to those discs any more.

I’ve come to realise that my reasons for hanging on to these things have run out. If I want a film I can stream it from any number of online services via my PS3 or computer or I can download it to a hard-drive to be watched later. If I want to read something then I should take one of the many books I already own down off the shelves and read it instead of buying new books.

It’s amazing how much better I feel now I realise that I’m shifting so much stuff out of my life. And once they are gone I guarantee you I’ll forget about them and the emotional reasons I created for hanging on to them for so long.

Now I just need to sort out this bloody insomnia that has me writing blog posts at 5 in the morning.