Letting Go of the Past: Mastering Our Attachment to Stuff

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Last updated on February 19th, 2024 at 08:35 pm

Blergh. This post would’ve totally come out earlier, but got wrapped up in all sorts of stuff—dodgeball, taking on an additional role at work this week due to my colleague being on vacation—it’s just been busy. But I’m committed to getting you that daily content, so here I am 😊 !

So I made some progress in the Quest for Less yesterday—not as much as I’d hoped, but I soon found that the goals I’d set had been slightly naïve. My room is filled with memories, minutia and memorabilia from moments past. (Feel free to quote that.) Although our stuff is transient and in many cases will not outlast us, we can’t immediately discount the emotional bonds we form with it. Instead of dumping things outright, we categorize them—putting them in piles depending on their function, or perhaps the ever-ambiguous “maybe” pile 😊 Some things that helped to get me sorted included these approaches:

Magazines: keep only the good stuff

Magazine are at LEAST 60% ads these days, right? And many of them in many magazines don’t even look all that good. Going back through a lot of old issues I had laying about, I found that by tearing through them—literally tearing them apart — I was able to separate what I found awesome and inspirational from all the fluff. This helped to clear up a LOT of space in my room, but there’s still a ton to go before I can call the job finished. Some magazines were easier to toss away than others; the ones I’m finding hard to part with so far are:

  • Esquire
  • Complex
  • Wired
  • Anything to do with digital art

Eventually, I’ll get there. Baby steps, people. Baby steps…

Office Supplies: keep office stuff at the office

Sarah gave me this brilliant idea—my room was packed with office supplies and course materials from courses that I’d previously taken at work, much of which was likely never going to be used again. Or at least not until I have kids of my own. Now, seeing as how signs are pointing to me being out of the house well before this ever happens (it’s also biologically impossible from what I know, since I should be out and transplanted to Toronto in less than four months…), that means I have a lot of crap collecting dust. So what I did instead is round it all up, pack it up, and get it to the office, where my coworkers can hopefully find more use out of the stuff than I’d been in the last many years.

Let’s NOT get physical

In an age where we increasingly find more of our info on the Internet, what should we keep physical copies of? For me, the answer is only things I can’t explain using my computer or a camera. So things like textures, or cool promotional materials and ideas. Unsurprisingly, as with many things that inspire us, this is not the majority of all the articles, clippings and sketches that were in my room. So I have a growing pile of things I want to scan in and categorize. Whether it’s stuff for a style file, inspiring images and layouts for web design or just articles I’m interested in reading, I think that for me the digital route is definitely the way to go. I’m hoping that it’ll be a collection of images that’ll keep my mind racing on how I can push boundaries in the things I create.

And so this is the story of how I wound up coming in to work on a Monday morning with a laptop bag, side carry-all and suitcase full of crap that I no longer need. Bit of a pain, for sure, but I look forward to the payoff. Anyone who has (been privileged enough to have) known me for quite some time knows that I tend to have a habit of carrying a lot of stuff. TOO much stuff. In grade 10, I went through three school bags in the span of 6 months before I discovered Mountain Equipment Co-op. Bought a bag there and it pretty much lasted until I graduated; been buying stuff there ever since. But yeah—this will be the start of many trips to Goodwill for donations; Future Shop to recycle my old electronics; maybe giving some books to the public library—I have a lot of stuff and the more you have, the more people there are who could do more with it than you could. If you don’t want to have the potential responsibility of enriching the lives of others, one way to avoid it is to have nothing to enrich it with, material possessions being one such thing 😊

So yes, with every day, life becomes a bit neater, a bit more organized and theoretically speaking, the bigger picture of what I’m trying to accomplish in life becomes a bit clearer. Too bad I haven’t really taken the time to do so as of late. But I do hope to be able to show you pictures sooner than later of neater bookshelves, sorted ideas and all-around improvement.

Enjoy yourselves, folks—it’s time for Mr. P. to call it a night.

Adios amigos,

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad



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