I just finished the first 8-week class of the semester. I was so overwhelmed with the emotional and intellectual load that I had no time to think about my surroundings. Now I have three days off and I can refocus on the MOUNDS OF GARBAGE I OWN! I complained of this before when I moved, but I am sick of stuff! Too much stuff. I am overrun with stuff. No, stuff is too nice a word. Junk. Crap. It’s useless junk that’s pouring out of every corner of my room, and I am sick to it! I am getting ready to purge…again, because every time I think I have gotten rid of significant amounts of stuff, I look at my room and I still feel like it’s cluttered with only God knows what!
I am now (back) on the quest to simplify my life, and with the help of some philosophy, I will find the path to good life. I recently listened to a philosophy audio lecture series (because I am a nerd and that’s what I play in my car instead of the radio), and in one of the lectures, the professor focused on “defining the good.” What do we think is good? How do we decide what to allow into our lives? Ultimately, he gave Aristotle’s 3 fold test deciding whether something is worth doing: 1) is it moral, 2) does it bring me joy, and 3) is it necessary for life? These are the only reasons to do anything.
I am attempting to apply this three-fold criterion to my worldly possessions. I am looking at everything I own, and I am asking first, “do I own this for some moral, spiritual reason”? Bible, spiritual books, and things of that nature fall into that category. Second, I am asking “does my owning this item bring me joy?” Joy is often confused with amusement or entertainment. When I think about it, there are only a few things that I do just because I like it. Things like my journals, sketchbooks, mugs, and books DIRECTLY contribute to my joy rather than simply distracting me for a while. Third, I am asking “do I NEED this for my LIFE.” Food, water, clothing, and to a lesser extent, car, phone, and computer fall into this category.
Now…if only decluttering my life in reality were a simple as philosophizing about it on paper. But I will not give up! I know this streamlining thing is not a novel idea. Many other people before me have started down this path and have called it “minimalism.” I read a blog once about minimalism that basically challenged the readers to get rid of 1 item a day for 30 days. The emotional process gets harder each day because we keep things we don’t need for emotional and psychological reasons. The journey is about more than being tidy. It’s introspection. I am going to recommence the minimalist challenge, and I challenge everyone else to try it as well. Comment below and tell me what you’re getting rid of! Next Friday, I will post my first week’s discards. We shall see what I learn along the way.