This little yellow plastic thing has been haunting me for months. It showed up in the kitchen one day, and nobody in my house knows what it is. It goes from counter to bowl to shelf to window sill, waiting to be recognized and reunited with whatever it goes to.
And I can’t throw it away. Because I’m not rich.
Whatever this goes to will need it someday, and I don’t want to have to buy a new whatever it is.
Last year, someone threw away a small piece of red plastic and it turned out to be essential to a computer adapter. Without that adapter, I could no longer use my old printer, which worked great. I had no reason to buy a new one until I no longer had a way of connecting to the old one. My efforts to replace the adapter failed, and I had to replace the whole printer.
Waste not, want not. Katy Waldman described this conundrum well in Slate Magazine, in which she responds to a story about Graham Hill, a childless kajillionaire bachelor who downsized to a 420-foot studio apartment.
Mr. Hill breathes rarified, purified air. I am so glad he’s pulling as little as possible from our planet’s resources. I think many more people should follow his lead. Especially childless bachelors, who don’t need room for a diaper pail and diapers and a crib and a rocking chair and a changing station and toys and clothes and a bouncy saucer and a stroller and a swing and bottles and baby food and formula and unbreakable tableware and bibs. By all means, get your wardrobe down to 20 items that are dry-cleaned weekly. And make sure when you marry you find someone who does the same. Good luck with that.
We could all do with less crap. It doesn’t feel good to have all this crap everywhere. Especially if you’re home a lot, having been, say, laid off last week. If you have the time, and don’t feel stressed about not spending that time pounding the pavement oh my god I have got to get a job. You might feel a little better if you cleaned up some of this how the hell did our house get to this point?
So here’s your chance to make a dent. But how do you pare things down? “What if I need this someday?” speaks louder than “Can I get rid of this?” because it speaks from a place of fear and caution. So the little yellow thing gets put back on the counter, or in a drawer. It doesn’t do any harm there, in and of itself, amongst all the other things. It doesn’t take up much space.
But it takes up a little energy, thinking about it, trying to find something else in that drawer that has one too many things in it, and all the little energies add up.
So I’m going to try.
First, I’m going to start to decrapify my home. This is based on a web site with a much more dramatic term. Here are their top four fundamentals, very abbreviated:
1. Make an effort for 20 minutes at a time. Don’t overdo it.
2. Put things away, especially dishes and laundry.
3. Get rid of stuff.
4. Get off your ass and do something, anything
Today, I put away all the laundry, and the dishes are done. I feel like I accomplished something. I hope to give it at least 20 minutes per day, and maybe even start getting rid of some crap. As
for that little yellow thing? I’m sure I’ll figure out what it goes to any day
now. I'll probably come across its home while I'm decrapifying.