So, what's happening this week, Gail?
Well, this week we're going to talk about three of the four archetypes authors Fortion and Quilici use to describe the reasons people have for holding on to material things. Why only three, Gail? Because I see myself in those three.
Why People Hold On To Material Things
#1. They Feel Connections. Connected people have "emotional, relational, and impassioned" ways of looking at the world, and they treasure family and friends. There's all kinds of great things about them. They tend to cling to things, though, because they feel that connection business. Sentimentality is an issue.
#2. They Are Practical. Lots of good things about practical people, too. Good at tasks, working toward objectives, or finding the answers to questions. They tend to not notice the material things piling up around them, presumably because they're working toward objectives. They can be blinded by the usefulness of items.
#4. They Are Frugal. What's not good about being frugal? They're very self-aware, eliminate expenses that don't support their lives, and are careful about how they expend their energy. They can become concerned about scarcity, though. They hold on to the knowledge that they've paid money for things.
Now, how does this work in terms of things piling up in your house and wrecking your work life?
Consider This Cast Iron Pot
Take a look at the cast iron Dutch oven to your right that I've had for more than...well, for a long, long time. I bought it at a flea market with my Aunt Tessy. I wanted it because I wanted to take up fireplace/woodstove and open fire cooking. I kid you not.
My pot and the New Minimalism archetypes:
#1. My feelings of connection. Aunt Tessy was big into shopping for and buying used stuff. When I was in college, I spent a day with her, going from one seedy place to another. Honest to God, we stopped at one place where there was a guy outside tending an open fire. Rolled right off Aunt T's back. Thought nothing of it, while I'm going, "Wh--wh--What?" That day I bought a rocking chair for either six or nine dollars that ten or twelve years later became our baby rocker. And then she helped me find this pot. It's just bubbling with meaning.
#2. I am so incredibly practical. Okay, it's true that the fireplace and open fire cooking came to naught. I think I tried to use this pot as an oven once or twice. And I definitely tried to make bean hole beans with it. Not a success. Mainly what I've used this pot for is holding candy at Halloween, because it looks like a witch's cauldron, get it? But, you know, I have cooked on a wood stove a few times when we've had a power outage. If that were to happen again, for a long enough time, I could use this pot. I would definitely learn how to bake in it. Maybe learn how to make bean hole beans. Sure, it's never happened yet. But it could.
#4. I am seriously frugal. I paid $19 for that pot! Aunt Tessy said it was a good price, but I think she was just being nice. I think I paid too much. I have to get my money's worth with this thing.
The New Minimalism authors provide strategies for dealing with these behaviors so you can shed yourself of things, things, things. I don't think I need them. Just recognizing why I've been holding on to that pot seems to be enough to get it out of my kitchen. Right now it's out in the garage, and it goes to the transfer station on Saturday.
How's The Office Cleaning Going, Gail?
I finally took another swing at cleaning the office this afternoon. There's a couple of dozen books in there that have been sitting on a top shelf for years. My husband's grandfather received them as rewards for subscribing to a newspaper back in the thirties or forties. As soon as I have time to climb up on my desk, those things are heading out of here. Connection is the only element that applies here. Clearly, we've decided we're not that connected.
So perhaps once you know why you hold onto things, you can start letting all kinds of possessions go.