Get rid of the junk

Chris and I are minimalists. We only want to have the bare necessities around. Now that does not mean the items in our home are not nice. Everything is very specifically chosen, but as minimalists we only have what we need, cherish, and truly want around. We are the opposite of packrats and hoarders. I just finished reading: “After a While You Just Get Used to It: A Tale of Family Clutter” by Gwendolyn Knapp — which made me think of my own childhood.

Knapp is very descriptive about her mom’s home, but in a nice way. You get the point that her mom is a hoarder. It is funny how you do not really know the world you live in until sometimes you are far away from it. Growing up I do not remember our house having a lot of crap in it. We did not have nice things, but there was not crap every where. The couch we had was gross, had many holes (thanks to the dogs), and was not what you would think of if you were looking at a couch. My mom would cover it with sheets, mostly because she did not want anyone to see what it really looked like.

We were not hoarders, but I think looking back that my dad was a packrat. If you came into our house you would not see it. He kept it in his “office.” He had an office in the upstairs of our house. It was his area, and there were lots of papers. He kept everything. He also had an office/garage of sorts for his flailing business. There his packrat tendencies were with “tools.” My dad was a contractor. He had 100’s of every type of tool, and always found a reason he needed another. His garage was filled with money in the form of tools — money that should have been used to buy food to feed his family. Alas.

I remember when he passed on and we had to go through his possessions. We filled storage units that equaled the size of a two-car garage. This was not for furniture or clothes or belongings. It was for his tools and files. We took inventory of everything and had to go through it all. Sadly, most of it went into a dumpster (the files) and the tools given away or sold. There wasn’t anything that amounted to much. Sharing all of this brings me back to the point of: What do we keep and why do we keep it?

Chris and I have carefully selected the items in our home, we discuss together the merits of keeping or getting rid of things. We think through “why” we are keeping something. Does it have meaning? In a time where people want to feel like they belong, do you think that people use stuff to find meaning in their lives? That maybe surrounding themselves with things (whether trivial or meaningful) helps them feel less lonely and that they have more in their life? I often wonder that about my dad. What did all that stuff mean to him? I would rather hold the memories inside, and get the clutter out of my life.

What do you think?

Reading minds and pooping pants

Have you ever thought about what you would ask for if you could be given superpowers? I often have and I always come to the same conclusion — I would want to read people’s minds. Whenever I give that answer others raise their eyebrows and think WHY!?! For me my biggest pet peeve, or strongest pain point, is trust and honesty. I often wonder how often are others really telling the truth and how often are they telling you what they think you want to hear.

I can take it — give me what you really think. I truly believe being honest and direct while sometimes hard — it is the only way to go truly deep. Going deep brings people closer together, it creates trust, bonds, and often allows others to open up. When we stay on the surface and never go deep, what is there to bring you closer together? Think about it in relation to a flower – the deeper the root the harder to pull out of the ground. I want those close to me in my life to have roots that are deep, and I would rather pull the loose flowers and remove them from my life.

Back to the superpower of reading minds. Many that have heard that as my response think “you would go crazy with all that information” and I think maybe, but it would be reality. A fun conversation with a friend last night makes me think of one other superpower that would be fun to have — but maybe slightly malicious. Have you ever been in a meeting with someone and they just got under your skin? They were rude, or condescending, or did not treat you with respect. You want to put them in their place, but you might not have the leverage to do so. Our fun conversation circled back to how fun (or funny) it would be if you had the power to make them poop their pants in a meeting every time they were rude to someone, or maybe a loud fart came from them. Maybe not the nicest thing to think about, but it might provide the comic relief to break barriers (among other things).

What would you pick for your superpower?