A Brief Theory of (De-cluttering) Everything

Getting rid of things that just don’t matter goes a long way toward making room for things that do.

Yesterday, I posted about the millions and millions of search results out there for minimalism.  Today, the WordPress Daily Prompt happens to be simplify. (More on that here:  Daily Prompt: Simplify).

I’ve never done the Daily Prompt, but today seemed like a good day to start.  Minimalism has been on my mind as I go about the business of updating various parts of my house.  No big renovations, just some minor improvements, all of which I can handle myself with absolutely no training (which is exactly the amount of training I have).

One of the most important things I’m doing is getting rid of stuff. If I don’t actually use it, need it, or like it, it’s going.  It’s amazing how many things we hang on to just because we feel like we should.  I don’t mean sentimental things, I mean things that somehow found their way into the accretion disk swirling around my life’s event horizon.

Last year, I started putting some of the minimalist philosophy into practice.  Black t-shirts and blue jeans became my daily decent-weather look.  It’s slimming, it always matches, and it’s one less thing to worry about.  I have one go-to thermal hoodie for when it gets cold, and a black corduroy sport-coat style jacket when necessary.  I’ve had my boots for a year-and-half and just changed the laces.  I’m good for another 3000 miles at least.

This has been very freeing, and so I’ve started applying it to the way I (try to) organize my house.

One of the tenets of Apple-Store style minimalism is that open space is beautiful.  As a writer, I was trained to fill in blanks.  Yesterday, I put a shelf bathroom to keep the counter empty.  It turns out, open space is beautiful.  I feel kind of like a Jedi.

The little trash can on a track beneath my kitchen sink?  I don’t use it.  Gone.  The wine glasses on the top shelf of the cabinet?  When am I ever having wine with that many people?  I’ll fill them each with M&Ms and donate to the church’s raffle.  Exactly how many Tupperware lids with no corresponding vessels does one home need?  You know what time it is.

Excising the stuff from my life means making more room for better uses of my time and money.  It honestly feels like the physical practice of downsizing is helping me think better, like the brainstorm mess of everything I could keep around is giving way to just a few important points.  A thesis, if you will.  I’m eating healthier, drinking more water, and exercising more.  Getting rid of things that just don’t matter goes a long way toward making room for things that do.

 

 

Rainn Wilson Catches Me Off-Guard

Last night, someone said “Wonderwall is 17 years old.  Doesn’t that make you feel old?”

Nah. I was so much older then.  It turns out you’re never as old as you think, and years are way shorter than you’re able to see.

And then Rainn Wilson had to go and screw it all up.

For some reason, 1996 is one of my all-time favorite years.  Just something about it.

Michael Ian Black On Married Sex and Manhood; David Frum Thinks It Either Is or Isn’t 1992

Andrew Sullivan excerpts Michael Ian Black’s very thoughtful (and funny) post about marriage, sex, and what it means to be a man.

David Frum is trying to say “this election is not about the economy, stupid.”  But he starts with this:

 

David, the election will hinge on the economy. And also, you’re not using not correctly. I was 12 in 1992, so you’re going to have to trust me.

Tweeting Afghanistan

This has to stop.  The tours are too long, longer than anyone has been rightly trained for.  Longer than can be trained for, probably.  Soldiers have been deployed 7 and 8 times.  End it now. Bring them home.

We all know we’ll be running black ops for decades.  But how many lives are we willing to ruin?

The Appeal To Charm: Mike Schmidt’s Case Against Interleague Play

Philadelphia: Citizens Bank Park - Mike Schmid...
Image by wallyg via Flickr

Thank you, Mike Schmidt, for taking the public stance that interleague play has run its course.  I agree. And I LOVE your appeal to charm: once upon a time, the All-Star Game and the World Series really were the only showcase for the kinds of match-ups dreams are made of.  All of the reasons you cite for ending interleague play are right on, but your public allegiance to the idea of “charming uncertainty” as one of those unique, endearing baseball intangibles is, as it were, pitch-perfect:

“Isn’t something missing from the All-Star game and World Series? Think back to when they were played in an environment of charming uncertainty because the teams and players were from different leagues. What they knew of each other came from spring training games, television and scouting.

The buzz was always which league was better, how would a particular pitcher fare against the other league. One league was known for superior speed and power, the other for pitching, finesse and defense. The World Series was like those first Super Bowls, with little firsthand information. Hitters and pitchers had to feel each other out. None of that today.”

Now, to everyone else: Michael Jack Schmidt is absolutely right about this.  While he talks mostly about the unfair, unbalanced issues that come up because of travel, scheduling, and the DH, you can tell the heart of this issue for him is precisely historic and much more about feeling.  He wants baseball’s special moments to be as special as they were to him, both as a fan and as a player.  “Charm” and “charming uncertainty” are brilliant ways to name that special something, that anticipation of the novel and the new occurring only twice a year in sport so grounded in tradition.  It’s the top-of-the-roller-coaster-for-the-first-time feeling.  It’s a first kiss kind of thing.  The All-Star Game is holding sweaty hands.  The World Series is the agonizing bliss between when you start that forever-arc between were you are at present and where you’ll be when she/he kisses back or doesn’t.

Life is a game of diminishing firsts.  The institutions we bless with our time and fandom, then, ought to be dances of renewal, full of things we haven’t seen before and may never see again.  In the best sense of the term old school, the Old School understood this.  Mike Schmidt knows what’s up.