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Pack it up

March 13, 2022

I used to be a packrat. Or at least a packrat by my definition which is just having a lot of stuff in your home that you don’t really need or enjoy, or that doesn’t have a practical use. In other words, I had a lot of junk.

When I discovered minimalism it made a lot of sense to me, and while I had no intention of becoming a full-fledged minimalist, I embraced some of the ideas. And they were easy to embrace because they were ideas I’d had for a long time, well before learning about minimalism. I liked the idea of not having a ton of “stuff” all over. And I liked the feeling of freedom it gave me. It’s not that I was in love with or attached to any of the stuff I had accumulated over the years, but I got over the sense that I had to have this stuff because that’s how you’re supposed to decorate and keep a home and that’s what people do, right?

I got a Kindle and then got rid of four bookcases and close to 15 shelves of books. I got rid of artsy knickknacks and wall hangings I had collected because I liked them at the time but had really meant nothing to me for years. I donated all my CDs, and walls, beautifully empty walls, appeared!

I emptied cupboards of old pots and pans that I hadn’t used in years. When I was done, I felt, for lack of better words, lighter and freer. It might sound silly, but I felt more meaningful because the things around me were meaningful to me instead of just things. My things were now part of me. All the empty walls were ready for my photographs and not a painting or something that spoke to me for about 15 minutes 20-30 years ago.

Like I said before, I’m not a minimalist. I still have a car and a television and a computer and a phone and a small stereo. I have a bed, and a dresser, and clothes. I have kitchen utensils and plates and a bread maker and even something to hold paper towels. I don’t live in a tiny house (although I think they’re quite cool!) I appreciate the things around me more now than I did two years ago.

I’ve had a dream of minimizing for a long time, way before I know what minimizing was, and it started after I read Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival in the mid-80’s. How cool would it be to simply live off the land in the wild? A couple of moves over some time brought the knowledge and strengthened the realization that very little of what I owned held any meaning for me, but being able to survive, to build and use something as cool as a wilderness distillery, very cool. And then people like Bear Grylls and Les Stroud showed up and helped keep that little flame of wilderness survival, of simply walking into the Alaskan wilderness, flickering. The old post-Tom Brown’s field guide dream that saw me giving my car and money and everything I have to some place that helps the poor and keeping just enough money for a tent, a few nice back packs, seeds, and all the essential survival gear I could carry, and a bus ticket up to Alaska. I’d step off the bus in some city that I never bothered to identify, walk into the forest and that’s where I’d live until the time I didn’t live anymore never really faded away.

Of course, if you know me you know how absurd that dream is/was. And I’m not a complete idiot and I always knew that any attempt I might make at becoming Jeremiah Johnson up in the wilds of Alaska would last less than a week. If even that long. But dreams are dreams and we all need them, right? Even when we grow older.

I guess that’s quite a much longer explanation of why I’m not a packrat any longer than I had planned.

Speaking of pack rats, here are some Rat Pack(ers).

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2022 3:50 pm

    Maybe not Jeremiah Johnson, but maybe Grizzley Adams?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Judy (Andersen) Hogan permalink
    March 14, 2022 9:30 am

    I envy your ability to minimize so well. I have a house full of stuff, but no energy to have a sale to get rid of much of it. Husband hates getting rid of books, so living room walls remain hidden by shelves. I am inspired by your post, however. Maybe a charity thrift shop will be my answer, a carload at a time. Good on ya!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2022 6:48 am

      Thanks, Judy! I couldn’t have handled a sale so everything went to the thrift store like you said: one carload at a time.


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