Monday, May 24, 2010

On my dual life as minimalist pack rat...

Before I begin, a note to the wife: Wife, cover your ears. Got 'em covered? Good...

I am a pack rat. There, I came right out and said it. Said it on the Internet for the whole world to see, too.

At some point in life, preferably sooner rather than later, there is nothing more important than being honest with whom you are.

Someone famous once said that... I assume. If not, someone famous should have said that because it would make for a great one of those "Successories" posters. It could have had a picture of kitten wearing a firefighter's helmet next to a puppy with an identical helmet. It would be both inspiring and too cute for words. But I digress...

Anyhow, I'm a pack rat. My home is rife with stuff I will probably never use, but containing the slight possibility that "Someday I just might need this instruction manual from a phone I no longer own. You know, in case I was to buy the same kind again, even though they don’t make that model anymore."

It drives my wife nuts. (Thus the reason she has to cover her ears for today's post!)

Besides being a pack rat, I'm also a minimalist. I tend to be a non-materialistic kind of writer guy. I don't need the latest gadgets and am, by my own admission, a rather bad consumerist. Now, I am not perfect and consume more than I wish I did, but I really don't need a lot to get by. Sure, a computer is rather helpful, given my love of writing, and soccer equipment is appreciated, because futbol is a great stress reliever for me. Other than that, I'm fairly low maintenance.

A minimalist pack rat seems like it’d be quite the contradiction, huh?

"So why do we have all that crap at home?" my wife is asking.

Me: "Hey, aren't your ears supposed to be covered?"

Wife: "I can still read, you dolt."

NOTE: My wife never calls me a dolt. Not that I'm complaining.

Well, my better half brings up a terrific point. Why do I have all sorts of random stuff? Without having given it too much thought in the past, I think everything I have falls in one of three categories: stuff I use, stuff I could potentially see using, and stuff I'm sentimental about.

Hopefully it's obvious why the first category doesn't get tossed. Admittedly, this category probably constitutes 1.79% of my property.

The second category is one that I'm working on changing. I think I've mentioned this here at the Ducks, but to recap -- or "cap" for the first time, if I haven't done so already -- I'm an idealist. I live in a world full of ideals and possibilities. It makes me an eternal optimist who is subject to idealizing the world and living in daydream land.

It also makes me keep stuff, evidently.

The items which compose this category are things which I'll say to myself -- we talk frequently, which is something I should probably tell the therapist -- "Self, you just never know when you might need to use a lug nut from a 1986 Dodge Aries." So I keep the lug nut, never to be used.

That final category, sentimental stuff, is collected because of two facets of my personality. As was discussed the other day (and in other posts, I'm sure), I'm a feelings-based guy. When someone gives me, well, anything, I treasure the thought that he or she was thinking about me. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Has anyone actually felt "fuzzy" inside? Seems like a hair growth problem which should be addressed by medical personnel to me...

The other component to my personality which adds to the third category is the fact that my "Love Language" has something to do with receiving gifts. It makes me feel all smooshy inside.

I'm not questioning "smooshy,” because I'd imagine that a lot of my internal organs are smooshy, especially the intestinal region. [I hope you weren't eating just now.]

Between being an idealistic, sensitive guy with a particular love language and propensity to actually use 1.79% of stuff he owns, I'm doomed to be a pack rat forever.

Note to Wife: Go ahead and open your ears now...

So, in conclusion, I'd like to say that Mexican food is rather tasty. Thank you and Godspeed.


  1. I saved egg cartons all winter to start my garden. Two years ago. I have rocks in boxes from places I've lived. Over ten years ago.

    I hear you loud and clear, and thankfully I don't have a significant other to yell at me.

  2. Piedmont - Fortunately, my wife doesn't acctually yell at me about it... She accepts and loves me for who I am, faults and all!! :)

  3. Ugh... "actually" is what I meant.

    *hangs his head in shame*

  4. It's hard for me to get rid of stuff too, but I was watching the movie Up last night and there was this great part when...oh, I don't want to give it away. Anyhow, if you've seen the movie, then you know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't, you should see it anyway: then you will know which part I am talking about.

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  6. As a a matter of fact - I WAS eating. At least it was salad...and not anything smooshy.

    I lost all my sentimental and personal belongings in a flood about 5 years back and I had to get over the fact that I would never have my "things" that I wished i could have just kept.

    "ITS JUST STUFF" is the mantra that saves me. Otherwise Id be searching for another manual to some discontinued item myself :)

  7. Missed Periods -- I loved Up!! My wife still "makes" me cross my heart from time to time... :)

    I know exactly which part you are talking about! You earn double "Reader points" for bringing it up. [pun intended... but only after I realized it was a pun]

    Tara -- I'll have to try that mantra out and remember that it's really the thought behind the item that I actually value. You also earn double "Reader points."

    I'm apparently feeling very generous with the Reader-points-giving-out-ness today...

  8. You're hilarious! I haven't met a man yet who didn't have more stuff than he needed. But I'll admit to having more than I need as well. Every time I move (or my house is completely destroyed by flood, in this instance!) I end up throwing a TON of stuff away. I just am very minimalist. I don't need much "stuff" to be happy and in fact, the less clutter, the better. Luckily, my husband isn't too much of a clutter-junky.

  9. Human beings just seem to be hoarders ... There's nothing wrong with being a pack rat and your wife sounds adorable. :)


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