William Oldacre Photography

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Nothing New – Just Junk

January is always such a weird time for me. Its post the december/holiday crazies of unbelievable last minute, crushing nonsensical deadline – client work and its invariably a time of …. nothing. Its like you’ve just run off a cliff. All the rushing lead up to actually running off the cliff is so full of heart palpitation, adrenalin rush, wild eyes and now that your feet have actually left the ground you’re in complete free fall with no frame of reference.

Despite this, I somehow still manage to keep myself busy – what with the catching up on paper work, book keeping/accounting tasks, equipment maintenance or in this week’s case a massive spring cleaning and turfing out of an amazing accumulation of … well of… stuff. No other good way to describe it.

Over my brief relax time over the holidays, (about a week and half ago only – seems like months ago already – drag) it occurred to me all the extra baggage of goods in my life were dragging me down emotionally and consequently physically. I need to lighten my load – literally.

I have a tendency to acquire and then accumulate just the most amazing mix of things that – well you know – that might some day in the future be useful. Trouble is there’s too much of it, I can’t find it when I do need it, I forget I have it, I haven’t used any of it in the past year (likely MUCH longer than that) and I don’t want it any more. Its inefficient and that bugs me.

So I’m trying to be ruthless when judging whether or not to keep something. Now, as you know, this is er, um…. difficult. Pretty much all of these things we keep are freighted with memories. In some part we keep the things as a type of key to recalling the associated memories. And when we’re faced with parting with these things we feel as though we’re letting go of these memories and consequently letting go of part of ourselves.

Okay, this just isn’t true – although it feels like it is. They are just things, the memories remain, we’ll still remember them. Perhaps they won’t be so accessible without these objects to act as reminders – but then again, were we REALLY planning on sifting through all this junk in order to remember things? Not likely. It’s just coincident with actually having to sort and sift through all this crap that the memories are pleasantly re-surfacing.

So enjoy the nostalgia while it lasts. Get one last ho-rah out of these long lost goodies – then look at them with a critical eye and ask yourself this:

Am I going to use this again?
Ever? Soon? This year?
Is the cost of the physical space it takes up worth holding on to it? I could just re-acquire a much newer, better designed, fully functioning version of it when I ACTUALLY need it again?

Don’t be romantic or dreamy about it – be ruthless. Look at it like its not yours and you found it on the street. Would you pay money for this thing?

Because in my case, I’m paying a LOT of rent per square foot for the space I’m occupying here in my studio and really the square foot of space this object is occupying for a year is worth X dollars versus the cost of just buying it again when I ACTUALLY need it. Why bother saving it unless I know for certain I will use it again?

Now – if only I could adopt a similar philosophy for all my thousands of computer files! Hmmm…