I have been on a simplification mission for a number of years now. That sentence made me seem a little more special needs than I am in real life but this really has been a constant multi year struggle. I try to boil all parts of my life down to what I consider essentials. This is easier said than done depending on which part of your existence you are working on.
As an example I no longer have any collections. The books I used to hoard in some weird hey-look-at-me-I-read-books show off have all been donated and my reading is almost exclusively electronic. Comics, cards, action figures (dolls don’t carry weapons) all sold or donated to someone who will get more enjoyment out of them. You get the idea.
My major struggle comes from the people around me who attach great significance to any manner of things. Case in point; we have one coffee drinker in the house who consumes one cup every morning and at last count we have 17 coffee cups. Not a condemnation just an observation of clutter that could easily be corrected if most of the cups didn’t hold varying degrees of sentiment. I suggested pictures of the true treasures and was looked upon as if I were crazy so I backed off. You really need to pick your battles.
And don’t get me wrong those mugs don’t really bother me. I think the thing that drives me nuts is our house never seems to get clean. Like proper everything in its place picked up and put away. The steady stream of loved ones, friends, and pets, have a lot to do with that and I would only change a couple those given a magic wand and plausible deniability.
Before I stop boring you with this slow moving train of thought three factors have greatly influenced my desire for less stuff. Number one is the TV show Hoarders Buried Alive. I cant even watch it because it makes me so crazy. We lived next to a hoarder for more than 10 years and she would never let any of us in the house even though we were friends and helped out as much as she would allow. After her death the family called me over to help open the garage door. She stored her newspapers out there and over the years water had leaked in and basically Papier-mâché’d (looked up and copied that fancy spelling from Wikipedia) the door to the floor. We had to use multiple pry bars and levers to break it free.
Number two was an article that I read about self storage being the number one growth industry in this country. I’m not sure if that is still the case but it got me thinking. We buy so much useless crap that we cant even store it in the places we live anymore. I don’t know why but that really bothers me.
This lead to the third and final factor which is my obsession with Tiny homes. I am a larger than normal human being so its not the small size that has caught my attention. It’s the fact that to live in one of those you need to take your life down to the things that matter most. I will not be sleeping in a loft by choice any time soon but having just a few things that I love and need seems right to me.
It is with all that in mind that brings me to the original point of this story. I was working on my office last week and for some reason I started to ponder my second screen. I have a laptop and the monitor was on an arm suspended above which made for a pretty cool setup. The problem was when I asked myself why I had it the answer was because everyone else did.
I use an iPad exclusively on the road and I find I get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time with that thing. I think its because I don’t and in some cases cant have multiple screens open and distracting me. When its time to sit down and write its just me and the blank white page. No email going off or that abysmal Skype dinging in the background. What I need to get done front and center.
So I decided to try the same approach in my office with the laptop and so far so good. I even turned off the email notifications to stop myself from wanting to look every time the Outlook Pavlovian ding sounds. I’m not claiming any sort of deep thinking here just the opposite. Ive had a second monitor at work for seven years because everyone was doing it. I am an idiot.