My laptop has been coughing on the big space my photos, movies, anime, tutorials, academic books, and old documents were occupying. They have become permanent residents because I thought they’d important in the future. I won’t delete them just in case.
Taking space means no harm for a hardware that can accommodate a lot. But thinking about what less could mean—space, speed, freedom, focus—I began backing up the few important. The rest goes away for good.
Surprisingly, I did not miss my files.
That hypothetical just in case was me holding on to these stuff. But because they were no longer serving their purpose, then they could in fact block the way, even distracting me from what I must direct my energy into.
The same goes for our physical clutter.
I looked at my basket of stuff and rummaged through it and asked: How long has it been sitting on this space? How long have I been clearing the dust? Will I be using it for the next six months?
Deep in our guts, if we had the stuff for so long, chances are we don’t need it anymore. We can live our lives unencumbered without the box of excess.
So I jettisoned half of my closet. It was disarming at first because I had to re-assure myself that I needed a lot of clothes just in case. Next thing I know that excuse has expired. In reality I only needed a few.
Hoarding is easy. We associate sentimentality, memory, and hard work to our possessions. I can’t just give or throw it away because someone special gave it to me; I worked extra hours for these—true enough. But the memories of our loved ones and hard work are not embedded in some shiny trinket. They are treasured in us.
Cultivating awareness on what needs to be let go and what must remain might be the very thing we need to identify the few that matters to us. Once the road blocks are cleared, we can then start making our own map.
Purging is the first step.