March 18, 2014

From Gerald R. Lucas

Toward the Minimal

And I’m off…

One of my first steps toward cutting out all of the unnecessary crap in my life is digitizing as much as I can, converting the cluttering atoms to easily storable and accessible bits.

My goal is to digitize at least one thing a day through the end of the year.

I’ve done something like this before. I even wrote about it in The Mailer Review. Since I am an (ex-)English Professor, much of my pre-digital life still exists on dead trees. I have drawers and notebooks full of paper testaments to my ten years in graduate school, my career as an educator, and my penchant for saving paper mementos. This does not even include the shelves of books I’ve read, am currently reading, and will one day get to.

All of this nostalgia has to go. OK, not all of it, but I can start with the materials in my desk and cabinet drawers. I can call it: the Digitizing Grad School Project. Or something like that.

Along with scanning, I’m growing less concerned about just throwing stuff away. Donating things to places that can use it. Not worrying about compensation. It feels good.

For example, last month, I decided to sell several sport coats left over from my fatty days. They were all in good shape, so I thought I’d at least get a few bucks from each if I sold them on eBay. After hours of listing, answering questions, wrapping, and shipping, I lost money. I should have just donated them to Goodwill or to the theater. Lesson learned.

To me, this lesson is a good one for minimalism: while the major purpose is to declutter my life, a secondary consideration is how it makes my life better. Concentrating on money does not help. Giving does.

So, I’m off.