A Special Type of Hoarder

I lean towards minimalist tendencies as much as I can. In a very different set of life circumstances, I’d be someone with few physical possessions, in a tiny house in some lush remote location. The life that I find myself in, the life I’m happily living to its fullest potential, has both more people and more things in it. I try to ensure that the possessions I have serve a purpose. The older I get, the more aggressive I become about thinning those items to just the things that truly add value to my life. My goal isn’t number of items, but more that I don’t feel the anxiety that comes with having a life overburdened with stuff.

Then there’s the part of my brain that sees items that most would consider trash, yet I see future purpose. Future could be two weeks from now or two years from now. This characteristic demonstrates itself with some household need to fix, adapt or adjust some thing in some way and then me excitedly saying, I have just the thing for this!” I then normally head to the garage and come back with a random part or component that was destined for the garbage can when I placed it into one of many little jars of future potential inventory.

This happened yesterday, which is when I got the idea to write this post. My wife received a lovely wind chime from a neighbor a few weeks back. We hung it on our back porch, where we already had a bamboo wind chime, and then we heard the problem. The bamboo one had conflicting tones from the metal one. I took the metal one down and told me wife I’d come up with a solution. I had just the thing and just needed a free moment to deal with it. Yesterday was that moment. After an oil change in one of the cars, I was putting my tools away and saw the wind chime hanging there on the shelves.

I took it down and reached for one of my containers. This container used to be filled with parmesan cheese. For the past several years, it’s been filled with various bits of plastic and rubber. I get this thrifty storage system from my mom and dad. Growing up, if you saw a Land O Lakes margarine container in the garage or anywhere other than the refrigerator, it contained something important. I have former pickle jars with machine screws. A former jelly jar has extra nuts and bolts that came with assemble-at-home furniture.

In the rubber & plastic parts container, I pulled out six rubberized corner guards. They came off the corners of the mirrors I used for a garage dance floor project. In an ironic twist, I often have not only just the thing, but also just the right number of said thing in these scenarios. The wind chime had six metal tubes. I trimmed the corner off the rubber triangle pocket and slide it into the tube. I took a screwdriver and gently pushed the material up in to the tube so that you could no longer see it. I repeated this with the other five rubber triangles and metal tubes. I lifted the wind chime to hear the result, and it was perfect. It now has tonal harmony with the bamboo one that hangs on the back porch and they sound lovely together.

I fully recognize that this behavior is off brand” for an aspiring minimalist, however, if my goal is to keep only the things that serve a purpose… I’m not far off in the end.

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