29
Oct
2005
James

Consumer downsizing

Today was an exercise in life simplification. The routine equaled any other saturday spent grounded in the city; slept in late… struggled through a midday capoeira workout… enduring the dreary ride back home across the city… and so it continued, but with one subtle difference. Today I began what is probably considered one of the more difficult tasks of preparing for liftoff: reducing clutter.

Corporate downsizing, a buzzword popularized by the end of the american economic boom (coinciding with the end of a Gregorian millennium), is a commonly accepted method involving cutting costs, exporting work and resources to needy and cheap third world countries. Its generating lots of buzz these days with companies moving to offshore labor and resources, but somehow cutting down on personal dross tends to go against everything the commercial world preaches through cleverly placed adverts to their target markets.

Introducing Acme product line QRSTU. You need products Q, R, S, T, U! [repeated 2x daily]. Ok, so you bought and own my products S, T, and U. I know you love them but wait, have you heard of new and improved F? You REALLY need F… buy-one-get-one-free.

I’ve suddenly been sparked into action to start my consumer downsizing as an effort to loosen my roots from the red clay that binds me to my home in north carolina and to free me from the “work, produce, consume” state of mind. cleaning out corporate deadwood is a fundamental technique embraced by every businessman in all history but generally the individual does not possess the motivation to cut out their deadwood. But then, seemingly out of nowhere a swelling grows from within. Its some basic inexplicable instinct to experince new sights and sounds and cover new ground. To be an airbourne seed, lifted from the tree by the whisp of a windy day. This is exactly what has happened to me; since my return from a six month circuit through south america, ive been hit once again with a serious case of travelbug. I’ve known for a while now that I will inevitably be pulled back to the road and it’s just been a matter of time for an opportunity to present itself and for another burst of wanderlust to grab hold.

So I finally acted upon a process that I’ve been devising in my head over the past year or so of just exactly how to clean up my living space and cut out the deadwood in order to facilitate ease of globalmotion. The first step was that I took a veritable boatload of old well used clothes that I’ve aggregated and carried with me to the various dorm rooms and cheap college apartments over the past 8 years. I parted with white running shoes, brazen (a.k.a., gaudy) floral neck-ties, soccer cleats with 5 year old mud stains, holy white tee-shirts (from years of over-bleaching), multiple pair of corduroy pants, stretched out sweatshirts… I even left behind the luggage that I used to carry them to the drop-off point It was a truly liberating feeling to get this stuff thats been collecting dust in my closet out of my bedroom and into the hands of some people that perhaps can make good of the excess crap i own. Although I’ve done my share of thrift store bargain hunting this was my first experience supplying products to the cause. I was surprised to find out that you can give away your junk and get a receipt for the transaction. A momentary thought flashed through my head. Could you actually claim someone taking your leftovers as a deduction when you file taxes? I guess I’ll never know because I turned down the receipt with the justification that the additional paper would only add to the clutter that I’m trying to clear out.

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