Could you throw more stuff in there?

It was a beautiful, cool evening when Lisa, Samson and I headed out for a long walk. As we rounded the first turn at the end of our block, my wife exclaimed, “Check out that garage!”

At first I didn’t see it. Then I caught what she was talking about. A person who was into “maximalism.” I doubt they could fit anything else into that garage. It’s not like they just moved in and had to empty out the moving van. They’ve been renting this house for at least two years. That’s a lot of stuff!

I’m in and out of my garage all the time. We use that entrance into our house much more than the front door. I go in and out with lawn care equipment, tools, holiday decorations from the attic, to check the hot water timer and have the AC tuned up. I can’t imagine not having access for any of that.

The guy who lives there was standing in the driveway. I tried not to be too obvious when I took the picture, but I think he saw me. I’m sure he didn’t care. Maybe he was hoping that I was casing the place and would break in and clean out his garage!

Just drinking coffee. Period.

IMG_7949A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in Starbucks, in between appointment, drinking coffee and scrolling through some Reddit stuff when — get this — this guy came in, sat down, and did nothing else other than enjoy his coffee. That’s right, no phone, no book, no tablet, no computer, no friend to talk to, nothing. He just sat there and sipped his venti whatever. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen someone do that before. There were plenty of other people there, some like me focused on a smartphone screen. A few were engrossed in their laptops. A couple of friends were talking.

I began wondering, “Would Starbucks even exist if we didn’t have our electronics to amuse us and their wifi to connect us as we drank lattes and ate scones?”

You do it and I do it. Whenever we sit down – in the car, in church, in the bathroom, watching TV, at concerts, at work, in a restaurant, at the pool, at the gym, stripped naked waiting for the doctor to come in – we pull out a phone to find out what’s going on. I’m sure sociologists and psychologists have a field day with this behavior.

I think I may have seen another guy do this at a bar. He was just sitting there drinking a beer. He wasn’t doing anything else.

I might have to try this. I’ll let you know what happens.






Forget about minimalism when a hurricane comes

I’m not the best minimalist, but I’ve adopted a few habits that have decluttered and simplified my life. After I read a book I donate it to a library. When I purchase a new item of clothing, I get rid of something older. I’ve stopped accumulating bolts and nuts and screws and nails I might (but probably won’t) need someday.

hurricane-3But when the hurricane is breathing down your neck, you urgently have to accumulate things. Gas cans (4), extension cords for the generator (2), battery-powered lanterns (2), disposable plates and utensils, candles (#?), bottled water, ice (5 bags from our own ice maker), a new cooler, a new fan (a life-saver), chains for the chain saw (2), a yard rake, a new pair of work gloves, and calming toys and bones for the dog (3).

We ended up using most of what we bought. We never lost water, so I donated it to a semi headed for south Florida. We didn’t really need the ice; our generator kept our refrigerator running.

Clutter during the storm? We didn’t mind it so much. On the plus side, we won’t have to buy those things again. But now I have to store all of that away. Somewhere. Because there will be another storm. Someday.

I wonder what people will do with all the bread and water and chips people bought before the storm. The shelves at the storm were empty, so their houses must be full of those items. Did you really eat that much bread before? Are you really going to eat that many peanut butter sandwiches now? How much food will be thrown away in the next few weeks?

If I were in a flooded area and I lost just about everything, would I try to replace everything? Or would I downsize, just getting what I need and use? I don’t know. We didn’t lose anything this time. This storm added to our possessions.