In an effort to “de-clutter” my life I have decided to start with my home. This all began several months ago with common items that most people can do without: old clothes, unused furniture, and random gifts I never used. I donated these items to charity and friends. It was easy and very relieving. It almost felt as if there was a kinder and cleaner breeze blowing through my home. Knowing that these items were going to be used and valued by other people also gave me a kind feeling in my heart.
Today, there are not many items of value in my bedroom. It has become very neat and minimalist, while at the same time vibrant and welcoming. There is a bed, a dresser, a nightstand, a closet with clothes, a shoe rack, and a few other small items such as books and pictures. The most valuable item in there is my iMac.
Last week my house was broken into while my roommates and I were at work. It was the most infuriating, stomach-turning, and demoralizing thing to happen to me in a long time. The thieves came in through my bedroom window by removing the screen and pushing the window open. They went through all my drawers, closet, and then continued through the rest of the house. The total amount of items they took is still uncertain because we still don’t know if we misplaced items or they were taken. For example, this weekend I was looking for a backpack I use in my sailing class and was unable to find it. There was nothing in it, but I am certain the thieves took it (probably after filling it with stuff I will be looking for later!). My roommate’s PS3 with games, controllers, power cables and HDMI cable were taken. His personal laptop, an iPod, and some cash were also taken from him. My other roommate lost her jewelry. My iMac survived only because they could not fit it in a bag they were also going to steal from my roommates. My assumption is that they were on foot and the iMac has a rather awkward shape that makes it difficult to carry unless you remove it (which I am sure they did not know). My only loss was an old broken iPhone I kept in my nightstand. I used it as an iTouch, since the cell reception did not work.
Besides being completely infuriated and thinking only of murder (the Marine inside me often takes over in these situations), I felt very bad for my roommates’ losses. I got lucky. Very lucky. Most of my valuable items are musical instruments and I keep them all in the garage. I have eight guitars, several amplifiers, a piano, big cabinet speakers, recording equipment, and a lot of other musical instruments and accessories. It has taken me many years to accumulate all these items. I have been playing guitar since I was twelve and recording my own music and playing with bands for several years. What if the thieves went in the garage and had a truck? The thought alone kills me.
I have different levels of attachment to everything I own. My musical instruments mean the world to me. I believe that, yes, I need all those guitars. They all have different sounds and applications. They all have different memories of gigs played and songs written. They are like my children. They are not cheap. If they were stolen from me, I would be devastated. I would be a burning mass of fury, hate, and murderous rage! However, I would live. I would have to, right? With that in mind and also in the spirit of dealing with my attachment issues, I recently decided to sell about half of my music equipment on Craigslist.
Deciding what had to go was easier than I thought. I used to keep things just because I know that they are valuable even if I didn’t use them. I started there. Yamaha cabinet speakers, a Zildjian cymbal with stand, an old Carvin all-tube guitar amp, my old home-studio recording desk, and my favorite guitar amp: a Marshall half-stack. All these items are valuable, but they are also collecting dust in my garage. I am hoping that the extra space in the garage and money in my wallet will give me a positive feeling and motivate me to get rid of more things I don’t use. I’ve already sold two things and have received e-mails about the other items. If things work out, I will have a clean garage, a clear mind, and a plane ticket to New York paid for with my earnings.