I’ve never been much of a hoarder myself, but I do tend to keep things longer than I should. The biggest issue for me is nostalgia — if an item meant something important to me once upon a time, it’s likely to stick around and collect dust in a closet somewhere rather than doing anything useful.
Recently, I decided to let go. We’re moving in a few days, and the thought of taking items that were buried in boxes or drawers or shelves and putting them into other boxes and then unpacking them at the new place just didn’t make sense. As such, I purged a whole lot of inventory, but with a purpose in mind — getting a beautiful new piano.
For some context, I recently traded in more than $500 worth of stuff that I hadn’t used in years. We’re talking Nintendo 64 games for which I haven’t owned the system since the early 2010s (including some heavy-hitting cartridges like Super Mario 64, WWF No Mercy and Star Fox 64); Playstation 2 games that sat on a shelf untouched the entire time we lived here (including the entire .hack series, which I hope burns in hell); board games that had been replaced by better or newer versions; and a handful of DVDs that I was never going to watch. Why did I own two identical versions of Talladega Nights all this time? Who the hell knows.
Some of these decisions were difficult to reconcile between the brain trying to be smart and the heart trying to be brave. I have no need whatsoever for the PS2 version of Final Fantasy X — I own the remastered version for PS4, and we already played through it for our YouTube channel. But that was the first game I ever purchased for the first system I bought for myself when I was a freshman in college. Tossing it in that box hurt a bit. There’s reason to keep Super Smash Bros. for the N64 anymore — it’s available on Virtual Console or I could emulate it on any halfway decent computer. But I sank hundreds of hours into that game, including those times I tricked my little sister into thinking that she was playing with me (until she was old enough to actually join the fray).
But into the box it went.
I guess I’ve finally reached the point at which utility outweighs memories — or at the very least, I’m content with the memories I have sticking around without a concrete reminder for them. It’s also funny how expectations change; if I had been smart about trading in games I wasn’t going to play again, I could have gotten three or four times the return. But faced with the prospect of giving away half this stuff to Goodwill for nothing in return, a few hundred dollars in Bookmans credit suddenly seemed appealing.
With all of that built-up stuff, I accomplished a few goals at once. I cut down on my clutter for things I would realistically never use again. I added some neat artwork and the piano I had my eye on for a couple weeks. And I resisted an urge instilled in me by both sides of my family: to keep everything on the planet, in the hopes that it would someday come in handy. Even though it was a little sad letting go of some of those items, I’m at peace with my decision. And having three or four fewer boxes to move later this week doesn’t hurt either.