A Bunch Of Stuff

Mess Messes With Me

Like you, fellow internet surfers, I’ve been cooped up in the house a lot lately, even working from home for several weeks. You start to look at your surroundings when you’re in one spot for a while. That’s when you notice things. I guess I’m a bit of a neat freak because what I see is killin’ me: clutter. This topic is one I seldom write about, but that may change the more I am stuck in my humble abode.

Simplify Stuff

Although it’s not one of my top three blog subjects, Minimalism is something I’ve posted about before. Not because I’m an expert on it. To the contrary, it’s because I have too much stuff and it bugs me a lot. Clutter, bad. Minimalism, good. I need more of “less.”

Less is more, right? I believe in the virtue of simplicity. Also, scientific studies show that clutter causes stress. Mess = stress! Who wants that?

Here are a couple sources about the stress of mess:

Why Mess Causes Stress

The Unbearable Heaviness Of Clutter

The tendency in my house is for any horizontal plane to accumulate eclectic piles of stuff:

  • Stuff that should be put in its proper place.
  • Stuff that has no proper place yet.
  • Stuff that should be trashed.

Seven people living in a small house is a challenge, and not everybody is organized. Despite my responsibility to manage my household, I don’t have the level of control over all the clutter as much as I wish. So I’ve been trying to focus only on my own accumulation of things. That alone is putting me to the test.

Collecting Clutter

Over the years, I’ve kept and collected quite a number of items. In particular, I’ve held onto two whole cardboard boxes full of “cool stuff” (…Star Wars Lego sets from the 90’s!) that I can’t seem to let go of. None of it is really worth much money at all. The value of these things is not monetary, it is sentimental.

I once read somewhere about how we attach ourselves to things that represent us. So if you were to get rid of it, it’d be like tossing out a part of you. But then I’ve also read that if you bite the bullet and sever that attachment, you will realize at least two things. One, the detachment itself is not as difficult as you felt it would be, like quickly ripping off a band-aid. And two, you become more free.

Once that thing you’ve held onto is gone, it’s not just one less thing taking up space in your closet, it no longer takes up space in you. Even if the thing is mostly “out-of-sight/out-of-mind,” it is a burden hanging onto you, maybe in the back of your mind or deep in your subconscious. And now I get to say it: instead of you possessing things, things are possessing you!

Carefree Conclusion

I’m sorry all that sounds maybe too philosophical or abstract, but I hope it makes sense. If nothing else, I’m sure you can identify with the feeling when it’s hard to let go of stuff that you know has no real value outside of sentimental.

I guess it’s safe to say that the inner tension is between my rational mind and my emotional mind. The latter has been winning for a long time. But the longer I stay cooped up in my house, the more rational I’m trying to think about clearing the clutter. Not only will my closet be clean, my subconscious will be clear and hopefully a bit more carefree.

Do you have a clutter crisis? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

The Mess In Messaging

Communication is hard. Simple, but not easy. In this digital age, you can talk with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Instantly text, or chat, or message a friend across the country? No problem. All you must do is choose the right app. What could go wrong?

Texting via SMS is antiquated and should be obsolete, yet it continues to thrive in the US. Yeah, so texting – rudimentary, outdated, super-popular!

With the internet in your pocket, you can now act more modern, using the data-rich web to communicate. If you’re on Apple’s iPhone, it’s simple. Use iMessage. No probs, right? Well, except for those pesky green bubbles with their inferior communication skills. More on that later.

iMessage is not the only chat app available. Many others abound. So if I want to, say, avoid broken group texts between iMessage and Android Messages, I’ve got to use a third-party web-based chat app that skips SMS texting altogether.

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are popular choices to name just two. For argument’s sake, let’s say those are the only two. It should be simple to pick one – but it’s not. The fact is, you must use the same chat app(s) that the people you communicate with do. It’s all fragmented. Many people, many chat apps.

To make it easy, you could just pick a chat app based on only the one or two people you message the most. But easy, it is not. In my case, my wife and my Dad are my best texters. My wife and I use iMessage on our iPhones – blue text bubbles! My Dad uses an Android phone, so his texts to me are green. No big deal, really. Sometimes my Dad and I use Facebook Messenger. But what will happen when I switch my phone to an Android? I’ll become a green bubble to my wife – but again so what?

Since my family is all on Facebook, then what if we all just used Facebook Messenger together? Then it would not matter what phone anyone uses. Well, that won’t work for me because my wife – to this day – refuses to install Facebook Messenger on her phone. She is adamantly opposed to the move Facebook made years ago when it pulled Messenger from the main Facebook app and “forced” everyone to install a separate app. She aint havin’ it! Okay. I can work with that.

So scratch Facebook Messenger. Instead, what if my family switches to WhatsApp? That could be great, but it’s unlikely to ever happen. Why? Simply because people don’t like change, even if it’s for the better. Change is…wait for it…hard. No matter what messenger client I may like, getting everyone on board is the challenge.

I would like to look into Google’s solutions…but oh my, that’s a convoluted mess on its own! To its credit, Google has tried – and is still trying – to clean up the mess in their messaging services. They’re now pushing RCS, the new and improved replacement of SMS/MMS texting. But who knows how that will go. At least they’re attempting to adopt iMessage-like features into Google Messages. Might as well cheer them on.

On one hand, it’s a bummer that choosing and using one do-it-all message app isn’t a reality. But on the other hand, I guess it’s cool that there are options. You can talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Just make sure you have the right app(s).

What do you think? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!