“Black Holes”: A Genius Solution for Simplifying

For the past year or so my wife and I have been attempting to simplify our lives. Doing so has involved generally paring down things that we own and things that we do. For us, this has made life easier and more enjoyable. For me, it’s been something close to lifesaving… or at least ‘nerve’ saving.

Some of our ‘life simplifications’ have just been efforts to own less. Here I’d like to admit that I am a capitalist and believe in things like business and purchasing. As a former retail manager, I also know that without things being bought and sold our country would be in big trouble.

Still, those big steel storage units springing up all over the place these past few decades might just hint at our ‘collective’ (pun intended) priorities.

What’s bothered me the most is the stuff that’s put on a shelf, then moved to another shelf, hid in a drawer, often for years. Ringy any bells? It’s stuff that you may have looked at almost forever, and that somehow has a hold on you. It’s stuff you just ‘can’t’ get rid of because someone somewhere in the past gave it to you.  “Oh, Aunt Mildred sent us that, I think…” How sweet of her. But was it really? Maybe not if you only keep it because of where it came from. Never mind that Aunt Mildred passed away twenty years ago and wouldn’t remember that ‘thing’ even if she hadn’t.

I’ve found a simplifying solution to this particular problem, and it has to do with what I call “black holes.” No, not the ones in space that swallow everything in their path, but something a bit similar. I’m referring to the ones at the grocery store that can swallow up that thing from Aunt Mildred and many more things like it. These black holes usually come in a 33-gallon size and can be taken to the used stuff store or collected by your trash/recycling man.

As strange as this might seem, I’d like you to consider the serious side of all of this. For me, there’s always been something nearly debilitating about looking at the same old ‘stuff’ every day of my life. Seeing things all around me that hold no purpose other than occupying space is nearly sickening and I think it’s the real reason people take vacations. We sometimes need to get away from ‘it all.’ Literally.

The 33-gallon “black holes” are a perfect solution to simplifying and streamlining your daily life. This practice will result in a fresh sense of energy in your home and greater peace of mind. Here’s how to do it.

Gather your sturdy black garbage bags (heavier loads might require “contractor bags”). Go through one room at a time, and be ruthless about what you (always) see each day. Drop them into the aforementioned bag.

Now, once you release objects into the interior of a black hole, whether it’s destined for the Salvation Army store or the trash, tie those top flaps tight. No going back in to retrieve Aunt Mildred’s gift from the past, no looking back (sorry, Aunt Mildred…)

The best part of this exercise? You’ll NEVER, EVER have to look at those things again! For me, that’s a cleansing experience that’s hard to describe. I highly recommend giving it a try during your Spring Cleaning (or any time of year, for that matter).

-G.E. Shuman

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

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George E. Shuman is a longstanding Vermont novelist, newspaper and magazine columnist, and former high school English language arts teacher. His human-interest columns have appeared twice monthly in Central Vermont’s largest paper for nearly thirty years and in The Sturbridge Times, a Massachusetts-based magazine, for eight. George’s novels, “The Smoke and Mirrors Effect,” “A Corner Café,” and his most recent, “Cemetery Bridge” are available in Kindle and paperback versions at George resides in Barre with his beloved wife. The couple are the parents of five, grandparents of twelve, and great grandparents of two… so far.

2 comments on ““Black Holes”: A Genius Solution for Simplifying

  1. Stevan Shuman

    Enjoyed the thoughts behind “black Holes”. I also want to simplify my life.f

  2. Stevan Shuman

    Read your article, once again. It made me smile and reflect on my own situation. Looking forward to more words of wisdom.

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