Returning to a simpler – and cheesier – way of life |

Returning to a simpler – and cheesier – way of life

Jarid Shipley
Features Editor

Keep. Toss. Keep. Keep. Toss. Definitely keep. I have been saying that a lot lately as I pore over piles of stuff. I’m in the middle of a “life reduction” because I came to the conclusion that I have too much stuff.

I don’t know how I accumulated so much junk; I really tried not to because I knew that it would come back to bite me.

Since the age of 16, I have moved a total of six times, with half of those including at least a two hour drive. I learned very quickly that more possessions meant more stuff to move.

To a fat kid, stuff to move translates to exercise.

So, when I got my first big boy apartment, I told myself that I would take a very minimalist perspective in what I had. I made sure I always had the basics: Television, microwave, video game console, computer, pot and dishware.

If I had all that, I was set. I also always had a mattress, sometimes it was a futon mattress someone loaned to me, sometimes it was mattress I rescued on garbage day and a couple of times it was a couple of blankets piled on top of each other.

Sure, it had its drawbacks, like having my oatmeal taste like macaroni and cheese or having to “air dry” after a shower, but come moving day, it was all worth it.

But recently, my once minimalist attitude has become, shall we say, decadent.

I realized I have an entire closet of stuff that I don’t even have room for in my one-bedroom apartment and decided it was time to downsize.

But it’s hard, because I’m just sentimental enough that I want to keep useless junk for admittedly stupid reasons.

Things like a cork from the bottle of champagne I drank during the turn of the millennium or that hourglass with the dragon wrapped around it I received one Christmas.

How can I part with the flatulent Santa Claus ornament or that set of women’s lingerie a former flame said she would “come back to get when she was ready.”

In a way, I’m a little ashamed of the sheer amount of useless crap I have managed to collect. Will someone please tell me how – despite the fact that I have never personally purchased one – I ended up with three garbage bags full of towels? Not even pool or bath towels, but three freakin’ bags of KITCHEN towels.

I also have sheets for four different sizes of mattresses, several of which I have never owned, yet there they sit, taking up space in my closet.

I rummaged through old posters, scribbled notes and years worth of useless receipts and loaded up the Dumpster at my apartment with 19 trips worth of junk.

Each time I made the shame walk across the parking lot with another armload of frivolity, I must have looked like a congressman leaving the adult film superstore.

I threw away a couple of those purchases, as well.

Yep, I was as ashamed as the single guy walking out of the premiere of “Bratz: The movie.”

On the plus side, in my examination and “life reduction” I have found several items I thought were lost forever – like my burned CD with the theme song to the “Gummi Bears” television show.


My hope is that when I am done “life reducing,” no matter how hard it is now, I will return to the good old days.

Where everything tastes like macaroni and cheese.

What do you have too much of? Tell me about it on the Party of One blog at

• Jarid Shipley is the Features Editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him a or 881-1217.