Avoid the train wrecks of life

“Hey train wreck, this ain’t your station.” —Somebody on the Internet

Just over six months ago we moved to a new house, which threw me into what felt like a purging revolution. Many things were thrown away. I even played the Beatles song to feel more like a radical as I filled trash bags. It worked.

I threw out, sold and gave away a lot. That might not have been obvious if I was judged by the boxes that did get moved, but piles did go.

This is the very reason I’m confused by what happened three weeks ago. I was home on a quiet Friday night, innocently flipping through Netflix when I came across a show called “Mini­malism: A documentary about the important things.”

I started watching with no particular connection or goal, just interest in the topic and hoping to get my Netflix subscription-worth for the month. Before I knew it, not even halfway through, I found myself digging in closets and carrying boxes (which had not been opened since the move) into my living room. I grabbed clothes from my closet. I took books from my shelf. I stacked long forgotten holiday dishes, cushioning them with unused blankets and old curtains.

How could this mountain ever be justified just six months after whittling down a house inventory? I almost took a picture of the piles, but why, I decided, would I document this? But now all of it, whatever it was, is gone too. I don’t remember specifics of what it was. Why? Because those things meant nothing to me. Including a couple of the tubs used to haul it away. Bring them back, I warned myself, and in another six months they will be full of more stuff I cannot name.

I like white space. I like it in design, I like it on my calendars and in my closets, I like it in life. I realized how yet another cliche proved itself true. Less is more. Less stuff is more room to move. Less noise is more room to think. Less main stream news/social/politics/general negativity is more…good.

Walking my dog this past weekend, I strangely felt a similar feeling. The space was wide-open, it was quiet and other than reigning in Jack every few feet, calm. This is how open space “feels,” whether it’s on a walking trail or inside my house or mind.

We were walking along an old train track trail and the funny quote above popped into my head. Since I was in the sun with a carefree dog and blue skies, it was relatively easy to push the clutter out of my mind.

“Train wreck, this ain’t your station.” I think I’m adopting that as my mantra for awhile.

The question to ask for all of it is, “Does it bring me joy?”

If it doesn’t and there are no impending detrimental consequences to myself or others, then it’s gone or at least reduced.

From this day forward I vow no unused punch bowl sets shall sit on my closet shelf. No shoes unworn for a year shall live in a shoe cubby. No political news shall dominate my newsfeed. No dog shall go unwalked. (Well, my dog anyway.)

Sorry, various train wrecks of life, but see above.

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ven­tures. She can be reached at shelley@hillsborofree­press.com