Thursday, January 27, 2011

The DVD Cabinet Debacle of 2011

The time of baby/child-proofing is creeping up on us fast. Bastian is rolling over now, from his back to his tummy with the greatest of ease throwing in an occasional maneuver in the opposite direction (though this was is still a source of frustration for him most days) and he has skillfully begun the art of pulling his legs up underneath himself raising himself up on knees and belly... only to flop back down again moments later. The motivation is there. This means Mommy and Daddy need to kick project "get our place in shape" into hyper-drive.

As I mentioned to a potential babysitter visiting our condo for an interview last week, we are (at best) recovering slobs. Most people marry their opposite, and while Jason and I do have many glaring differences, in many of the major personality traits we are the same. Unfortunately for us I don't have a neat freak to balance out my inner pigpen, and neither does he. The odd thing is that we both have strong melancholy tendencies, which equates to over-organized perfectionists. What many people don't realize about the melancholy crew, however, is that if we can't get something completed up to our own standards in one foul swoop... well then we'd just assume not start at all. We are those people who buy artwork and stack it up in the corner against the wall for years, never to see the light of day, because we just can't decide where it would look best, and if we did decide it was highly unlikely that at that very moment we had a bubble level, measuring tape, picture hanging kit, etc. and so on.

Also, we are both major packrats. Especially when it comes to toys, and I don't mean toys from our childhood that have sentimental value, Bastian's toys, or other types of toys... I mean "Oh look hunny isn't this figurine of Jack and Sally
adorable? How about this mini Superman lunchbox? Did you see that hilarious little bobble-head over there?". I digress...

Today I became all too aware of my attachment to my "things". The discussion started rather innocently by way of me bluntly informing my husband that our DVD shelves are both heavy and unstable, a dangerous combination with a soon-to-be mobile baby in the house; we would need to replace them with "real furniture"; cabinets with doors that close (and preferably lock). It was going to be expensive, and that was that. Or at least I thought that was that, until he came up with a completely brilliant idea that would not only get rid of our old flimsy shelving units, but would also eliminate our need for a new expensive cabinet and thus give us more space (something we are sorely lacking)! Bonus, right? Wrong! At least in my head it was. I instantaneously had a strange sinking feeling in my gut and I quickly jumped in on the defense coming up with every asinine reason possible why his idea wouldn't work until finally I realized just how silly I was being. I wanted to spend upwards of $300 for the privilege of cluttering up our home further, all so that I could keep my precious physical DVD's in favor of a system where I could simply turn on my TV choose a movie and press play. I wouldn't even have to get rid of them, they would simply be going into storage, FREE storage, until a later date when we have a house large enough to accommodate my compulsion to have them properly on display... behind a cabinet door.

Why was I so quick to assign a higher value to my "hard copies" than creating more space for the things that are necessities. At first I thought to myself "for the same reason that I detest eReaders" but that didn't hold up, books are tactile, you can hold them while you read, write notes, dog ear pages, underline, highlight, draw pictures in their margins, sometimes even allow their pages to soak up your tears. Plastic discs and their plastics cases provide none of these comforts.

There were of course multiple reasons for my reaction. One being that this solution would not warrant me buying something new, and buying new things gives me a thrill, a cheap, fleeting thrill. The cabinet I had chosen wasn't even pretty (the pretty ones cost more), and I had no intention of keeping it around long term. I'm sure there was also a tinge of "but I'm right" in there somewhere too; probably mixed in with a little "this is the way we've always done it". There may even have been some of my technology fear tied in there. But I believe the main reason for my upset to be this; I am just, plain and simple, far to attached to my things. Somewhere along the way I began to equate the size of my music and movie collection with my level of adulthood. It could have been due to the withdrawal I suffered when I moved out of my parent's place and no longer had any Christmas movies or CDs when that first holiday season "on my own" rolled around. All those movies I grew up on that none of my friends had even heard of now required a 45 minute drive for viewing. What I never consciously realized was that it took years... a decade or two even, for my parents to get where they were.

In all actuality what I experienced on this small scale has become somewhat of an epidemic in our country. Generations growing up and moving out, expecting to live the same lifestyle their parents live right off the bat, never stopping to think about how long it took them to acquire what they have. What it took to earn it. They went out and purchased houses they couldn't afford on jobs they assumed would have forever. Creeping essentials.

My goal for 2011 is to live entirely within my means. I have every intention of expanding those means, but before that can happen I need to learn to make the absolute most of what I have, and that includes taking advantage of creative space/cost saving ideas instead of resisting for the sake of being surrounded with what I have already accumulated. Which is quite a lot if I do say so myself.


  1. Love this really honest insight into how you live, really great. I'm a bit of a minimalist and get rid of all our books - just hand them onto to a friend. Sometimes I regret it as they're like photos, they give a snapshot of a time, place and they way you were feeling...

  2. So true! I like to go back and reread books I once underlined and wrote notes in because I can gauge how much I've grown by seeing the things I took issue with then versus now.


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