Is it possible to live a simple and clean life in a world of cluttered consumerism?
I can’t look on any of my social media without seeing somebody trying to sell me something. I just saw something about a doggie bowl that is portable and pop-up. The fact of the matter is I have two dogs and when we go on long walks I stick a CorningWare soup bowl in a sack with a cold bottle of purified drinking water for us to share. Everytime I get a specialty item I generally wind up either losing it or misplacing it amongst all the clutter.
Years ago I used to sing with the Minnesota Chorale. I would perform at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis under the baton of famous visiting composers and conductors.
However, we used to rehearse in St. Paul. I used to drive up there every Monday night to the College of Saint Catherine’s to rehearse. While I sang with the Minnesota chorale, I met the Chorale’s phonetician, a fellow choir member, composer and concert pianist. I had a chance to get up close and personal with him, and visit him in his apartment in a borough of Minneapolis.
His apartment was neat as a pin. He was a collector of underground comics and every comic was catalogued and neatly kept on sheleves. His sheet music was all in binders and catalogued.
His whole apartment spoke of efficiency and organisation. Nothing was extraneous. He did not even own a microwave oven. I was shocked and surprised to see somebody living solo display such organisation. All his clothes were neatly folded in the drawers, his furnishings were simple and sparse, yet comfortable.
He had a beautiful spinet piano against the wall and he had a computer to work on to translate the choral works phonetically. He was a computer scientist as well as a concert pianist and he grew up out east in upstate New York. He’d written a book on religious comic writer/artist Jack Chick based on the comics he collected. As a kid in Toronto, I would often open up a library book and find one of those little scary Jack Chick pamphlet comics, inserted as bookmarks, that would scare the tar out of you!
Nevertheless, Bob inspired me by his personal organisation and cleanliness. It’s a very rare thing to find somebody who is very tidy and clean with not a lot of stuff everywhere. I have the book, The Magic of tidying up, and today I found it buried in a bag under a pile of clutter. A lot of good that book did for me, and I also found it didn’t help any of my friends either.
They say actions speak louder than words. I was inspired by my friend and I have started to declutter, just by meditating on how clean he was.
I would rather a good role model, then a lot of mumbo-jumbo talk.