How is it that no matter how radically I decrease the amount of “stuff” in my life, I can’t shake this cluttered feeling? In the last year and a half I’ve jettisoned around three-quarters of my belongings, and yet I’m still compelled towards less and less stuff and more and more space.

The practice of owning and consuming less seems to have me hooked. The less I have, the less I come to realize I need, and the less I want. But if that’s the case, shouldn’t there be some lightening of the heart to go along with the lightening of the load?

As it is, I feel hemmed in by my belongings and by my surroundings. For the moment I am relegated to one tiny room in a cluttered, overpopulated house. My Bedroom Vortex is not conducive to subverting overconsumption. Things disappear never to be found again, or, alternately, to be found in the most obvious place at the most infuriating time.

Unsolved mysteries of the Bedroom Vortex include:

Bedroom Vortex Still Life1. Power source for Ipod: Damn. The Ipod is found but the power cord is lost. I don’t need Apple to screw me with the planned obsolescence of their sexy disposable gadgets…I can take care of that myself in my Bedroom Vortex. Either one of my roommates inadvertently took it thinking it was theirs, or it is actually somewhere in the drawer that I’ve scoured ten times already. I lean towards the latter because of…

2. Address Book: Its kitschy religious iconography and colour scheme are hard to miss, and yet somehow the Bedroom Vortex sucked it into another dimension for several weeks before I found it while cleaning out my office supplies drawer. Similarly…

3. Hair brush: I am relatively new to the experience of long hair, so I’m still getting used to the ridiculous amount of upkeep that’s required. When the Bedroom Vortex sucked up my hairbrush last week I knew I couldn’t hold out very long before getting a new one. Through an interpretation of the original Guidelines for Subverting Overconsumption self-care caveat I determined that I could justify buying a new hairbrush. But I didn’t want to buy a new brush. I wanted my old crappy brush. When I found the original brush in my toiletries bag the day following the purchase of the new brush, I just about lost it.

4. My second last earplug: When you live with two couples and three cats, earplugs are a useful belonging to own, and I was distraught when half of my last set recently disappeared into the Vortex. Probably my cat ate it. At least, that is what I will assume until the day after I buy new earplugs, at which point I will certainly find the lost one.

What is causing the Vortex? How do I make the cluttered feeling stop? I find myself fantasizing about the 10 days I spent in a Thai monastery with almost no belongings at all. Clothes, meditation cushion, food, soap, toothbrush. And no cluttered feeling. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why I think I need anything more than that.

Sweet, uncluttered dreams of open skies and hearts and minds.

xox n