On Getting Rid Of Stuff

Filed in American Wota 3.0

I’m loving the wota garage sale I’m holding for the same reason I love it when I give away / throw out two-thirds of my comics every few years. (Which I’m also in the middle of doing, though the local library’s the main recipient of that.) It not only clears the clutter from my shelves, it also clears clutter in my mind.

I’m something of a binge-and-purge collector. Sometimes I just need to buy buy buy, it’s like I can’t get enough. Other times I look around, wonder what I’m doing with all the stuff I’ve acquired, and proceed to get rid of it. I think this is a good thing for me, a way to keep my pack-rat instincts in check. After all, if I kept every comic book I ever owned, I’d have well over 30,000 – and that’s a lowball estimate not counting trade paperbacks and such. I don’t know about you, but that many comics and that much space being taken up is just much more than I need to consider. I also have friends whose homes are nothing but bookshelves – and while such a collection is impressive and even necessary if you’re an academic, that feels way too much like a burden to me.

For the past few months, I’ve been feeling the same about the idol stuff I’ve bought. Cui bono? I ask, as I tend to in most cases. Who benefits? Do I benefit from keeping all my UFA cards in a shoebox and never looking at them? That’s no way to treat them, they should be treasured and given a good home in a scrapbook or on a wall or something. Or how about my photobooks? While some get looked at pretty often – I often carry a Momoko or Shihono Ryo with me when I go to a coffee shop – a good many simply sit there and just languish. What’s the point in that? The CDs are the worse, since I don’t so much listen to Japanese idol music as watch it. But even then, there are concerts I maybe watch a couple times and then just shelve for good. And of course, there’s stuff which makes me stop and think, Why did I buy this in the first place?

And so, it’s time to say goodbye to much of this. If I was a saint, I’d give it all away for free and hope the karma benefits me. Instead, in true capitalist fashion, I try to make a quick buck because I never know when I wanna buy more stuff. I know the cycle, I know the urges will return soon enough.

Now, some people may wonder, If you’re going to buy stuff just to get rid of it later, why buy it in the first place? To which I say: “Commie! Commie! Not even the Russians and Chinese think like that anymore!” Seriously, though, one of the ways that overseas wota can do to feel more connected to their favorite idols is to buy their stuff. That’s the whole point of idols and the way they’re marketed – to sell bunches of  CDs and photobooks and knick knacks, and to make you feel good about it. Consumerism as worship is one of the hallmarks of the J-idol world, and I’m happy to take part of it. It’s just the length of the relationship with these goods that is called into question.

Some people have wonderful collections that provide fulfillment and enjoyment, but they actually take loving care of what they acquire. In contrast I am, by nature, a consumerist whore. I’ll love you the moment you come home with me and treasure you for a few days, and then ignore you after I’ve had my way with you. I am fickle and callous – I don’t keep obi strips, nor do I bag and board my comics. I do it for the thrill of the chase and the flexing of the wallet, but don’t always like keeping my trophies in plain view as shameful reminders of past conquests.

The sad part for me right now is I keep looking at the stuff still on my shelves and thinking, I can get rid of more. This is still too much. How much do I still hold onto out of pure sentiment? (The SweetS CDs and DVDs, which I will never get rid of.) How much will I probably outgrow? (Some of the U15 stuff… but not all of it.) How much am I holding onto out of some personal principle that I like this music, even if I don’t listen to it often enough? (Tommy and Bennie K.) But of course, pure sentiment and immediate gratification and personal principles are what help keep a collection cohesive and meaningful, isn’t it? (My most treasured comic book – the only one I’ve bagged and boarded – is the issue of Lois Lane where she turns herself into a black woman. That’s sentiment, immediate gratification, and personal principles all wrapped up in one!)

So in a powerfully cathartic way, this wota garage sale helps me feel more dedicated to the idols I most treasure (at the moment), allowing me to better focus on that which make me happiest. It clears my head and makes me feel more focused about the writing projects I have planned and – Hey! Does the new Wonder Girl single have a CD-DVD version I can buy? And look! Amuro Namie has a new Best Of collection coming out soon!

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2 Responses to “On Getting Rid Of Stuff”
  1. Craig says:

    I think I support this… in a moral sense =) hehe

  2. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    “I am, by nature, a consumerist whore. I’ll love you the moment you come home with me and treasure you for a few days, and then ignore you after I’ve had my way with you. I am fickle and callous – I don’t keep obi strips, nor do I bag and board my comics. I do it for the thrill of the chase and the flexing of the wallet”

    -you cut to the core of me my man
    I just moved into a much smaller room & I have no choice but to get rid of some of this stuff too