Cleaning house after the death: de-clutter and live your experience

I have a somewhat different view of physical objects and possessions than most people I know, maybe because I’ve been involved in cleaning out the houses of dead elderly relatives. I try to do a kind of minimalism. If an object is not being used regularly, I get rid of it. If I can replace a larger object with a smaller one, I try to do that (like moving from a DSLR camera to a mirrorless camera… some of you may protest that I can just use a phone, but I can’t, not while retaining anything like the image and video quality I desire and you should desire). As a person accumulates more stuff, he stops owning the stuff and the stuff starts owning him. I have written before that some of the best sex I’ve had and done occurred in a small studio apartment that had a bed, a couple of pots, some books, a desk, a computer, and not much else. Chicks would remark on the spartan decor after I’d f**ked them a few times. Sometimes the first time. I’d shrug and talk about how experiences are more valuable than possessions. The less you have, the more mobile you are.

About the dead relatives. Apart from cash and some sentimental photos, pretty much nothing they had was valuable. Their art that showcased their super-important taste and personalities… the carefully chosen furniture that had gone out of date and smelled like old people… their weird collections… it got trashed because it wasn’t of any real value. The person who died imagined its value, and their imaginary value died with them. It had meaning to the person who owned it, not to the other people. The advent of eBay and Amazon have made these problems even more acute. Turns out that most “antiques… ” no one gives a shit about them. A “collector’s item” is just a marketing ploy. People collect experiences, unique states of mind… those are the things that matter. What you can do matters. What you can do to make the world a better place matters. What you have, it doesn’t, except to you. Most chicks won’t be that impressed with it.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t get attached to stuff. Only think about what stuff does for you and how it enables you to live your best life. Too much stuff makes you immobile. Get rid of it. Read Marie Kondo. Focus on the game. Realize most women don’t care much about your stuff. They care about YOU.

Marie Kondo is big in the culture right now. I’m sure some of you are like, “A CHICK? I can’t listen to a CHICK.” In which case you have become like some of the feminists you claim to dislike. Anyway, point is that she has a book, now she has Netflix show, and it’s for a good reason. Most people have way too much shit.

That’s one mistake I haven’t made. I’ve made lots of mistakes.

Life is short. It’s a cliche but it’s also true. I didn’t appreciate that in my teens and 20s, like most people that age. The older you get, the more people you see die, the more real this becomes. It’s part of the reason I think guys age 35 – 40 start to want to have kids… you realize that you really are a temporary, transient phenomenon and you want to “pass the torch.” I feel grateful for a lot of what my family has done for me… it’s important to pass that on. One thing I’m hesitant about in the pickup / RP worlds is that a lot of guys seem to be filled with hate, with conniving, with a desire to con other people. I don’t feel that way. I don’t want to let other, unrelated people sap my value, but I also want to make the most of existence and to let other people exist too. Having more stuff, it doesn’t make your life better. It’s just encumbrances.

I see guys, they focus on how this couch or this piece of clothing or this other thing will help them get laid, and it doesn’t. Worst of all, I see them get married, try to give the wife the big house in the nice neighborhood… it doesn’t matter. In the divorce, she’ll keep it anyway. The right thing to do is buy less than you can afford… to think about what really matters in life… to make the most of what you already have. So few guys get here. So few guys understand that the woman doesn’t want his stuff, she wants him, and what his stuff is doesn’t really matter. It should be clean, and he should have a good space to f**k her in, beyond that it doesn’t matter.

The idea that we should horde stuff is a holdover from evolutionary history when stuff was rare and valuable. It’s a holdover from childhood, when more was better (because kids are stupid). It’s not a useful belief for employed adults. The desire for stuff lets us fall prey to marketers. This is a point in Geoffrey Miller, Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior, a book everyone but especially guys in the game should read. The #1 way marketers sell stuff is by implying that it will improve your sex life. In fact, most physical stuff will not improve your sex life. Instead of being convinced that stuff will improve your sex life, skip straight to the things that will actually improve your sex life, that have been described here many times and that are available in the links in the sidebar. Having a good body, a good mind, a mission in life, and real skills are 100x more attractive to most women than having a lot of money or a lot of stuff. Stuff is clutter that one day someone like me is going to have to go through and junk.

Author: The Red Quest

How can we live and be in society?

5 thoughts on “Cleaning house after the death: de-clutter and live your experience”

  1. Preach. You’re the third person I know who’s mentioned Marie Kondo in a week but you’re spot on.

    I downsized from a two bedroom to a one bedroom and got rid of most of my unused stuff this summer. It’s liberating. I plan to continue downsizing. It’s one reason I like moving apartments

    I also suspect that displaying too many nice things (cars, watches) to girls puts you in the “potential boyfriend” box instead of the “lover” box which is the slow track to sex. The opposite of what marketers want you to believe.


    1. I think we have some evolutionarily wired impulse to acquire stuff. So we keep following that training without really asking ourselves why we do it. The more shit we own, the more the shit owns us. We don’t step back and critically ask ourselves, “How is this thing going to help me achieve my real goals? How is this thing going to take me further away from financial freedom?” etc.

      For most straight guys the real goal is f**king hot chicks. Most of the physical stuff we own does not actually help us with that. Some of the dumb shit guys purchase, like fancy cars, are only marginal aids to getting laid. To get laid you need an okay, clean wardrobe and preferably a clean place to bring the chick back to. It’s actually quite minimal. Yet both guys and chicks buy all this dumb shit.

      Marie Kondo is touching a nerve… I have been to so many friends’s houses and apartments, found their places cluttered with dumb shit, and it’s like, “Why are you doing this?” Life is largely about the social connections you make… it’s about other people. Too much physical clutter inhibits that terribly.


  2. I’ve been reading your blog chronologically from the start, and this is gold. I relate with so much of what you write. Right now I have my 7 yrs old car, and 3 pieces of furniture that complete the condo I rent (and my clothes). The rest of what I have is on my stock portfolio, working for my FIRE.


  3. I’m also reading your blog chronologically from the start. And I love this post. Once again it’s a profound one.

    I’ve done the downsizing thing a few times and… it’s always liberating.

    Actually I live on my boat these days. When every possession needs to bolted down or secured with ropes, one tends not to keep too much junk around.


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