An Acr0nymism is what I call a behavior or character trait that seems to be unique - one that's typically eccentric - to Acr0nym, my BFF and additional non-husband (yes, apparently you can have more than one non-husband...at least, if you're me).
Like...OK, Acr0nym? Is a HUGE fan of Alton Brown, that cooking guy. And any time any conversation turns toward the subject of cooking, Acr0nym nearly always manages to work Alton into the conversation. I suspect ACr0nym knows of every recipe Alton Brown has ever published or stamped with his approval. This is handy. It's also creepy. It is an Acr0nymism.
Acr0nym has single-handedly rendered Google obsolete in my life. All I have to say to him is, "I wonder how someone might do [insert thing here]" and, before I can even finish my thought, he's sent me the link on how to do [insert thing here]. How many non-husbands do you know that can A) read your mind and B) have a link at the fore? Not many, I can tell you from experience.
Acr0nym, and his brain, is just...awesome! (Which is, in large part, why I asked for his head and brain upon his untimely death.)
But Acr0nym also has...er...issues that are not unique to him - not by a long shot. Because Acr0nym isn't just a collector of information. No, no. He's also a collector of stuff.
|An example of Acr0nym's stuff organized neatly.|
|Even more stuff.|
If you're wondering, these (multiple) type cases are hanging on one of the walls in his room displaying coins, mystery box toys, and acorn (more widely known as bubblegum) machine prizes he's collected.
(Oh lord, I spot empty spaces.)
Now, if it just stopped at the toys, that probably wouldn't be a big deal. But Acr0nym has so many varied interests beyond recipes and toys! He is a consummate collector of, well, everything!
His organized pen collection (this isn't even a 10th of it):
|Acr0nym's pens and bottles of ink. These are just what's displayed.|
|Paper, paper, and even more paper!|
We haven't even begun to touch on it. There are also the flashlights, the knives, the kitchen single-purpose gadgets, the books, the movies, the hard drive space (16 TERABYTES and counting!), the random cables that connect to...I don't even know what. If it's collectible? Acr0nym has a collection of it (except, apparently, cats).
And most of it is stacked, stored, and stuffed into the nooks and crannies of both his brain and his house.
Now, please do not misunderstand me. Acr0nym is not a hoarder as you might see on any of those hoarder television shows (of which I've seen exactly none). He has only one cat for instance and, if you don't know where to look, you wouldn't know there's anything amiss. I've seen him use his trash can a number of times and you can easily navigate through his home. So I know he knows how to make decisions about what's valuable and what's not.
The problem is that much of what he's accumulated does have value...to someone. It's just not mostly of value to him. That's a problem not unique to him. That's a problem I'd guess most of you have.
That's how I, the aspiring minimalist, see it anyhow.
Anyway, a couple months' back, Acr0nym started talking to me about wanting to undertake a de-cluttering project. Perhaps it came to his attention when he thought he might have to move to San Francisco - when the idea of packing and moving became particularly daunting. More likely though, he'd been stewing about all his stuff for some time and just hadn't mentioned it because Acr0nym does not like change (of the life variety or the U.S. Mint variety...unless it's of the quarter change kind...the kind that works in acorn machines).
When he started talking about this project to me, I encouraged him at every turn...gently. When he started sending me random links to organizing, de-cluttering, and minimalist websites, I didn't say much of anything except, "Wow! That's really cool!" I didn't want to deter him in any way. See how quietly encouraging I am?
It was still a surprise to me, about a month ago, when he asked me to come up one Sunday and keep him company while he sorted through some "stuff". I didn't hesitate. I said, "Of course!"
It turns out, he'd decided he could stay on task if someone else was there to keep him focused. It'd come out later that he'd be better able to decide to keep, throw away, donate, or sell if someone else was there who might pass judgment on the keep pile.
So...every Sunday for the last 4 Sundays, I've made my way to Acr0nym's house. He requires little more from me than just sitting there. He usually feeds me tasty food, good wine, and television - something I don't get at home - while he sorts, throws away, keeps, or puts in a box to give his mom - a professional seller of secondhand goods.
He's doing unbelievably well!
But there are several more miles and many Sundays to go as was evident by the sight that I was beholden to this past Sunday when he'd emptied out the cupboard under the stairs...
|A buncha stuff!|
|Look! Some stuff!|
|OMG! Seriously, more stuff.|
If it were me, I'd toss - in some capacity - 85% of it. But that's because I've learned to be ruthless with myself and my material goods. For him, I'm proud of him when he can whittle down what he is able to discard 25- 30% of what's there. I figure that, once he's started, he'll be able to be more and more ruthless with himself until nearly all of it is gone.
So far, he's doing very well.
He's still got a ways to go. But I'll dedicate a month of Sunday afternoons to him if it'll mean he'll emerge out from under all the weight of the stuff he's been carrying around.
It has me thinking though...
Why do we collect stuff? Even me, the aspiring minimalist, collects stuff. I hesitate to say hoard but I do hoard...crackers, cheese, wine, and blog entries. I collect books - used books - with long-forgotten inscriptions in them...no matter the book.
What do you collect? What do you hoard? What do you want to get out from underneath? I know Acr0nym isn't the only one. I know I'm not. What is it you keep close, knowing it's not necessary? Why is the stuff we collect important, seemingly necessary when, in actuality, it's just more stuff?