Are You Holding Onto Clutter for Your Fantasy Self?


Joel and I have moved six times since we’ve been together, which is about five years. And every, single time we move, we bring this stupid, acoustic guitar with us.

The guitar looked cool in Joel’s apartment the first night he invited me over for dinner when we were dating. I thought: Oh, he plays guitar. Nice. 

Almost 6 years later, as I stub my toe on it looking for the iron, or can’t find a damn place to put it in the new house, I curse the thing. I can’t stand it. As is the case with a few things in life, such as poor customer service, the guitar makes me irrationally furious.

You see, he’s never once played it.

He doesn’t even know how to play it.

False advertising, JB. False. Advertising. 

Even as we prepared for our cross-country, Airstream honeymoon, I thought Oh this is great, I’ll get him guitar lessons so when we’re on our trip, he can finally the play damn thing around a camp fire for me.

So I spent $129 on lessons. I talked to a guy in a Grateful Dead t-shirt with abnormally long fingernails for about three hours in order to buy them. He was a real talker, that one. The studio was across the street from our apartment. There were zero excuses for the fact that Joel never even took them.

But when a friend asked if she could borrow it? He said no. I assumed that meant it was coming with us on our trip anyway. Perhaps we’d both learn to play via YouTube someplace outside of Grand Teton National Park.

He didn’t even bring it. It stayed in my mom’s basement.

So five plus years, six moves, 12 freak-outs from yours truly, and not one song played later, the guitar remains a piece of clutter in our home.

You see, Joel is holding onto that guitar for his fantasy self.

In his mind, one day, he’s the guy who plays that guitar. In his mind, one day, he’s Dan from The Black Keys with an I.P.A. around someone’s campfire.

I’m being rather hard on him about the guitar. I realize this. It’s just it’s a very annoying thing to store and pack. He’s not really a hoarder, though. Far from it. And he’s not the only one hanging onto things around here for their fantasy self to use in the future.

I have clothes for a fantasy version of my life where I need more than a couple of cocktail dresses.

I recently borrowed a sewing machine because I was so fed up with the fashion industry that I was obviously only going to wear clothing I made myself until further notice. (Despite the fact that I’ve never even threaded a sewing machine before.)

I have beautiful champagne flutes that have never been used.

About half a dozen too many white towels for all those guests I’m expecting sometime in the future.

And I have a juicer that I haven’t used once since I was a fanatical, almost-vegan in nutrition school.

There are many things I’ve held onto in order to hold onto the fantasy version of myself. The one who cooks and bakes and sews and goes to fancy parties once a week or something like that.

There’s a little hoarder inside of me piling things up for cooler, future Dana.

She’s probably sitting next to the little hoarder inside Joel who’s strumming his guitar.

It’s my guess that there’s probably a little hoarder inside of you too, stockpiling things for the day when your fantasy self gets her shit together. You know, the future version of yourself doing yoga on the beach in full cashmere. The one traveling the world. Or baking. Or reading any of those books. Or even just wearing heels to the office.

We all hold onto things because a cooler, future version of ourselves is definitely going to use them.

But as we hold onto these things, they clutter up our homes, our minds, our lives. They put us into debt. They waste our time, money and energy, and for what? They only serve as constant reminders of exactly who we’re not.

They make us sad that we’re not cooler. They make us sad we’re not our fantasy selves, that we can’t play the guitar.

So as I continue my effort to become more minimalist, I’m slowly trying to pry fantasy Dana’s clutter from little, hoarder Dana’s hands. I have a feeling that guitar though, is with us for life.

What about you? Are you saving things you don’t need in case your fantasy self gets her shit together? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

And if you’re interested in giving this whole minimalism thing a go, read the one sentence that will help you lose weight, be happy and figure out your life today. Pop your email in below and we’ll send it to you now.

Also published on Medium.



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