Just to give you an idea of how geeky Kevin and I actually are, here’s an example. On Friday nights, other people watch movies, hang out with friends, go out on dates. We get rid of stuff.
It’s a game only treehugger geeks could enjoy. There is only one rule: for every item one person gets rid of, the other person has to get rid of one. So if Kevin’s got one book on me, it’s my job to search a little harder for a less obvious cull from my collection. It’s always possible; we’re no minimalists and probably have a couple thousand books between the two of us. Over the course of an hour of so, we’ll scan our book and music collections, debate the merits of books we may never read again (but liked one passage of at some point), throw on CDs from our college years (was I really into that overwrought new age goth stuff?), and gleefully pile up the rejects to donate to the library.
While there are more effective ways to give the finger to capitalistic consumption (such as not buying these things in the first place), purging is a thoroughly satisfying exercise in anti-consumerism. I have this theory that every possession occupies not only physical but also mental and emotional space. I don’t know what the full cost of having so many things is, but I suspect it’s far higher than we can imagine. (And yes, that’s something that deserves its own blog entry, but it’s Friday night, and I’m tired.)
If you’re not afraid of geekdom and have an hour and a willing partner, I recommend you try the head-to-head strategy. It definitely makes Kevin and me more ruthless about what we’re ready to part with, because deep inside our generally non-competitive hearts, we feel bad when the other person has a bigger reject pile.