Chalk it up to an immigrant upbringing, but I’ve struggled with a cluttered room and home my entire life. Everything has a potential second or infinite use, so throwing things away felt counter to a life where wastefulness was a sin. My childhood room was bad enough - the smallest room in the house wasn’t enough to store knick knacks or keepsakes I had accumulated while growing up, and as room freed up in the house I began to creep into my brother’s room - my belongings and paperwork strewn across multiple rooms.

As I began my life on my own, these tendencies, coupled with my unconscious anxieties persisted. I started accommodating my own parents, but insist on reproducing their own lifestyle here even though they would only visit perhaps once a year. A fully stocked kitchen and bedding that would service a family of 4 became my home, and I would cart this from apartment to apartment despite recognizing the ridiculousness of it all. As friends would change jobs and leave the area, they’d leave behind “useful” items, like rice cookers or one off pieces of furniture. At one point I was carting around 3 or 4 rice cookers - the fear of being wasteful prevented me from disposing of them.

Donald text
Peter Hsu