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Is Too Much Enough?

Spring is a great time for the re-emergence of this. After all, Spring Cleaning is often just tackling one more pile (or set of piles) that we didn't tackle last Spring.
Picture of Karl Palachuk

Karl W. Palachuk
April 30, 2024

Teen Girl With Lot Books

One of my mother’s favorite Mark Twain quotes was, “Too much is just enough.”

Girl With Lots Of Books

This quote pops into my mind from time to time – especially when I wonder if I have too much excess in my life. And then two more quotes pop into my brain:

“Nothing succeeds like excess.” – Oscar Wilde

and the line from the movie Scarface: “Nothing exceeds like excess.”

Without going down a rabbit hole on the excesses of Oscar Wilde, I will simply submit that human beings spend a lot of time thinking about both moderation and excess. Myself included.

Spring is a great time for the re-emergence of this. After all, Spring Cleaning is often just tackling one more pile (or set of piles) that we didn’t tackle last Spring. Things accumulate. When they accumulate enough, they somehow become “excess.”

Here’s a very recent example from my personal life. As a computer nerd, I have more than enough old but still “good” computer equipment. Piles of keyboards, old computers, and outdated monitors grow in various rooms of my house. Eventually, they make their way to a pile in the garage. Well, last weekend, I loaded all that stuff into my car and took it down to a store called Batteries Plus. They didn’t charge me for dropping off this “E-Waste.” I’m sure they make some money on it. Good for them.

Wow. What a transition. Things that were once “collectible” became too much “stuff.” When I was ready to get rid of the “stuff” it became junk. And when someone else took it off my hands, it was “waste.” That reminds me of the old saying,

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

We all have things that become too much in our lives. There are a million examples of this. Each one of us can experience too little alone time, too much alone time, and just the right amount of alone time. The same goes for travel, collectibles, tools, toys, plants, and nick-knacks. My other great weakness is books. Whenever I donate a pile of books to the local charity, my shelves are immediately refilled with other books.

The joy of Spring cleaning is that there’s clear space where former-treasures-that-became-junk used to be. It’s like a clean slate. What new thing can I fill that space with? Can I leave it empty? Is there another pile of beloved possessions that should move there?

In my case, I moved a some workbenches and tools around to create a more useful (and uncrowded) workspace in my garage. That, in turn, will allow me to rearrange the rest of the garage . . . maybe next Spring. Overall, it’s a better space.

So-called Spring cleaning is a wonderful process. In the end, we rarely clear out a space and leave it clear. No, it’s more of a “cycle of life” kind of activity. We get rid of things that no longer contribute to our overall happiness. And we make room for things that do. What I loved ten years ago, five years ago, and today are different. My habits and hobbies have evolved over time.

So cleaning up excess from yesterday frees up room for the excesses of tomorrow. After all, we all need a little excess somewhere in our lives.

What joy might you find in Spring cleaning this year?


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