This week I threw away five years of Star Trek Monthly fan magazines from the late 1990s, a Star Trek collectible encyclopaedia, and a couple of novels by William Shatner. To be precise (and do my bit to save the world) I took them down to the local recycling centre.
I don’t know why I liked it. I think I started watching weekly episodes of The Next Generation on BBC 2. There was something about the technology, the alien races, and the stories that had me hooked. Everyone has an obsession, and I guess my was being a Trekker (true Star Trek fans don’t like being called Trekkies). For a long time I wouldn’t admit I liked it, but I steadily amassed magazines and books and computer games. I would head to my nan’s house soon after they got cable to watch Deep Space Nine on Sky 1, while making my way through an entire tube of Pringles (yes, I was a fat child).
As I grew up my Star Trek obsession faded. Magazines got pushed under the bed and I stopped watching the TV shows. When I went to university my brother moved into my room and all of my stuff was put in the attic. When I moved into my own place I only took what I needed. Star Trek got left behind.
My parents recently announced they were moving out of our childhood home and gave me all the boxes of stuff I’d collected over the years.
I filled my car with boxes of old toys, school books and, of course, the Star Trek magazines. The only problem was I didn’t have any space for them at my house. Our family lives in a nice house, big enough for the three of us and one small one on the way. However, we have to maintain a careful equilibrium of stuff at the right levels. My daughter’s stuff seems to take over the house. She acquires far too many cuddly toys for her own good.
As a Millennial Dad I’ve been trying to employ the best tactics of tidying and decluttering.
Decluttering starts with brutally assessing everything you have and making a decision on whether you really need it. Then you get rid of what you no longer need. There’s plenty more to talk about when it comes to tidying, but let’s use the Star Trek magazines as an example.
Star Trek represents a much-loved but distant part of my life. If there’s an episode on TV these days I usually switch it over. That said, I still enjoy watching the classic 1960s episodes for their kitsch quality. But the magazines and encyclopaedias I collected no longer mean much to me. I liked looking through them for sentimental value but I really had no need to keep them around. As much as I would have liked to hold onto them and store them in my attic, I had to get rid of them. Star Trek was then and this is now.
The Millennial Dad ruthlessly prioritises his life to make the most of his family in the here and now.
Having space allows me to focus on creating the kind of life I want for our family, and helps me to keep on top of clutter.
I really hope no one tells me I threw away a priceless collection of memorabilia that I could have sold on for thousands. I did a quick check on ebay and the Star Trek magazines were only going for a few pounds. Perhaps I should have sold them but that would have taken even more time to list them, organise postage, send them, etc. I decided my time was better spent on other dad duties (time prioritisation is another important rule for the millennial dad).
One thing I won’t get rid of is my signed picture of Leonard Nimoy. Some things are worth keeping. Live long and prosper.