watched over by top men. Top. Men.

If you follow me on Twitter (thank you and I’m sorry), you know that I’ve been aggressively cleaning out my garage for the last three days. I’m building a pretty awesome homebrewery out there, and I have to get rid of all this stuff I’ve collected over the years to make space.

Most of the things I’m getting rid of are old clothes, books and CDs. I’ve also come across a bunch of obsolete bits of technology that are going to be amusing to take to the recycling place.

Mostly, I’ve had a lot of joyous memories as I go through these things. I’ve found things that date all the way back to the late 70s, things from all the stages of my acting career, and things from my writing career. Probably the best feeling I’ve had is getting rid of things that I don’t need any more, and reducing boxes of stuff I’ve hauled around since I was 23 and bought my first house from a dozen to half of one.

(Lots of people on Twitter thought it was hilarious to call me a hoarder, but I actually find that a little offensive. I had so much stuff from so long ago, I wasn’t sure I was prepared to emotionally deal with what I’d find, and it was pretty overwhelming to think about going through it all. Turns out making a brewery is good motivation.)

The best feeling isn’t actually finding these old things I forgot I had, though that’s been pretty great. The best feeling is realizing that there’s a lot of stuff in here I thought was really important to me, but just isn’t. Stuff that I held onto when I was struggling in my mid-20s because it reminded me of when I wasn’t struggling in my early 20s, and stuff I held onto when I was turning 30 because I wasn’t ready to completely let go of my 20s. I feel stupid to realize that I hauled around boxes of useless shit for 15 years for no good reason, except that it was a good reason at the time. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m so happy with my life and the people in it, I don’t need to hold onto something that was, because what is kicks ass. I’m grateful for that, and wanted to write it down before I got distracted by shiny things.

Anyway, I’m going to auction a lot of the things I’ve decided to keep for charity in the near future, so stay tuned if you’re into that sort of thing. And if you want to see whatever stupid thing I unearth next, complete with hilarious trenchant commentary, it’s happening on Twitter, where I’m @wilw.

 

64 thoughts on “watched over by top men. Top. Men.”

  1. I’m sure the “Hoarder” comments were in jest but that doesn’t mean it’s any less offensive to you. I can’t wait to see the final result of the brewery conversion.

  2. This is a very shiny post, Wil. It makes me smile. Good for you.

    A cleaner garage, a brewery, benefits for charity and fans who are into that sort of thing, and some self realization. What’s not to love?

  3. Well I speak only for myself, but I have very much enjoyed going through memory lane with you today on twitter. I think it takes talent to make pictures of just stuff entertaining.

  4. Great post man, good way to put it. And personally, I have enjoyed following this today, it’s been kewl in a nerdy sort of way, and fun! Thanks for sharing man! -Ethan

  5. “I’m so happy with my life and the people in it, I don’t need to hold onto something that was, because what is kicks ass.”

    Thank you for that, Wil. Your words got me right in the feels.

  6. I keep trying to convince my husband and 11 year old son that it is ok to get rid of old things that used to hold memories because the memories are in our hearts and minds. They haven’t bought into it yet even though I have offered to take pictures of all the things they get rid of. I enjoyed your memory filled trip through your boxes. Wish I could do the same.

  7. Hey Wil, thanks for putting this into words. I’m going through a similar time as my baby son is getting bigger every day and we need more room for his adventures. We moved into this house about 10 months ago, before he was born, and have only just had the time to start getting rid of rubbish we have no use for. I’m currently going through crates out of the loft, full of stuff I have NO IDEA why I kept hold of. Thousands of pages of notes and bits of writing, old CDs, even a bunch of internet signup discs from the dark ages. Glad I’m not the only one doing it! Good luck with it man :)

  8. if any of that old tech is still functional, i wonder if a technology museum might enjoy the donation. and you give me hope that someday i’ll find the appropriate motivation to clean out my own garage (and office, and…).

  9. Hey Wil, thanks for ‘taking one for the team’ and saving all this crap. No, really! I’m roughly the same age and watching you go through all this stuff is reminding me of wonderful times as well.

  10. I’m going through exactly the same process right now… except with my whole house. Scanning in items has been so helpful so that I know that somewhere the items are still in my life (even if they are digital). Better than being lost in a box somewhere. I’ve managed to cut my belongings down to 1/3 of what I started with (which, honestly, wasn’t very much to begin with, but seemed to be weighing me down emotionally and physically). Thanks for sharing your thoughts on thinning our belongings and simplifying! For you it’s making a place for your home brewery, for me it’s carrying less boxes up to a 3rd story walk-up apartment with 3 teensy closets. But I don’t think anyone wants this stuff that I’ve found, even if it’s for charity (http://honeywithoutflowers.blogspot.com/2012/11/sutures-for-my-emotional-scars-and-two.html)

  11. I may have used the word hoarder but only because I could see myself in what you were doing. I’ve held on to many things over the years for reasons and I think it takes a lot of courage to reach the point where you can let go.
    I’m happy you’re doing well enough to let go :)

  12. I went through a similar process a few years back. It is truly amazing what we think is important or will be that ends up being thoroughly forgotten, and in the end, unnecessary. It is the people and the experience that matters, not the things. Catharsis.

  13. Your garage treasure finding adventure is inspiring me to clean out my spare bedroom full of junk that I swear is breeding and creating more junk everyday. So I say good for you for finding the motivation to tackle your garage!

  14. If there is not a handy tech museum interested in your old tech, check out whether the local tech club at a nearby high school would be interested. I know several that collect this stuff to let kids take apart and explore.

  15. I was inspired and cleaned out what my mother lovingly refers to as a “storage room” (it’s an entire bedroom dedicated to boxed up things). I found a strawberry shortcake doll, and she still smells like strawberries. I also found my umbilical cord. Creepy.

  16. Having just moved, I empathize. I got rid of a lot and I still want to get rid of more.

    My holy grail of purging is the boxes of old role playing games and 80′s comic books that I’m tire of hauling around. But I want them to go to a good home where they would be appreciated. I can’t just toss them…

    Other than that, I have a f-ing library of books. Do I really need all of those books? Survey says “yes” but I have my doubts.

    1. I just got rid of a ton of my books! First I listed them both on Amazon and on PaperbackSwap and whichever went first I would mail (and, of course, take down the other listing). I set an “end” date where we donated educational books to the Boys and Girls club and then the others to a thrift store. Then, if there were books that I knew I would never read again, but enjoyed reading when I was younger, I mailed to my nieces to enjoy. It’s hard to part with books… but they are heavy!

  17. I keep hearing old people say that we spend the first half of our lives accumulating stuff and the second half getting rid of it.

  18. I just got rid of a lifetime of “stuff” that seemed very important along the way, but letting it go truly lightened my emotional load as well as the literal one. All I REALLY need of the past is the memories and lessons learned. Now I can focus on enjoying my present and inventing my future. It took me until almost age 50 to learn what you’re figuring out in your 30s – Hooray for you!

  19. As you said in your acting notes, “The END is the BEGINNING.” (Plus this provides another justification that beer is good for the soul.)

  20. One day, I’ll be ready to do the same thing. But I doubt it’ll will be anything that people want to see pictures of. I’ve really been enjoying all the pictures you’ve posted in the last few days. Especially all the WilPower stuff. If I find any of that when I get around to cleaning out my junk, I probably will not get rid of it. Gotta document my awkwardness for posterity.

  21. Keeping stuff was never an option for me, for various reasons having to do with being poor and moving around a lot, and I’ve often lamented what I thought were the lost memories. But this post gives me a different perspective, and I’m going to have to think on that for a while.

  22. As one who has followed your acting career (intermittently) from “Stand By Me” and STTNG through “Leverage” and “Eureka”, I was getting a very large kick out of your tweets and photos that I ran across the other day while you were finding lots of stuff. Hoarder? Nonsense. Keep it up; it is most refreshing to follow.

  23. You know what they say… homebreweries heal all wounds. Or was it… time will tell which items are easiest to purge. Either way, good job dude!

  24. I’ve enjoyed your tweets today. It’s made me think about going through my boxes of memories. I won’t, because that’s just too much work, but I did think about it.

  25. We’ve sort of been doing the same thing only slowly. Every time we’ve moved we bring the same boxes with us and don’t go through them. After almost 25 years of marriage and 3 grown children we have A LOT of mementos. Every one gets a say in what we keep or what we toss and if one person just can’t agree then the thing has to go in their space and they have to live with it. I am also encouraging them to write down why an item is special for them if they decide not to keep it (and I’m doing the same) so there is a record of the thing and the memories. It’s working pretty well so far and we decreased our clutter by about half over the last 6 months.

  26. Wil, I look at those who call you a “hoarder,” with whatever negative overtones go with that, the same way I look at those who thought Wesley Crusher was [insert insulting term here] and assumed that Wil Wheaton must be the same. They just don’t get it.

    Congratulations on clearing out the accumulated stuff and recognizing its value to you, however small or large that value may now be. I have done a bit of decluttering myself but have a lot ahead of me. Then again, I have a few more years’ worth to go through than you.

  27. I think it’s great you have saved so many memories from your youth and are willing to share it with us fans. I’m definitely not famous, but I’ve saved personal letters (even notes passed between classmates in junior high) since I was very young. My parents and grandparents saved paper momentos as well. I think the time and heart put into sitting down and writing how you feel by hand is priceless. Like I’ve noted, I’m not famous and neither or any of my family or friends (so far). But the one-of-a kind memories, meaningless though they may be to the world, are sometimes the only tangible memories I have of loved ones. On another note, I think myself and other fans of yours might enjoy a Star Trek TNG gallery or museum. You can’t take those things with you when you die, but I think there will always be a faithful trekkies who will carefully guard and preserve these precious memories for generations to come.

  28. Hoarder, no, but curator? Sure. Without the instinct to keep and look at history there would be no Smithsonian, no Louvre, no museums at all. As one who always throws everything out without a second thought, I appreciate those who have the patience and fortitude to hang on a little. Perspective requires objects in the line of sight.

    Cheers.

  29. Wil, I’ve followed and commented for a bit now on Twitter etc, and have marvelled sometimes at how open you are about your career etc, and wondered if you sometimes were to open. I now realize you are the best judge of that. That said, it’s been interesting to see each day unfold and follow along. Thanks for the glimpse and for the laughs along the way. As for the haters..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmJTZsnuzuQ

  30. Wil,
    It can be a struggle going through those special items that you keep. I do that every so many years when my work requires me to move to a new residence. I have learned to keep a single box of items that mean the most to me at the time.

    Those old items are great and the memories and feeling attached to them can be powerful and letting go can be hard. I wish you luck and look forward to seeing what your home brewery looks like when you are finished. I am working on mine as well.

  31. I think when we’re in our 20s, it’s tough to get rid of stuff because we’re not quite sure who we are yet, and we all think that the keys to who we’ll someday be might very well be hidden in those boxes of old things.

    But then we find new things, and new experiences, and so when we eventually uncover those old, physical things, we find that we’ve actually been carrying all of that stuff around inside us the whole time, and it’s always going to be there. And that’s when it’s time to let it go. :)

    1. we all think that the keys to who we’ll someday be might very well be hidden in those boxes of old things.

      I hadn’t thought of it that way, but now that you put it into words, I have to agree that there’s a lot of truth and insight in this. Thank you :)

  32. I picture you wearing your Sparks McGee outfit, with a bullwhip swinging ’round, hurdling over boxes, jumping through failing storage crates, avoiding giant rolling hacky sacks, all to save the sacred artifacts!

    ::humming:: duh duhduh duuuuh,duh duhduh duh duhduh DUUUUUH duh duhduh duh duh…::fade to black::

  33. Really enjoyed your tweets today. I myself have boxes and boxes of my past that I just cannot get rid of. It’s hard to part with memories of days gone by. Someday.

    If you have a few minutes, you should listen to “The Valley” by Celestial Navigations. It’s spot on with what you have just gone through.

  34. I have found that (for me, anyway) the best way to get rid of ‘stuff’ that I don’t want to get rid of, is to simply box it up & put it away. In a closet, on a shelf, under hanging clothes. At a later date, I eventually pull out the box & go through it; and I usually find that the sentimental attachment has waned, and it is much easier to let go of said items. I don’t call that ‘hoarding’ … I call it calculated revisiting of a time capsule. :)

  35. I’m sure the “hoarder” comments came from people who can’t fit their cars in their garages anymore…it’s much easier to point and laugh at you. (c;
    Kudos to you for tackling such a big task…not implying that you have a lot, but more the emotional task of letting go those things that you couldn’t once let go.
    …and what better incentive than a brewery? None. (c;

  36. I’m proud that you were able to face your past and determine what’s important to you right now. It’s tougher for some than it is for others. I have had discussions with people who don’t understand that it’s not the stuff that’s important, but the memories evoked upon seeing and handling the items.

    I went through a similar experience when I purged a bunch of stuff about ten years ago. I remember pulling a Rolling Stone magazine out of a box, having every article inside it race through my head simply from seeing the cover, being transported back to my teenage bedroom (read: Throneroom of My Adolescence!!! Or maybe it was more The Pit of Despair since most of the poetry I wrote during that era makes me want to build a time machine to go back and kick the shit out of myself). It was magical! And then I read the date of the issue and realized that I had been carting around that bundle of paper since the early 90′s. What the fuck was wrong with me? What possible significance could this magazine possible hold that justified me schlepping it all over Hell and Creation for over a decade?

    Some part of me wanted to hang onto it still, but I ended up dumping the whole box of magazines in the dumpster because there was only a finite amount of room for stuff in my life, and those magazines weren’t important enough to justify the space they required. That wasn’t the only thing that went, and it certainly wasn’t the most emotionally significant thing with which I have parted in the name of remedying my pack-rat tendencies (to me, hoarding is at least one level beyond pack-ratting). There are some things that I doubt I’ll ever part with (all of the Ren Faire pouches I bought during adolescence for use as dice bags, for example), but there was much more chaff than wheat in those boxes.

    So, good for you, Wil! You showed that stuff who’s boss (because I’m sure it’s not beyond your means to have simply rented a storage unit to move all of it into if you had been unable to show it who’s boss). Good for you, sir!

  37. I’ve cleaned out my garage three times in the last year. The next step is to convince myself that I don’t REALLY need my LP’s. I know how it can be. Stay strong. (I also noticed that the only stuff you really seemed to spill/damage was your wife’s. Well done Wil’s subconscious.)

  38. The word hoarder never even occurred to me. Most people have bits of miscellaneous stuff that they don’t sort through straight away. It’s a process. First you box it up and later you can look at it fresh and decide what’s worth keeping if anything.
    I’ve gone through this process a few times as I was terrible for keeping everything that someone had given me. Like I owed it to them out of respect but then I decided that I couldn’t treat my house like a shrine to stuff and got rid of a lot of it. Let someone else enjoy it.

    I know I still have my Pogs tucked away in a box though so I’m not quite cured

  39. A note on obsolete technology – When I was preparing to move to the UK I was clearing out a lot of old stuff so I had fewer things to put into storage. I had an old computer monitor from back in the days before flat screens and sexy desktop technology.

    I couldn’t even get a charity shop to take the thing for free.

    If I’d been sticking around I probably could have turned the thing into a fish bowl.

  40. ‘Hoarding’ does have a bit of an anti-social sentiment to it so quite understand your feelings Wil. That said, these treasure boxes can provide great therapy, particularly when we discover something long forgotten – an emotion and often a memory is triggered in the same way when we listen to music, look at old photo’s, an old movie or from stories our siblings/extended family tell.

    Sometimes, during the rediscovery, you wonder why the hell you saved some of those things and you slowly realise the emotional attachment has gone or that it was a piece of crap in the first place it just took a bit longer to realise what others already knew!

    I like my boxes, some of which have no practical use whatsoever, but their great triggers for memories of our lives.

    Embrace and enjoy the boxes Wil, some day you will pass one or two over to Ryan and Nolan so they too can enjoy the rediscovery themselves and then add their own stuff.

    That said, lets get brewing …….

  41. Hey Wil, I just got an email regarding the Toronto Comic-Con. the ST:TNG cast is doing another get together in March, which is awesome. However I noticed that you weren’t listed. Will you be able to make it?

  42. I just wanted to add my voice to the masses of people who are enjoying your journey. I want to make sure you know that there are hundreds of us out there who are loving this for every lamewad calling you a hoarder! And, it reminds me that I really need to go through our garage and get rid of some of the very same things. Maybe not today though…

    1. I can actually field that question: He can’t because that’s illegal. Unless you get your home brewery inspected and licensed, selling homebrew is strictly illegal. :(

  43. I’m considering getting my homebrewery improved as well. I’m getting to an age where lifting a frothing 8 gallon pot of wort is problematic and probably dangerous. I’d like to arrange a single unit with a boiler that drains to a mash tun, which becomes a sparge tun, which pumps the wort back into the boiler, then drains it into the carboy. You follow? I need a ‘no lift’ set up.

    Firstly though, I have this beautiful, barely riddent 2000 VT1100T motorcycle that hasn’t been ridden in years. It’s going to break my heart to sell it, but sell it I must if I want the garage space. I don’t see myself riding anytime in the near future.

    I’ve ridden since I was 19, and this was my dream bike. Now, in my 40′s it’s just a relic of old dreams, better gone than as a constant reminder, right?

    Good Luck Wil.

  44. I replied to a tweet from your lovely wife last night. She was upset by the hoarder comments too, so I felt like I needed to tell her my opinion on the issue. The way I see it, you may at one time have been a hoarder (like all the stuff you kept because it reminded you of your younger days during your shitty 20′s), but recently you have been going through your garage every so often and finding things that you want to get rid of. A true hoarder doesn’t do that. The line between nostalgia and insanity is a fine one sometimes, and I know how you feel.

    I myself am not a hoarder, I’m just very lazy when it comes to sorting out what I do and don’t need to get rid of, especially with all the crap that is in my parents’ attic. But I also know that emotionally, I need help to get past my own demons that will allow me to let go of more than just a few things here and there.

    The long and short of it is that I don’t see you as a hoarder, but as a very nostalgic person who has had a remarkable life thus far and should have the ability to travel that road if you want. So those mean people on twitter can go Redshirt themselves.

  45. If I had to pay money for twitter, and this was the only thing I got to see – I’d be happy. I LOVE treasure! I don’t know if everyone soaks in nostalgia the way I do, and the way you seem to as well. Going through old boxes is my favorite thing. I even have dreams about it. Enjoy all the feels.

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