Monday, March 30, 2009

More Stuff....

I've been thinking about "stuff" lately - material possessions. A long time ago, I read someone's blog post about "100 things" - something like some guy decided to pare down his life to only include 100 things and I thought to myself holy crap - I couldn't do that in a million years, unless I could say something like one thing is entire set of cookery and a set of silverware and the dresser in my bedroom with everything that's in it. Individually, I think I went over 100 before I even hit the silverware...okay, maybe mid-way through the silverware, but you get my point. And what if it came down to the lawn mower or the car? Huh? Huh? What do you do then? So I scoffed a bit. I thought - well, if you live in a high-rise and you don't have kids and you don't ever eat at home, it might just work out for you. But for those of us with families and homes and property, good luck. What are we supposed to do with the 100 things in the shed we use to hoe, till, garden, shovel, prune, mow, dig, trim, fertilize, edge, water, rake, weed, saw, I could go on and on....and still come to the same's just not feasible.

But lately, "stuff" has been taking over our life. The other day - last Friday it was, I found myself stuffing newly washed sheets into our linen closet, and I do mean stuffing. More like ramming. Like put my body weight behind it and hold it in place as I shut the door and hope for the best the next time I open the door. And I sighed. Something has to give. Granted, it's a very small linen closet. AND we have four beds in this house, two queens, a full, a twin, AND a pull-out, so make that 5 beds. But let's add in blankets, summer weight and winter weight sheets, summer and winter comforters - whew, no wonder I have no room. And that's just one example. So I re-opened that linen closet door, and literally pulled everything out and reorganized. Somehow managed to get most of it back in with some room to spare just by refolding a lot of it and organizing it a bit better, but it still doesn't help with the overall picture. We have a LOT of stuff! A lot of necessary stuff.

Like, for instance, a turkey roasting pan. Got it for my wedding. It's an awesome pan! Love it. Use it maybe 2 times a year. But I do use it, and I'm certainly not getting rid of it just because it takes up room. So I need to store it.

So in an effort to make our lives more organized, a few months ago Mark and I tore up the "4th bedroom" downstairs to make it an official storage area. In our defense, this room would never have really been a's unheated for one and dark. Mark has his "office" down there, but didn't mind sacrificing the rest of the room to the "cause". So in a weekend, we ripped out the old stinky carpet, cleaned the floor, got a pile ready for the dump, and reorganized the rest. Dandy. Except now, we need shelving. And it occurred to us that we needed some additional storage in our mudroom, so we went to the furniture store this weekend and picked out a piece which will be delivered on Wednesday. Now we're loosely planning a trip to IKEA to get some of their heavy duty shelving systems for our new storage downstairs.

Does it ever end? Stuff comes in the house. Need a place to put it, so we move something to accommodate it, then have to find a spot for the old thing. Not everything can get tossed or donated, so then we need to buy furniture or shelving or whatever to accommodate the old stuff and eventually, when that fills up, we'll find ourselves either deciding we really DON'T need that old thing 10 years down the line, or buying more shelving to accommodate even more old stuff.

So I'm trying to get my head around this. I feel like we do a fairly good job of only keeping stuff we truly use. We've tossed a LOT. And we've donated and sold even more. And yet it keeps coming. I've heard that you expand your possessions to fill the space you are given, and that may be true, but what happens when you start to overflow? Is there ever a house with a large-enough linen closet and enough storage areas and shelving to accommodate ALL your needs? I think not. Because as long as you perceive that you have the space, you'll keep buying. So I can't decide whether we're slaves to our possessions or the other way around.

And don't even get me started on home maintenance. Talk about slavery!


Michelle B said...

Me too! Too much stuff! I had posted about the 100 thing guy on my blog awhile back. No way I could do that. I really feel overwhelmed with toys! I feel guilty getting rid of them. Or if they are baby toys I get that "what if" thing going on. But I just had to start letting stuff go. I am now trying to take one box or bag every Monday to donate. I will clean something out over the weekend and on Monday let it go. So far I haven't missed anything. I don't think I had this much stuff before kids! Is it them?

Rebecca said...

Kids are definitely a part of it! The toys alone are out of control. But it's not just's just accumulation and the "what if" scenarios you mention as well. But, like you, I usually get rid of stuff and never think another thing about it...out of sight, out of mind, particularly with clothing that you don't wear that much - you never miss it. Good plan about donating every monday after weekend-clean up...may have to think about that!