STUFF post

One sister is a recovering shopaholic – and annoying, in that way recovering addicts tend to be.


I have, over the past few years, been much less likely to get things than I used to be. Oh sure, I might buy a few DVDs or CDs per year, but it’s nothing like my heyday a couple of decades ago. This has been a function of several factors:

1. Stuff owns you. When you have stuff, you have to keep track of stuff, you have to dust stuff. The old cliche about the boat owner is true; the two happiest days of his/her life are the day getting the boat and the day selling it.

I used to live in apartments, which meant moving every few years. Schlepping the long white boxes of my comic books – which I’ve since sold – and the heavy boxes containing LPs – which I have not – got very old.

There was this older couple I once knew, and they had a rule: for every item that came into the house, an item of equal size had to go out. I admire their discipline because I’m pretty sure I could not do that.

There was this young woman on JEOPARDY! a few years ago who stunned Trebek when she talked about the fire at her dwelling and how liberating it was. I’m certainly in that mindset, but I sure understood the sentiment.

2. My family obviously has issues with stuff. When he died, my father had a couple of warehouses full of stuff he was (presumably) going to sell, but it was in such disarray, my family struggled for a couple of years to thin it out. My mother used to collect bells, but one day just decided that they were taking over the living room and dumped all but a handful. One sister is a recovering shopaholic – and annoying, in that way recovering addicts tend to be.

3. If I can’t use the stuff, then I don’t want the stuff. I actually like reference books because I access them regularly. But that pile of books I keep meaning to read is starting to get on my nerves. Of course, I love music, but it is probably the case that I could not play all I own if I played it 10 hours a day, every day for a year; if I’m not listening to it, do I need it?

What is your relationship with stuff? How do you limit how much stuff you have? Are some of your stuff in storage?