Thinking about Stuff

In and out of a flu induced haze this weekend, I spent a good chunk of the day Saturday helping a friend unpack their belongings into a short term rental here in eastern Iowa. It was an interesting exercise in what matters to someone on a daily basis because this person, understandably, did not want to unpack something needlessly only to repack it within six months.

Some things were easy to unpack. You know, the things you actually use on a daily basis like the toaster or the everyday dishes or the box of somewhat mismatched towels. However, it is amazing how many things you end up agonizing over for a few minutes trying to decide the utility over the course of the next six months. You know, the wedding china that is actually still in the original boxes or the god awful glass punch bowl set that came from some relatives basement or the good towels for when guests stay at your home. If I have to spend more than fifteen seconds deciding how useful something is to my daily life maybe I do not really need to have that thing in my life?

At the end of the day what we ended up with was a kitchen half full of well-worn items and a stack of boxes destined to spend six months gathering dust. Heck, by the middle of the day we were making executive decisions based on the somewhat cryptic box labels chosen by the moving company. Small appliances…already got the toaster, so I think the rest can spend eternity in cardboard purgatory. Baking dishes/pans…found the beat up jelly roll pans and Pyrex 9×13, so we are good to go.

When did we become so controlled by the stuff we own?

Our homes our growing ever larger in the United State, but our families our steadily decreasing in average size. Yet, I see mini-storage facilities all over the town I live in with several more in various stages of construction. Think about mini-storage for a moment. These are places that you rent on a per month basis to store stuff out of your home. By the very nature of these facilities being distant from your home this is stuff you do not anticipate using or needing with any frequency.

I am not a big fan of the whole Marie Kondo cult, but I am totally agreeable to the concept of looking at a possession and questioning its necessity in my daily existence. We could all do well to spend some time really thinking about the nature of the stuff in our lives.

The things you own end up owning you.

-Tyler Durden, Fight Club


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