Sometimes I fear that if I were to be given a job title it would be stuff manager. Read this link to see what I mean and as you read picture me as Luke finding out that Darth Vader is his father, “NOOOOOO, it can’t be . . .that’s impossible . . . NOOOOOOOO!”
I hate stuff. Basically it is like tribbles that breed in the corners of your house when you aren’t looking. See what I did there? I made a reference to Star Wars and Star Trek in the first few sentences, heck yes I’m a nerd.
Earlier this year I did a time log, and the results were a bit scary. I spend an average of four hours a day as stuff manager: cleaning our stuff, preventing the toddler from destroying our stuff, purchasing new stuff (of the babyproofing variety), rearranging our stuff , cleaning the stuff the toddler keeps getting into. Ugh.
In the spring we had a flood. OK I am being melodramatic, it was 1/2 inch over a few hundred square feet of living space. As a result I had to go through and throw out what amounted to about 12 boxes of stuff. With very few exceptions I was glad to be rid of it all. Stuff is burdening mentally, physically and emotionally.
In our old apartment I would amuse/ drive my husband nuts by going through all of our stuff every three months, and usually take a few boxes of stuff to Good will. For the most part we had just what we needed, no more, no less.
Now that we purchased our first house there are so many more things that need to be maintained, and tools necessary to do so. Now don’t get me wrong, we are so grateful for our home. sure Its a bit of a fixer upper, its got a few flaws, (your welcome for getting the troll song from Frozen stuck in your head for the next hour), but it is a good fit for our family.
Its an unfortunate fact of life that stuff takes time to clean, maintain, organize, etc. All of that is time I would rather be spending with my family, or reading or writng– stuff distracts from these things.
For a while I decided that the answer was to make sure that there were no more unused things taking up mental and physical space. Reading a book about the necessity of poverty in the life of the lay Christian, only fueled what became a somewhat scrupulous undertaking.
I began a massive purge with the result that fifty boxes given away or donated so far. I have no idea how we accumulated that much unnecessary stuff, its really is like tribbles I tell you!
Throughout the process, I discovered that an overly zealous commitment to getting rid of all unnecessary belongings can be just as dangerous as hoarding. The point at which you are frustrated with your spouse because they won’t let you get rid of all of their stuff, you have a problem. Spending substantial amounts of time and energy deliberating the merit of keep ing each individual item at great length is time that could have been better spent.
When used appropriately in an attitude of stewardship, stuff can help foster relationships. Glancing around my living room, I see many things that aid in developing relationships or personal growth. Furniture provides a place for guests to sit and comfortably converse, books enrich the mind, and art is displayed to uplift the soul.
An unhealthy obsession with decluttering in the name of freedom from possessions just tightens the chains all the more. Whether you are obsessed with accumulating stuff or getting rid of it, you are still focused on your possessions.
I am striving to be focused on relationships instead.
How about you, are you a purger or a keeper? Where do you think the proper balance lies? Is your stuff like Tribbles? Please reassure me that you know what tribbles are!