All About the Stuff

It’s true. I have a love-hate relationship with our stuff. And I wish I could figure out what the exact point is where something that I wanted and valued becomes something that is on the floor, unwanted, and a burden.

Between having a few weekends of travel, some birthdays, and some major papers due, the house has fallen into a bit (quite a lot a bit) of disrepair. We all have full tummies and clean clothes on our backs, so it’s not like we have fallen into disrepair. It’s just the house… the stuff in the house.

Spring finally showed up a few hours weeks ago, so there is the transition of stuff that goes along with that. Put the sleds away, bring out the summer sports stuff. Will your winter boots fit you next year or do we put them in the box to give away? (And then do the same thing with every item of clothing in the drawer.) The turnover and transition of seasonal stuff is actually quite the prcoess with a growing family, and while it has been done this spring, it has not been completed, and the last few bins to put away and items to sort are sitting in piles around the house.  And they are annoying me…

But what is annoying me most is not the seasonal stuff, it’s the stuff stuff. The clutter. The pointless mail that we get that I have scattered in piles around the house instead of opening and disposing of immediately. It’s piles of stuff that I don’t even know what it is or who wants it or how it even got in this house in the first place!

I’m not sure I was foolish enough to think that living in a bigger house would mean less mess, but you’d think it would at least be  less cluttered than living in that teeny tiny trailer! And, it’s true… sort of. We do actually have space to walk in this house. But the clutter mess is still there. The same old clutter mess follows us whereever we go. And right now I don’t know where to begin. (And that never happens with me.) Normally, I look at a room and can tell you where every item belongs. But not anymore. I can tell you where I would like everything to be (OUT OF MY HOUSE!), but I just can’t figure any of it out right now.

I am slowly beginning to admire people who like their stuff. I used to think that it was somehow wrong to like what you had when so many people in the world have so little. But now I see that it may have less to do with what you have and how much you have, and more with your attitude towards it all. And my attitude stinks.

I am ungrateful with the abundance because I just can’t handle it all. And so instead of being grateful I turn resentful. And ungrateful. And I really want to be different. But I don’t know if I need to start with the stuff or the attitude towards the stuff…

I’ve heard it said — and have some friends who live by this mantra — that you should only keep in your house what you love. (Beside things like a toilet brush… because I don’t think anyone loves their toilet brush, but you really do need it.) I could try that. And, even though I currently hate almost all of the stuff in my house, I don’t think I’d really throw everything out, right?!

So… tonight I’m wondering how everyone deals with this curse of the North American abundance of “stuff.” Are you okay with what you have? Do you want more? Do you wish you had less — or at least less clutter? I wonder if some of my frustration is linked with guilt over the abundance. Anyone else experience that? Is it just because I am a neat person living with four messy people that I don’t like how the stuff makes the house messy? Or is it really all about the stuff?

*ADDENDUM I know that gratitude and thankfulness is the first step in this process. I know I am using strong language like “hate.” But I really want to get to the core of why stuff becomes a burden… why the stuff I wanted now becomes the stuff that clutters up my life and frustrates me. Why? Why? Why? Why it seems like it’s simultaneosly never enough and always too much…

Posted in Life | 3 Comments

3 Responses to All About the Stuff

  1. Karen Lethbridge says:

    It’s not about the stuff. It’s about the stage of life you are in. You still have growing children who are growing up but still enjoy toys, and different stages of books, and music, and, and, and. There’s a place for everything, and everything in it’s place….Your family is capable of helping deal with the stuff.

    Every day, have them pick up (or put away or give away) things according to their age. Today I dealt with 40+ pieces of paper…Pretty soon they will get that they have to be responsible for their stuff. We used to play laundry basketball (sort the right dirty clothes into the right dirty clothes pile) It was great until the kids figured out that I was making them work. You got to keep on them, right up until they leave home or you might as well forget ever dealing with the clutter.

    Hope Mission has a second hand store for people who are in their programs you can donate to. It’s sometimes hard to see your clutter, when you go to your friends house, and all you see is clean and tidy. You never get to see inside their closets….they have stuff crammed in their to hide it when someone comes over!!! 🙂 Everyone does it.

  2. Carissa says:

    I totally hear ya, Dixie, and also, very much appreciate what Karen shared. I am dealing with this right now…and frustrated. I am grateful for all the hand-me-downs we have received; however, when the clothes aren’t going to fit the child for several years, it makes storage tricky. When one child is picky, you can’t just give away the clothes that would fit him, b/c another child will, eventually, fit them. And yes, will these boots that have been lost this year and are in perfect shape, still fit the youngest next year, or do we get rid of them? We are (finally) planning a garage sale, but going through the stuff is still very hard, and the process is just beginning. Plus, what do I choose to price and try to sell, or what do I just give away b/c it’s not worth the hassle?? ugh. And yes, I hope the stage of life and the number of children makes a big difference in how life is right now. I am bitter about the fact that I have to keep on the kids or they don’t do anything. I hate being such a nag, but I am also sick and tired of doing everything myself when they are perfectly capable…. 🙂 Good luck to you, Dixie! 🙂

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