Posted by: highmountainmuse | March 11, 2009

Stuff

Amassing more and more stuff.

Amassing more and more stuff.

We have more than we need.  Most of us do.  I am not proud of this and constantly look for ways to make do with less, have more to give, and still I have too much. Years ago, I moved around a lot.  With each move, I could assess all of my belongings, and keep only what I needed.  This seems harder with each move, with each year. When I was in my early twenties, I moved by Grey Hound bus to Santa Fe with a suit case.  That was enough back then.  That was twenty years ago. Next thing I knew, I had more than I could fit in the trunk of my old Dodge Dart. When I left New Mexico, I had to take the back seats out of my car to fit all my possessions, my two dogs, and my pregnant belly. I upgraded to an old Dodge van to make my move to California, and packed it full.  And then in moving to Colorado, I rented a U-Haul. Always more and more and more, even in my supposed simple ways. How much of this is necessary?  How much of what I moved did I really need?

 

Could I limit myself to a suitcase now? I’m afraid to think of how many suitcases I’d need to hoard all that “means so much to me,” or that “I just can’t live without.”  And yet, in reality, what do I need? My boys, my dog, my cats, my horses. These things don’t fit in a suitcase, I know. 

 

I try to justify my abundance knowing that I have less than many in our Western world. No TV, no clothes dryer, no dish washer, no telephone, no hair dryer… But I look around my home and know there is still too much. In the past I have lived quite comfortably without electricity, running water, hot water heater, a gas oven, two sets of plates,  and matching chairs… now look at all this.

 

There is a part of me that would like to simplify it all back down to one suitcase again.  I’d like to keep the boys, dog, cats, and horses… but “stuff” need not be more than a suitcase full.

 

What really matters?  I wonder what I’d take…

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Responses

  1. Don and I just moved into a house (from an apartment) late last year. I’m in my thirties, he is slightly older. 🙂 Needless to say, we have so much “stuff.” I’m more apt to throw things out, whereas Don likes to hang on to things we may need one day. But we managed to thin out some thngs before our move – because really, moving is the only time you ever touch everything you own, all within a few days.

    We live in Dallas, very comfortably, in a two bedroom 2 bath house. (Which, in the land of mega McMansions, is almost unheard of.) And we love our small house. It was built in the 20’s – and we have the small closets to prove it. But living small is very gratifying – because I found that it keeps you on your toes and makes you keep only the “best” clothes, art, space takers, etc… You have to edit your belongings. And you edit yourself, in the process, I’ve learned.

    But still, it’s amazing how much we require just to live comfortably. I guess I just try to keep myself from being overwhelmed by things.

  2. Every once in a while I decide I’m going to give some stuff away. Recently I gave some of my music box collection to one of my daughters, some antique family china to another, and so on. My kids were concerned and asked me if I was terminally ill. They got together and talked about people who give all their stuff away just before they die and worried about me. I assured them that I was well, had no intention of dying any time soon. It’s just that it’s time for someone else to be the keeper of the stuff. I’ve spent the first half of my life accumulating stuff and I’ll spend the second half getting rid of it all.

  3. Sandy, I sure could see it! This made me chuckle.. thanks.

  4. I KNOW JUST HOW YOU FEEL . I HAVE LIVED IN THE SAME PLACE FOR 25 YEARS . WE SOLD OUR HOME IN ARIZONA AND MOVED INTO A 30 FT TRAILER . BIG CHANGE . WHEN WE STOPPED IN LAS VEGAS WE MOVED INTO A APARTMENT 3 BED ROOM AND STARTED GETTING THINGS TO FILL IT UP . IT ALSO HAS A SHOP . I NOW TAKE CARE OF ONLLY 4 UNITS . I HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT WHAT WOULD I TAKE IF SOMETHING HAPPENED AND HAD TO LEAVE WITH ONLY WHAT I COULD CARRY .MY GREAT GRANDFATHERS BIBLE AND PICTURES .EVERY THING ELSE IS ONLY STUFF .IT CAN BE REPLACED . I WOULD HATE TO LOOSE EVERY THING ELSE BUT IT CAN BE REPLACED . BUT PICTURES TELL YOU WHERE YOU STARTED AND HOW LITTLE YOU HAD BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS MEMORIES OF PEOPLE AND PLACES YOU HAVE BEEN AND THE HOPE YOU LEFT YOUR MARK .GOOD THOUGHTS OF PEOPLE AND PLACES YOU HAVE BEEN . HOPING YOU LEFT THEM A LITTLE BETTER FOR YOU HAVING BEEN THERE . ENOUGH RAMBLING
    I HAVE TO GET TO WORK . I WILL GET UP A LITTLE EARLER AND CATCH ON YOUR MUSES .I HAVE MISSED THEM VERY MUCH .THANK YOU FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

  5. And Don, thanks for taking the time to ramble. Your words and stories always mean a great deal to me, and remind of somethings I forgot, some things I need to remember, and very often, of what is really important. One of the best teachers I ever had in this world, an old cowboy named Bud, taught me about horses and cows and patience and kindness… his favorite quote was “A life is not important except for the impact it has on others.”

  6. This is a comment for Karin who posted earlier…do you guys live near the M streets by chance? When Ron and I first got married we lived over on Longview street in neat little one bedroom stone duplex. I sometimes miss that cool old neighborhood.


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