Thursday, August 18, 2011

Living Simply: Why Do We Have So Much Stuff?

My husband and I are renting my grandparent’s old house.  They built a new one and are trying to sell the old one.  They don’t want to leave the house vacant, so here we are.  When God dropped a job in my husband’s lap, we needed a place to stay and viola! a house fell into our laps too. 
So, my grandparents still have a lot of stuff in the house that they need to go through--deciding what to keep and what to toss.  I plan on boxing up a lot of things for them (and doing some sprucing up to get it ready to sell!), and I’ve been thinking a lot about how much stuff the average person accumulates.  
Over forty years. Thats how long my grandparents were in this house. Thats a long time--and a long time to fill it up with stuff.  Of course, its gonna take a while to sift through forty years worth of living.  
When the hubs and I moved from Philly to Louisiana, we got rid of a lot of stuff (and we had skimmed down during the move before that), so I like to think we are closer to bare bones.  Then we moved into my grandparent’s house.  I feel like we have close to nothing! (Not really, though.)  There is no way we are going to fill up a 7 room house when we are used to living in a two to three room apartment. 
So why do we have so much stuff?  Society is always convincing us that we need the next new thing, and most of us believe it.  And, really, most of the stuff winds up forgotten in a drawer or closet somewhere.  When you pull everything out, you realize that you have a (rather large) pile of useless stuff. 
Of course, some things are good and nostalgic and worth saving.  I’m talking about junk we save because we think we’ll need it someday and then it just sits there.  
I hope to “clean out” our house every couple of years--getting rid of things I haven’t used or thought about in at least one year.  Then, hopefully, the build-up of stuff won’t be so bad.  Out with the old and in with the new.  (I’ve also thought about doing this with my closet--when I buy something new, I have to give away something old). 
Have you ever been surprised at how much stuff you have?


  1. I have the opposite problem! I hate junk so much that I sometimes end up throwing out things that I WILL need later. The only thing I ever kept needlessly was my huge book collection and your premove clean out inspired me to thin that down too!

  2. I'm so proud of your book reduction! Although its hard to part with our books, we won't read most of them again.