17 Jun

From this:

Studio -- Full

…to this:

Studio -- Empty

Yup, it’s kinda empty here. This is not an interior design or lifestyle blog, so I don’t think I’ve ever shown what our living room looked like. Imagine that it probably looked a lot like your own living room — complete with rumply couch, lots of books, homework and projects strewn about, favorite pictures on the wall, a mix of “real” and IKEA furniture, etc.

This is the current decor of borrowed furniture and moving boxes:

Living Room -- Spartan

And do you know what? It’s not so bad. There’s still homework and projects strewn about, I miss a few of the favorite pictures on the wall and the couch could be a little more stylish, but it’s got me wondering (not for the first time) “why do we have so much stuff?”

I know a good part of the answer is that we are sentimental. I like thinking of my grandparents when I serve dessert out of their dishes, or the generosity of my uncle when I sit at his desk, or the treasures we’ve seen in Europe when I eat at the antique table we purchased here or look at the photos and paintings on the wall of places we’ve visited. We are also people who do things — and they all utilize “stuff;” like my hubby’s love of tinkering with geeky gadgets, my quiltmaking, the kids’ dess-up or Legos, all of our bikes, and on and on. Every time we move I am faced with possessions that take up space, but that we actually do use and enjoy.

My answer in the past has usually been to just get more organized, but organization is a double edged sword. It just allows us to get more stuff. All the DIY storage projects and closet organizing and container stores are an industry that enables us to live more comfortably with our stuff, but doesn’t address the fact that we wouldn’t need such big houses with so much storage if we just didn’t have so much stuff. (This reminds me how much I love George Carlin and his bit about “stuff.”)

My plan this time around is to be very mindful of what I incorporate into our next home and to have only as many storage devices as are aesthetically and functionally pleasing and when they are full to stop. I hope to be able to purge a reasonable amount of stuff, but I must admit that the administrative job of eBay- or Craig’s List-ing stuff intimidates me. This is my Grand Plan though. Wish me luck.

10 thoughts on “From this:

  1. Having moved 15 times in the past 17 years, albeit not all moves with all my things, I have wondered that exact same thing: why do I have so much stuff. It is the sentimentality mixed with fear that I might forget – people, places, memories.

    Every now and then I go through my things with a fine comb, remembering and consciously discarding things that once seemed important and now don’t anymore. This has been a great exercise because it also made me realise that some memories are demons worth deposing of.

    Most of the things I purge go to second hand shops (clothes) or stores similar to the goodwill. I hardly ever sell on ebay anymore – too much of a pain. The only things I do like selling are books and DVDs through Amazon.

    Once I’m through one of my purges, I feel cleansed and GREAT.

  2. I agree that one’s stuff should not take up more volume than they have in a reasonable-sized home. When you reach that volume it is time to purge. I like Craig’s list because people can see the stuff before they buy and you don’t have to wait for the cash. If no one responds to the ad, donate!

  3. Every time we move, I do a major purge and vow to keep the stuff to a minimum. It always starts piling up again. I am in a major purge mood, again. Unfortunately, our new house has too much room for collecting!! Good luck to you.

  4. No, it isn’t so bad. Your living room looks a bit like the one we had in California, except that there were books in every corner.
    How many weeks left before you go?

  5. Hi Kristin, I’m here on Oahu and have been taking day trips away from camp. I’ve visited Mililani several times and really think you would like it here. I haven’t seen it for a while so I was surprised when I saw that new stores have been built and a whole new subdivision. When do you get here? I’m using a different computer and don’t have your current e-mail address, but if you e-mail me I can respond! Hope you are well. Robin

  6. I just gave some furniture and other things to my granddaughter who has a new apartment. It does feel good to get some things out of the house. We all have too much stuff. At least you have the chance to weed out when you move. I haven’t moved for 36 years.

  7. i haven’t moved much. i just remember moving from a studio apartment into my current house. and somehow i had enough to fill it up. can’t imagine how much stuff i actually have now. packing it up in boxes will surely be a surprise when the time comes i think…..

  8. I notice that when company is coming my home gets a deep cleaning that helps remove the clutter. There are two problems with that. One…it takes me forever to do this kind of cleaning because I pause at every little item, debating what to do with it, toss or keep, etc. The second problem? We don’t have company OFTEN ENOUGH! I’m torn between enjoying “stuff” and having a minimal decor.

  9. I am purging as well, but I seem to be acquiring nearly as fast. I keep seeing great garage sales! Last week I bought a huge ceramic pumpkin at one. What a dumb idea, but it really is a cool pumpkin. At the same sale they had a whole table full of Polish pottery in perfect condition and I thought about you.

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