Thursday, May 03, 2007


It's something that we collect. We put it on shelves, in drawers and in boxes. And we often pack it up and unpack it every time we move. Sometimes we don't bother unpacking it. Sometimes we put it in trunks, the attic, the shed or a storage unit. It gets pushed under the bed and to the far recesses of the closet. It can be found on coffee tables, desks, dressers, kitchen counters and behind couches. It is everywhere. The funny part about stuff is that most of the time we don't need it, we just don't know what to do with it so we keep it.

When I entered married status, it meant that I had to clean out my stuff from my room when I was at home. My parents have been renovating, so they packed up everything in my room and put it into boxes, where it has remained in the storage shed for some time. When I was at home, my mom pulled them out and said, "Go through these and do something with it." This is ironic since my mom is the queen of stuff. She has more stuff than anyone I know. It's because she's sentimental and has good intentions. Perhaps that is why I am just the opposite. If I haven't used it or seen it in 5 years, I probably won't miss it.

So I went through the boxes and was quite amazed at the stuff I had saved. Old purses, weird trinkets and things that were on my shelves, cheap picture frames and stuffed animals. Luckily my nieces were loitering about, and they became the recipients of a lot of my stuff much to the opposition of my brother. I went from 3 large boxes down to 1 small box, which contained an old jewelry box my dad got me in Korea, my grandfather's old cameras and a few other odds and ends. I was quite pleased with my ability to scale down.

And then we were off to my storage unit to try to scale down the amount of things I would need to freight to NYC. I took my mom, my aunt and Cameron. We spent a good hour and a half going through boxes. They stood by catching all my cast offs... Cameron shoved them into garbage bags to be thrown away while my mom and aunt tried to salvage some of it to join the ranks of their stuff. I was surprised by some of the things I came across... old sweatshirts from BYU, towels, and other items I used in college, old sixties clothes I used for dress up days in high school, old artwork from the 6th grade, and a binder holding every single report card I ever received. I was able to cut down the stuff to mostly dishes, books and some photos.

Cameron's favorite box was one full of cards, letters and notes from high school. Who really knows why we keep all of this stuff. I imagine that someday sixty years from now when my grandkids or great grandkids are wondering what their old grammy was like when she was 14, they might wish that I had kept all of those old silly notes. But then, maybe not. Cameron and I took that box back to my parents place and looked through it the next morning. I threw away most of the cards and letters and spent a few reminiscent moments looking through the shoe box of school notes from my friends. They were completely silly and totally not worth keeping, but they provided a few minutes of nostalgic laughter.

Every time I move, I realize there is so much stuff I carry around with me that I don't need. I keep stacks and stacks of pants and other clothes that I haven't worn in years because I think that someday I might wear them again. This time, I just got rid of them, but I still find that I have too much stuff. Where does it all come from? I suppose that I just collect things and have a hard time letting them go. People are sentimental by nature. And the older we get the more stuff we have. I hate clutter, so I am more likely to throw things away now than I used to in the hopes that I may attain a clutter free life.

This has become more poignant in the last few weeks as I have moved and will move again and then again probably before the summer even starts. I have realized I can get by on very little and then everything else is just an added luxury. Until someone discovers how to zap things into other places eliminating the physical part of moving, I will continue to throw away and de-clutter everything in my sight. I look forward to the day I no longer have to use the word stuff to describe massive piles of unknown items that have been hidden from human view long enough to be deteriorating or considered antiques.

No comments: