Let’s talk about stuff.
Today I went to my stepdad’s to grab the last of my late mom’s stuff from their condo. The condo has sold and my stepdad is moving to a retirement community in a nearby town.
His family was there also, in full force, because this man has a lot of stuff…stuff that won’t fit in to his new abode. My mom had a lot of stuff too and most of the rest of it is sitting downstairs in the foyer. I don’t even want to bring it up into my place because, well…I have a lotta stuff too, again. Nice stuff. Useful stuff. Pretty stuff. But stuff all the same. So the few boxes left of Mom’s stuff sits downstairs for me to sort through. I can already tell you most of it is going to a donation centre.
Of course none of this accumulation of stuff holds a candle to the amount of stuff my late husband left behind him. It took me (and friends and family) almost a whole year – 7 full dumpsters, untold bags of recyclables, give-aways and donate-ables (think quadruple digits – good thing one of the items he hoarded was garbage bags)…and shameful amounts of trash left for curb-side pickup every week – before the first phase of purging his hoard was completed.
In the end, for all of us, our stuff gets left behind. We leave it for others to deal with, like JD ended up doing. Or we have to downsize, like my stepdad and my maternal grandmother, and our stuff ends up being what we can pack into a studio apartment in an assisted living community.
I like to joke that my plan is to die with only the clothes on my back and a bank account, to make things easy for my kids. But I know they will want some of my stuff, as I treasure having some of my mom’s stuff.
But the rest? Ugh.
George Carlin once riffed famously on our need to accumulate stuff and then places to hold our stuff. I don’t know how George lived, but I am pretty sure he owned stuff too. Stuff makes our lives easier and more comfortable. Let’s face it, we need stuff. There are people suffering in the world because they don’t have enough stuff to live a healthy, happy life.
But there’s enough stuff and way too much stuff. It is so damn easy in the Western World to have way too much stuff. And to get to the point where stuff owns you, instead of the other way around.
Constant vigilance is needed. Because stuff takes up valuable mental space as well as physical space.
So far, my stuff is well-purposed, I think dear Blog. I don’t begrudge the amount of mental energy and space my stuff takes to look after. I am enjoying having a fully-furnished home again.
I plan to enjoy it to the utmost, because I know that there may come a time when I too will have to pare down my stuff to fit into a single room.