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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-08-2004, 07:59 PM   #21
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

I know this is a practical crew, but another interesting aspect of the "stuff" issue is, I guess the word is, spiritual.

I find that the time I spend buying and using, cleaning and sorting, TRYING TO FIND, maintaining and repairing. . . STUFF. . . is a huge distraction from another task. The other task being, figuring out what is important to me and making sure that I focus on that.

What is true for me, individually, I think is true for our society, collectively, when we become so stuff-obsessed. We run out of time for reflection, contemplation, simple pleasures of listening to each other, spending time with loved ones, making dinner together. And the emptiness we feel must be filled (or so the TV commercials tell us) with more STUFF.

Pardon my soapbox, er, pulpit. It's just something I'm trying to make sense of in my own life. And change.

Anne
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-08-2004, 08:31 PM   #22
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

Quote:
I know this is a practical crew, but another interesting aspect of the "stuff" issue is, I guess the word is, spiritual.
My practicality tells me that "spiritual" is the wrong word. I prefer the word "human."

Quote:
It's just something I'm trying to make sense of in my own life.
You've confirmed a hypothesis I've always held about why shrinks become shrinks
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-08-2004, 09:06 PM   #23
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

Didn't someone (perhaps George Carlin) make some observations that we accumulate enough stuff to fill up our apt's, houses, garages. When we fill these up, we have to get bigger apt's, houses, garages. And then we fill up the bigger spaces, and the vicious circle begin a new.

I use to find myself constantly saying to my wife, "Can I throw this out?". Now I just wait two weeks, and every other Thursday or Friday night she says, "Man, we need to clean up this place." And on saturday morning, I make sure all the trash cans are nice and empty for the ensuing cleaning hurricane. I also "conveniently" take the kids out to parks or on loooong walks on saturday mornings. As long as my clutter toleration levels are above my wife's, I'm good.

- Alec
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-08-2004, 10:48 PM   #24
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

George Carlin - A place for my stuff
Actually this is just a place for my stuff, ya know? That's all, a little place for my stuff. That's all I want, that's all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? I can see it on your table, everybody's got a little place for their stuff. This is my stuff, that's your stuff, that'll be his stuff over there.

That's all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you're taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody's got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff.

And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn't want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you're saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That's what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore.

Did you ever notice when you go to somebody else's house, you never quite feel a hundred percent at home? You know why? No room for your stuff. Somebody else's stuff is all over the goddamn place! And if you stay overnight, unexpectedly, they give you a little bedroom to sleep in. Bedroom they haven't used in about eleven years. Someone died in it, eleven years ago. And they haven't moved any of his stuff! Right next to the bed there's usually a dresser or a bureau of some kind, and there's NO ROOM for your stuff on it. Somebody else's s--- is on the dresser. Have you noticed that their stuff is s--- and your s--- is stuff? God! And you say, "Get that s--- offa there and let me put my stuff down!"

Sometimes you leave your house to go on vacation. And you gotta take some of your stuff with you. Gotta take about two big suitcases full of stuff, when you go on vacation. You gotta take a smaller version of your house. It's the second version of your stuff. And you're gonna fly all the way to Honolulu. Gonna go across the continent, across half an ocean to Honolulu. You get down to the hotel room in Honolulu and you open up your suitcase and you put away all your stuff. "Here's a place here, put a little bit of stuff there, put some stuff here, put some stuff--you put your stuff there, I'll put some stuff--here's another place for stuff, look at this, I'll put some stuff here..." And even though you're far away from home, you start to get used to it, you start to feel okay, because after all, you do have some of your stuff with you.

That's when your friend calls up from Maui, and says, "Hey, why don'tchya come over to Maui for the weekend and spend a couple of nights over here." Oh, no! Now what do I pack? Right, you've gotta pack an even SMALLER version of your stuff. The third version of your house. Just enough stuff to take to Maui for a coupla days. You get over to Maui--I mean you're really getting extended now, when you think about it. You got stuff ALL the way back on the mainland, you got stuff on another island, you got stuff on this island. I mean, supply lines are getting longer and harder to maintain.

You get over to your friend's house on Maui and he gives you a little place to sleep, a little bed right next to his windowsill or something. You put some of your stuff up there. You put your stuff up there. You got your Visine, you got your nail clippers, and you put everything up. It takes about an hour and a half, but after a while you finally feel okay, say, "All right, I got my nail clippers, I must be okay." That's when your friend says, "Aaaaay, I think tonight we'll go over the other side of the island, visit a pal of mine and maybe stay over." Aww, no. NOW what do you pack? Right--you gotta pack an even SMALLER version of your stuff. The fourth version of your house. Only the stuff you know you're gonna need. Money, keys, comb, wallet, lighter, hanky, pen, smokes, rubber and change. Well, only the stuff you HOPE you're gonna need.

April 2000 George Carlin
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-09-2004, 03:51 AM   #25
 
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

That is good "stuff".

Leaving for Texas to pick up my motorcycle in about 2 weeks. The saddle bags are already full as it sits,
so just imagine what a small amount of "stuff" I can
take with me, having to fit it all on the bike for the ride home. Personally I find this forced paring of your pile
(even temporary) absolutely delicious.

John Galt
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Well said "trumpeting angel"!
Old 04-09-2004, 06:31 AM   #26
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Well said "trumpeting angel"!

"Less is more & more is less"! I've been preaching this to the wife now for a few years, to little avail. Somewhere we have crossed that invisible line in our psyche whereby more stuff actually became a disadvantage. If only we could see the subtle "quality of life" things that have been lost. Very similar to that invisible line we cross whereby something changes from a passing pleasure to an addiction! If only we had the wisdom to stop at that point & go no further!
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-09-2004, 02:33 PM   #27
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

My girlfriend and I have swapped roles.

Four+ years ago when we met and I was making mid six figures, I was Mr. "Hey, lets get it, its only money...I'll make more". and she was Ms. "But do we really need that?".

The last year, other way around.
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-10-2004, 06:22 AM   #28
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

This is a great thread ! I am a big believer in reducing the amount of stuff that detracts from your life, but there is another consideration, that is to make room for the stuff that actually increases your enjoyment ! For some they could carry this on their back, for others, it's a bit more. My car/motorcycle hobby keeps my garages pretty full of stuff, including tools. Somebody mentioned tools earlier, yeah, this is a big one for me, but they get used. The tough ones are the specialty tools, which aren't used very often and are hard to rent. These need to be justified.

I love to take long motorcycle and hiking/camping journies. It is amazing how little you actually want/have to take when you know you have to carry it on your back for 20 miles ! Motorcycles are the same, there is only so much you can stack on your bike, so only essentials get to come. I have to admit every time I see a Gold Wing pulling a trailer I get a little sick to my stomach !

I also have the very reasonable 1200sqft house with used furniture and no big/flat/plasma screen TV home entertainment stuff, which has housed myself and up to two roomates at one time or another. Hell, if you leave me my favorite Harley and the clothes on my back the house could burn and the only thing I would think about is that I got a check from the insurance company, the rest was just stuff (I built my Harley so I have a some nostalgic love for her).


I travel alot for extended stays, and often I'm not in the same place for more than a couple of weeks to a month, so when I travel, I take my laptop, and one backpack which I can always carry on the plane. I get some interesting comments about how little I take to travel 4000+ miles and stay for 3 months ! Hey, it's all I need !

JG, I hope you enjoy your trip to get the bike ! How long is the ride ?

-pan-
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-10-2004, 11:30 AM   #29
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

Although I've put thought into these ideas before (about simpler living and less STUFF), I've had the issue forced on me for the last year+. My sister died (age 47, no kids) and I'm her only heir. In addition to inheriting her well-tended IRAs and savings, I have had her lovely house and all of her (fairly well-organized and not-over-cluttered) STUFF to manage.

What to do with clothes that fit me, almost? With clothes that I like, almost? With any number of evening gowns (I didn't even own one!)? With these beautiful dishes? (I already have dishes.) With furniture that's beautiful but will never be "me?"

Now please don't write back with answers to all these questions; I've had the auction, done the dumpster, consigned much, donated more. I don't need to keep everything just because it was hers and she died tragically young. But the act of making those decisions, and so many of them, and the act of dumping out boatloads of MY old stuff just to make room here for the stuff of hers that I'm going to sort out - it really makes one sit up and take notice that there's a helluva lot of STUFF.

And as I dumped, I began to notice that life started seeming a little simpler and easier. And of course, as I am cleaning out the stuff of a loved one who died far too young, it makes me ponder: am I doing what I want to be doing with my life? Life suddenly seems too short to spend tending mountains of stuff.

Hence my take on this as spiritual. "Human" is a fine word for it, also.

Anne
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-10-2004, 12:01 PM   #30
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

It's tragic that it sometimes takes tragedy for us to properly reprioritize. It's even more tragic that the priorities often fall back to their "wrong" values as we fall back into the rut of the daily grind.

I always try to remember the pleasure of my early days traveling light and the satisfaction of "struggling" on a meager salary. Over the years, I have tried to relive that experience by purging "stuff," quitting my job, and taking a year or two to reset.

I'm almost two years into retirement now, but this is actually the forth time I've "retired." You can't retire too early or too often

Now that I have a kid, I try to emulate her joy of discovery and her lightness of being (although, she already has too much stuff).
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-10-2004, 12:32 PM   #31
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

I just finished breakfast, and I'm STUFFed. (cough)

And I have two large, furry, dog shaped meatloaves sleeping by the door waiting for a walk...
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-11-2004, 04:01 AM   #32
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

and that's it and that's the only thing I need, is this. I don't need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that's all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that's all I need. And that's all I need too. I don't need one other thing, not one - I need this. The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. And this. And that's all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair.

Steve Martin as Navin Johnson (The Jerk)....


But in all seriousity, I'm pretty good at not collecting junk, unless you count electronic gadgets....

I would rather spend my mad money on a good meal, or a trip somewhere...
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-11-2004, 04:09 AM   #33
 
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

Although I completely endorse the concept of uncluttering your life, in our case we have done a lot of
backsliding. We are both "junkies" at heart and sometimes it just seems easier to leave things where they are rather than make the effort to dispose.
For example, my wife is taking a load to the "free table"
at the nursing home where she works. I was poking around and found four (4) audio tapes of environmental
sounds that I had not listened to in 5 years. That's right, I held them back. MIght want to listen again someday
don't you know?

For panhead and anyone interested, my bike ride is about 900 miles. Hoping for good weather . I will
plan my departure based on the best forecast I can
get. After that it is all up to the "biker gods"

John Galt
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-11-2004, 11:10 AM   #34
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

I have two junk areas to resolve. My former "office" now looks like an electronics factory took a direct hit. I think I have about (in all seriousness) about 300 cables of various types, many of which are unrecognizable. Even after hucking a truck and a half full of stuff during my last move, I still have a lot of crap.

And my garage. Since I do all my own work on the house and cars, I have just about every tool known. Unfortunately I'm not good at putting my toys away, so over the last year there has been an increasing flow of stuff from the drawers and shelves to the top of my work bench, which is now a foot deep, and then onto the floor and coursing away from the bench.

The sick part is that in both places I know where just about everything is.
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-11-2004, 02:05 PM   #35
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

I sort of organize my stuff in piles. However, there
was this guy at work who never filed nor threw
anything away. His desk was piled a foot high and
you had to remove a stack from his guest chair to
sit down. He always knew right where to find
something, however. There is probably somebody
like that in every organization.

Cheers,

Charlie

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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-11-2004, 02:39 PM   #36
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

TH ! Ha ! Man do I know what you mean ! I try to be good about putting away my tools, but if you do alot of work on different things for a couple of days, work late and are lazy putting stuff away, the creeping mess sure does start. Like you, I own an amazing amount of tools, forget SAE and metric, hell I own a full set of witworth tools too. If you know what they are, then you know how bad it is. I try to clean it up before I start on another project though, caring for my tools is very important to me since they are all very good quality. Then you start pulling out the welders, lighting up the drill press, fire up the compressor, ah geez, there goes the house !

John Galt, 900 miles eh ? Man, I wish I was in your neck of the woods, sounds like a nice putt. How many days you gonna do ? sounds like a minimum of two (ouch) and could be stretched into a comfortable four with plenty of stops for, uh, sudds !! Throw some camping in along the way and I'm in heaven. I'll say a prayer to the biker gods for ya, keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down !

-pan-

PS: The weather sucked here in the south of france for the weekend, so my ride never happened. Guess I got next weekend to try. Happy Easter !
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-11-2004, 06:08 PM   #37
 
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

Hello panhead. Sorry to hear about your weather.
Hope it improves.

I have no planned number of days to ride the 900
miles back to Illinois. Will take my time, but if I get some
really good weather days I will go further. The
important thing is that I don't have to be anywhere
at any particular time, once I leave Texas. I try never
to set any firm deadlines when I am on the bike.

John Galt
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-13-2004, 10:30 PM   #38
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

Rewind 20 yrs. and everything I needed would fit into my Volvo...fast fwd w/2 kids and I have it down to one large U-haul. Had a yard sale last year and netted $1300..my daughter was thrilled until I pointed out that it probably cost us $5K to purchase. "Stuff" gets in the way and requires cleaning-usually with dryer sheets.

Much easier to spend less than to make more $$$.
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-14-2004, 03:41 AM   #39
 
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

Hi BusyMom! Yep, way easier to cut back than make more $$$. I was killin' myself chasing the buck pre-ER.
My son (kind of a gypsy) used to try to keep his possessions down to what he could get into whatever
vehicle he owned. Suspect his "pile" has grown, but
the desire to be mobile remains. As Martha S. used to say "It's a good thing!"

JOhn Galt
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff
Old 04-14-2004, 06:05 AM   #40
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Re: The hidden costs of too much stuff

My sister/husband(empty nesters) moved this year from Kentucky to Washington State - $6400 and Pete rented an airplane hanger(cheaper than storage lockers) for stuff until they find a 'larger' rental house. And that's after the usual garage sale, Goodwill, trips to dump ritual before moving.

At least I converted a couple of nephews to Bogleheads - although one did move a Creola 32 from Norfolk to Whidbey. This time it's up from sale.
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