Charge Up for Good Health

No More Stuff

How much do we really need? Probably not as much as we think.

When I poke through the drawers, closets and shelves in my house, it’s hard not to gasp at all the stuff we’ve accumulated through the years. A kitchen cabinet filled with mugs. Bookshelves loaded down with books. Games and puzzles never played. Luggage that gets little use. Christmas ornaments that never go on display.

How did it get that way? I often wonder. I’m not even someone who likes stuff. In fact, I don’t really collect anything at all -- well, OK, I do love jewelry, and I have a weakness for books and magazines -- and I tend to buy only what I need. And yet, I live in a house filled with stuff that I don’t want, need or use. Imagine if I did like stuff!

Resisting the urge to bring more stuff into the house isn’t easy. After all, we live in a consumer society. Temptation beckons everywhere we go, everywhere we look. Then there are all those holidays and birthdays and vacations. That’s when we let down our guard down and allow more stuff to creep into our lives.

Truth is, we don’t even need half the stuff we own. I know I certainly don’t need 20 tubes of lipstick, 15 pocketbooks and any form of camping gear when I don’t even camp. And yet, those items are lurking in my house, just waiting to be tossed. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a chute where we simply took our stuff from up here (as he reached toward an imaginary item overhead), did a pivot and sent it down the chute into the garbage?” In reality, he said, that’s where most of our stuff winds up: in the trash -- or at least at the Good Will.

Eliminating the stuff in our homes isn’t easy, but I think I can start by being more vigilant about what I bring home in the first place. Is it something I really, really want? Possibly. Do I really have a need for it? Probably not. And perhaps most important, do I have the room to store it? That usually depends on the size of the object. Asking those questions helps prevent the buildup of stuff that plagues so many homes, mine included.

How do you keep stuff from taking over your house?



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