IS TOO MUCH STUFF A BURDEN?
Originally posted on May 1, 2013
All our lives, especially in the pursuit of the American Dream, we seek to work and accumulate material possessions and live a comfortable life. There is nothing wrong with this dream per se, but sometimes we forget that too much stuff can be a burden.
Or maybe you don’t think you have very many things.
You say, Diana, I don’t have anything! Are you sure about that? Most of us Americans, even the poor ones, have more money and possessions than the rest of the world. Most of us have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in our tummies. Hopefully you are gainfully employed. If not, you may be on unemployment insurance, although it is not very much. I assume you don’t live in a mud hut, having to walk ten miles to get water everyday.
Brian and I are recent homeowners.
The process to buy a home is exhausting and expensive. And I hate moving. We were in a two bedroom apartment that was very cluttered because of lack of space. Extra stuff was stored in the second bedroom all the way up to the ceiling.
We probably would have stayed in the apartment if they didn’t raise our rent every year. But we were also getting more music equipment, and the neighbors were probably not thrilled with the music booming above them. So we moved.
The buying process was a whirlwind. From the time we started looking for a house, until the closing date, was a 30 day period. My husband wanted to move before it got hot out.
Those of you outside of Arizona that don’t know, it gets to 120 degrees here in the summer. And we are on the second floor. Moving furniture down a flight of stairs isn’t fun. So, we were supposed to have a garage sale or sell stuff on ebay, or give things to charity, but we didn’t have enough time.
We were signing papers, meeting with the realtor almost every night for something, and then we weren’t sure if we were going to get the house until 10 days before we got the keys. We spent every waking moment packing. We ran out of boxes, even though we had tons of boxes given to us. We spent a lot of money on bubble wrap and 8 rolls of tape.
The big things aren’t the problem.
It’s the miscellaneous stuff you have no idea what to do with. At first, you dutifully label every box with the exact contents. Then the last day or two, you are so tired, you don’t care. You just throw it in any box to get it moved.
We tried to have the apartment packed for when the movers came. The furniture was wrapped, and boxes were organized neatly. We budgeted $500 for four hours, thinking that was going to be enough time. It wound up to be 6 hours to get the heavy stuff moved.
We then had to go rent a U-Haul for $60 to pack up the rest of the small stuff. Then we had our two cars full of stuff. It took 3 days to move. I kept thinking that two people without kids shouldn’t have that much stuff.
Then came the unpacking.
We have a larger house, but we have most of the boxes in the garage until we can slowly go through the boxes and get them unpacked. Just unpacking the paper stuff was enough to drive anyone crazy. Brian had stuff saved from 2008. Boxes of stuff that contained items he should have gotten rid of 10 years ago. I had collected toiletries over the years, enough to open a beauty supply store. I am giving most away to the shelter in the city.
So, that means we will be unpacking for 6 months. That Bible verse that talks about laying up treasures in heaven wasn’t kidding.
Just think about what you have to do with every item that you buy:
1. Clean it/Dust it
2. Fix it when It breaks
3. Store it
4. Guard it so it isn’t stolen
5. Sell it or give it away when you don’t want it anymore.
6. Look for it when you misplaced it.
7. Make payments on it if it isn’t paid for in full
8. If it’s alive, you gotta feed it, water it, weed it, fertilize it, prune it…
9. Insure it
10. Figure out who will get your stuff when you die. That will make your head spin.
Again, there is nothing wrong with having things. They can be tools. I have a lot of music equipment, obviously because we are musicians. I have a lot of sheet music and CD’s for the same reason. Those are tools associated with my performances. It’s great to have these things, but I have to pay extra insurance on it. I also had to buy an alarm system in case someone decides they want my equipment. Just something to think about.
I used to sew for a living and tailor all my clothes. It was a fun and creative outlet. Now, I barely have time to fix a button on a shirt. So I have gone through my sewing gadgets and fabric and have given a lot of it away.
My book collection is another matter.
I am a bookworm. I used to have an entire room of books overflowing. It was hard to part with some of the books, but I didn’t have the room anymore. Now I have narrowed it down to a respectable 4 bookcases of my favorites. I do have an e-reader, in case you were wondering. But I haven’t had time to read lately. I will hopefully get that time when things get organized and packed!
I am giving away a lot of things I don’t use. I don’t bother with garage sales anymore because it’s a waste of time. I will use ebay when I have something valuable. It sure clears my mind when I don’t have all this clutter around. I can enjoy my family instead of maintaining my stuff.
I encourage you to take a look at your home and see what you can eliminate or sell or give away. Maybe be a blessing to someone else that doesn’t have as much as you do.
Spend some time with your family, or doing something you love, instead of taking care of your stuff!