Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Owning a lot of crap is fun and all, but it gets harder and harder to take care and keep track of things as you own more and more.  You are better off owning less taking better care of what you have.

Consolidating two homes is a bit of a nightmare.  You realize that you own a lot of stuff that you forgot you owned.  Two of everything, it seems, sometimes three.  Most snowbirds report this problem - they forget where they put something, assume it is in the "other house" and then go out and buy a duplicate copy - only to realize that what they were looking for was stuffed in the bottom of a closet somewhere.

That's when you begin to realize that you are drowning in a sea of "things" - and it can happen to anyone at any income level.  You suddenly realize you own all this "stuff" that at the time you bought it, seemed like a good idea, but years later, there it sits, unused or little-used, and you are loathe to part with it.

Stuff drags you down, literally.  You become so obsessed with keeping track and organizing things that you lose sight of more important things in life, like living.  Instead of enjoying life, you are reduced to the level of inventory manager of a lot of utter junk.

Throwing things away is one step.  Giving things away is another.  Selling things on eBay, garage sales, or on Craig's list is yet another.

For example, I have two scanners.  A friend of mine asked me for an opinion on what kind of scanner to buy.  I said, "Well, I have an extra, here you go!"  My partner's initial reaction (and mine) was, "Well, if you give that one away, then you'll only have one scanner!"

Such is the cry of the hoarder.  After reflecting a few moments, I realized that the scanner cost me maybe $150 several years ago, and was worth maybe $25 to $50 now, as you can buy an "all in one" scanner, printer, and fax machine for about $150 new at Staples.  So why hang on to it on the premise that maybe, someday, down the road, I will need a second scanner?  It made sense to give it as a gift to a friend than to hang on to it and let it clutter up my life.

But there are so many other things that are cluttering up my life, it isn't funny.  Office Supplies, for example, are a nuisance.  I had bought a lot of these when my office had several people in it - enough, it turns out, for a lifetime of use.  And yet, I am finding that as we move toward a paperless office, I am using pens, paper, and post-it notes less and less.  Most are drying out in drawers.

Who uses white-out anymore?  No one.  Time to throw it away!

This Spring, we will have to be ruthless in getting rid of things in garage sales.  We are finding that clutter is taking over our lives, and it is detracting from the enjoyment of life.

I think, perhaps, that is why some people decide to go "full time" RV-ing and sell everything.  You start over with a clean, downsized lifestyle, with less "stuff" and "junk" in your life!