So, we’re trying to divest ourselves of stuff. Big stuff, little stuff, old stuff, new stuff, working stuff, broken stuff - just stuff. It’s actually baffling how much stuff can creep into your life while you’re not looking. Stuff jumps into your shopping cart, charges itself to your credit card and sneaks into a box destined for your home via some kindly Canada Post employee who’s entirely unimpressed with how much stuff he has to leave in your mailbox or lug into your house. Stuff is sneaky. As such, it’s high time we put stuff where it belongs.
It didn’t always used to be this way. Growing up, stuff was naturally kept at bay due to the cost of acquisition of said stuff; and in simpler times, there just wasn’t nearly as much stuff as there is now to buy. There exists such a consumer culture right now that our interest in our own stuff expires as newer versions of the same stuff gets released year after year. I was floored at how busy every mall we visited in Miami during our most recent family trip was. If there was a recession, then people bought a lot more stuff that I’d ever believed if this was an example of spending restraint. The stuff that had been accumulated between my three siblings by the time I was born fit neatly in a container the size and shape of a Donkey Kong barrel. By the time I’d left home to come to Canada following high school, the barrel was still there and the contents had not changed significantly since my elder sister last pushed herself around on a ratty old orange play horse with four wheels on a too-narrow base. Today, stuff has conquered large swaths of territory in my house and appears keen to continue its wanton destruction of clean living space.Our printer that has served us well for the last five years recently depleted its toner cartridge. After tens of minutes of hunting around at FutureShop for a replacement cartridge, we were informed that that model had been discontinued, and the toner cartridge was no longer available for purchase. What’s a couple that’s recently sworn to uphold a significant reduction in stuff to do? Well, since those SoGreenBaby packages have to go out tonight, I guess we have to buy a new printer, right?
Stuff is insidious and unnecessary. The little monster has his own fair share of stuff littered across the living room, but can reliably be counted on to play with only five, maybe six of those things. The other ninety billion items of stuff could disappear, and he wouldn’t notice - admittedly, we’ve been keeping most of this stuff around so that his little friends have stuff to play with when they come to visit. But that’s not a good enough reason, and eventually the little monster’s stuff will also be whittled away to a manageable and reasonable amount. I’ve always had a bit of a pack rat mentality. I’ve attached too much sentimentality to inanimate stuff, but another reason why I hold on to a lot of this stuff is because rummaging through it ostensibly triggers memories that I’d forgotten, that usually make for good stories and blog entries. Again, however, this is not a good enough reason to hold onto stuff. Plenty enough things happen in my life on a day to day basis that there is sufficient material to recount interesting stories and blog entries without having to rely on things that happened fifteen years ago. Besides, the best stories from your past are the ones that you can relate to your present, and that happens based on experiences when you least expect them to happen.
So, stuff begone. Garbage amnesty day is next week, but we’re being responsible about our excess stuff. Compost and recycled products still has its place. Electronics are being disposed of correctly at depots equipped to handle these things the right way. Donations are being made of stuff that’s in serviceable condition, and garbage goes where garbage goes while we make the vow to shop responsibly for stuff that’s necessary and not excessively indulgent. By doing so, hopefully the little monster will grow up learning by example that the frivolous acquisition of stuff is not the ideal to aspire to, contrary to what - well, to what every other voice in his ear will be telling him.