Essay Collection

Breaking Up With Stuff

Stuff, it really is me, not you. And, we need to breakup.

Look at all this stuff.

Some of it is mine, some of it are items given to me. Either way, it’s a lot of stuff. Just the word, “stuff” kind of annoys me lately.

For the past few years I have been going through this internal debate in my head — while I want various items, do I really need it, or is it just going to end up being, stuff?

Let me back up a little. I used to be all about stuff. I’d get T-shirts on various trips, or when I was in high school we ordered every photo possible during band competitions. Shot glasses from vacation locations, statues of animals, stuffed toys — yup, I’d bring that all home.

But, several things have happened – I have had to help clean out my grandmother’s house, my aunt and uncle’s  house and while I was still living at my Dad’s the whole place was gutted after we came home to find our very own Niagara Falls flowing from the third floor, destroying pretty much everything in the house. We couldn’t even live there for months. Not one or two months, but almost a year.

Those experiences gave me a different perspective, especially when it came to helping with my aunt and uncle’s house. They traveled all over the world. Places you wouldn’t even set foot in today. Countries that don’t even exist anymore. It was amazing. They didn’t have that much stuff, and if they did, it usually had a piece of masking tape on it with the name of the country they got it from.

My uncle was a teacher. They were not rich by any means. So, my assumption is that they used their money to travel, learn, have experiences — not stuff. I decided then that, that was what I wanted to do.

Instead of buying all these things, I wanted to spend my money on adventures and experiences.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I just have to have that adorable little garden statue, because it’s just too cute, (and I spend a lot of time in my garden). But, overall I’ve tried to stop buying a lot of “stuff.” It’s why my house isn’t very well decorated.

When I travel, I tend to purchase items that are useable. For example, I always buy a mug from where I am so that I can remember my various adventures when I am sipping my morning coffee.

Ironically, while writing this article, Fast Company posted a story, “The 7 Reasons That Science Says You Should Pay For Experience, Not Things.” Totally, 100 percent agree with that headline.

For example, purses. I have a Coach purse, but I bought it on a great sale at an outlet for $80. For that type of purse, $80 is pretty darn good. However, I was still feeling sticker shock. But, I would never pay $300 for a handbag. However, I would pay $300 to rent a boat to take out on the lake for a few hours.

There is nothing wrong with stuff, heck I sell what you would consider “stuff.” But, for me, I think it’s more about balance, something that is sometimes hard to do in our stuff-driven society.

One trick I use, however, is to think of stuff in terms of flights. A $300 flight to Florida or a $300 handbag? I’ll always pick the flight.



Leave a Reply