"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Accumulation: It’s a real problem

Lately I’ve been realizing that the accumulation of stuff isn’t making me happy.  I have accumulated loads and loads of crap that I rarely ever use.  On a recent TEDx talk I watched on collaborative consumption the speaker, Rachel Botsman, asked the audience how many of them owned a cordless drill.  Most of the audience raised their hand.  Then she said the average lifetime use of a cordless drill is only 13minutes.  Clearly if you are a contractor or avid do-it-yourselfer you drill usage will be much higher, but for the average person that might be pretty accurate.  The speaker went on to say, it’s the hole that you want not the drill itself, and wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to conveniently source a drill when you needed one.
The story of the drill is relevant because we accumulate so much stuff because we think we need it, again we need the hole, not the drill.  I currently own three pneumatic nailers for no reason whatsoever.  If I ever decided to build an addition to my shed or house, I have the nailer for the job.  On the off chance I felt an urge to redo all of the trim work in my house, I have a nailer for that job too.  While we are at it if I wanted to do some more detailed trim work, you guessed it I have a nailer for that also.  I bought all these for small jobs I did years ago that would have been just as easy to complete with a hammer.  At the time though, I convinced myself that a pneumatic nailer would be something good to have just in case I ever needed to use one.  That makes no sense to me whatsoever but at the time I thought I was being smart. 
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Lately I have been trying to get rid of a bunch of stuff that I have accumulated over the years.  Beth and I have been selling things on E-bay, and Craigslist to recoup some of our wasted money.  Today I sorted through all of my clothes, and was shocked to discover the full extent of my wardrobe.  If anyone is paying attention to what I wear, they know that I only have a few items of clothing that I actually wear on a day to day basis.  What I found was I had 30lbs of clothes (apologies for the odd frame of reference, I didn’t realize I would be writing this post before they were already bagged up and sorted according to their fate.) that I just don’t wear for one reason or another, and another 30lbs of old race shirts that I have been saving to have made into a quilt one day (not likely to happen, quilts are expensive to have made, and I have been saving them for years).  Sixty pounds of clothing sitting idle in closets and dresser drawers, crazy right?
The stuff I have gotten rid of already is only a small dent in the amount of useless crap I own, but with every item I get rid of I feel a little better.  Happiness is an empty shelf! 
What have you accumulated over that years that makes you wonder what you were thinking?

6 comments:

  1. I'm horrible about not throwing away or donating clothes I don't wear. It does feel good to purge. If you don't want money for some things and don't want to take them to Goodwill, checkout my.freecycle.org .

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    1. Most of the clothes are going to Goodwill. I have used Freecycle before. I do realize that selling much of my stuff is a passing of the lemons situation but everyone must follow their own path. At least they will be paying full retail price.

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  2. This is so true!! My husband and I are on very different sides of this. I'm more and more in the "less is more" camp, while he wants to be prepared for any possibility. Granted, if you're the person who brings less, it's pretty nice to have a "more" person along. :)

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    1. 'I'm more and more in the "less is more" camp'. Interesting choice of words.

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  3. I can't throw away books. So, they lie in stacks all over my house. Hubz calls them my Blair Witch books. :)

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    1. You should get a Kindle. You can have all the books without having to possess the physical book itself.

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