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The Story of Stuff…We Are Part Man, Part Packrat


Do you remember George Carlin’s classic routine on “stuff”? Carlin’s famous, good natured satire on how we all like to accumulate stuff, left an indelible impression on me and many others. It was funny and true, but it didn’t stop us from acquiring even more things. We LOVE things.


Why do we keep accumulating “stuff”? What is stuff, anyway? It’s just a word that can apply to anything. You put “stuff” in the closet, stuff in the basement, you pack stuff in your duffel when you go on vacation, you put stuff on a cut to help it heal.


Stuff refers to the thing, the acquisition of which, we feel will enhance our lives.


We shop regularly to buy more “stuff”, more things.


We get rid of stuff in tag sales, or we send it to Good Will, or give it away, or just pitch it, only to go out, with credit card in hand to accumulate more stuff. 


What kind of stuff do we generally like to bring home? 


Some people find it necessary to have every new techno gadget that hits the scene. So they spend their resources on the latest iPhones, Ipads, laptops, flat panel TVs, recorders, cameras, and Wii.


All the time we are amassing “stuff”, we are longing for simplicity. Strange irony, isn’t it?


Don’t get me wrong. I love “stuff”. In many ways, I am the material girl. I love to shop for stuff. That being said, I am a wise shopper. Appreciate a bargain and I buy quality. These values were impressed on me by my mom, who always opted for quality. She said don’t buy it unless you can afford the best of its kind and you’ll never regret your purchase.


What does having new stuff do for you? How does it benefit you?


That’s easy, it’s a mood enhancer. Having something new gives you a nice lift.


If everything in life were based on “need”, our lives would be boring indeed. Where’s the fun factor?


Some little cooking utensil can lift your spirit and make your day. It doesn’t have to be a big purchase every time to refresh your spirit. I’ve been looking for a reamer for months. I’m looking for a wood one, and it’s been hard to find. When I find it, it’ll be a triumph, a minor one, but mood enhancing, nonetheless.


There’s a psychology to obtaining “stuff”.


I think we like to bring “new” things into our lives. “Stuff” is a symbol for the new. It has something to do with refreshing and going forward. That’s a good healthy instinct. But we have to make room for the new by letting go of the old that is not being used, and therefore taking up valuable space.


If you are a packrat, it’s time to reconsider all that stuff that is cluttering your life. It’s not serving you, so move it out and move it on. In other words, keep it circulating and it won’t be wasted. What constitutes your clutter, can be very useful to someone else.


There is nothing wrong with enjoying things as long as you don’t go deep into debt obtaining them.


I love my collections too. There are things you would not want to part with, such as an art collection, pottery, silver, or Christmas ornaments for example.


I do empty my clothes closets from time to time, passing on clothes that I don’t wear. As long as they are in good condition, there are people who will enjoy having them. Don’t give away anything you think you will wear or need in the future. I also have a collection of vintage clothing that I wouldn’t part with for anything, but that’s just me. Some people would move that out too. 


Before you head out shopping, keep in mind, nature abhors a vacuum.


Make space for new “stuff” to come into your life and it will.


Joan Saloomey



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