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Posts Tagged ‘too much good stuff’

Living Above the Garage

June 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Apple iPadI like money. I use it to buy stuff. Mostly, I buy food and gasoline. If I had more money I might buy an Apple iPad.

My son is an outfielder for a local Little League baseball team. Twice this year, we had a team party at the house of one of the coaches. I’d like to think that I am not materialistic, but as I surveyed the driveway, garage, living room, and backyard, I found myself being a little envious. A lot actually. Jacuzzi, pool, R.V., flat screen TV, ATVs, pool table, hybrid SUV. Yup, they had all that.

I kept telling myself that I didn’t really want any of it, that it would be fun for a while but that the fun wouldn’t last. I am sure this is true and I am sure that once the fun ran out I would just want to go and buy more stuff. Still, though, I wanted at least some of it. A taste, anyway. A better car, perhaps, would be nice. As my grandma used to put it, “Just a smidgen.” Read more…

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Breaking Free (Part 1)

July 8, 2009 Leave a comment

In a classic Aesop’s Fable entitled “The Miser”, a man buries a piece of gold in the ground and then comes to visit it every few days to gloat over it. Someone figures out what he’s up to, digs up the gold, and takes off with it. When the man eventually comes back to gloat over his gold, he finds it missing and immediately has a panic attack. A passerby sees the man freaking out and inquires about the situation. Upon hearing the details, the passerby says “Take a stone and put it in the earth instead. … For, as far as I can see, even when the gold was there you made no use of it.”

My parents divorced while I was a sophomore in high school and I moved out with my mom thus beginning my life as a nomad. Since that year, the longest time I have spent in a single residence is two-and-a-half years, with an average of one residence per year. I learned quickly to not bother unpacking my boxes. To complicate matters, I have acquired stuff from two of my grandmothers, both of my parents plus a stepmother, and several ex-roommates. Oh yes, and let’s not forget about birthdays, Christmas, tax documents, etc. Needless to say, I have acquired a great deal of useful but unused stuff over the years, most of which is perpetually stored in boxes.

I am always throwing away unusable items, and I have had yard sales, used eBay, and more to get rid of some of the other stuff. But some stuff is just really difficult to sell and too valuable to throw away. So, three or four years ago, after yet another move, I decided to start giving away all of my useful but unused stuff to places like the Goodwill. In that time, I have given away 30 to 40 boxes, or roughly $2000 to $2500 worth, of stuff. It has been painful every single time, yet also unexplainably freeing.

A series of recent events combined with what I have just shared with you have caused an idea to form in my head that I am going to act on. You could say it’s an experiment, but it’s not one that can be easily undone if it goes awry. In the short-term it is very painful and time-consuming. I am giving away, and possibly selling, all of my stuff (used and unused) except for what I can fit into a single bedroom! This means I am getting rid of a 32-inch TV plus stand, an extra bed, 100s of CDs, over 50 books (many of which are classics), DVDs and VHS tapes, and on and on. I will still have to keep some boxes to store financial records and such, but my hope is that doing all this will be like taking chains off of my hands, feet, and chest.

This immense weight that I have been carrying all these years will be lifted and I should be freed.