Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How much stuff do you own?...

and do you really need it all?

Let's move away from riots, illegal immigrants, free speech, the Obama administration lying (no big surprise there), and talk about the stuff that weighs us down.

You know the stuff I'm talking about.  The stuff we have to clean and organize, stuff which usually involves buying a bunch of storage boxes, bins, and baskets, and just makes our lives way more complicated than necessary.

I was always fascinated when reading historical fiction when some lady would pull out her one brooch to wear to a ball.  One brooch?  Look in most ladies jewel boxes today and you'll find 50 or 60 pieces of junk jewelry, most of which is never worn after one season.  And don't even get me started on shoes.

When I started my decluttering, which I now like to call "editing", it was because I was sick and tired of caring for all that stuff.  My soul craved open and clear spaces, and less to clean and rearrange.

I've been at it for about three years, and still marvel at all we still have, while at the same time admiring the spaces opening up in the barn and the house.  Do I really need 5 kitchen whisks?  Nope.  A few hit the trash can yesterday. 

This morning, over at Becoming Minimalist, I read 21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own, and it spurred some deeper thinking about our possessions.

The very first statistic is there are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).  Well, sure; I guess that could be true if you count every safety pin, pencil, paper clip as separate items.  However, it does make you stop and ask, "How many paper clips does a household really need?"  I have enough push pins to build a house, and I never met a notebook or pen I didn't crave with a lust that should be reserved for more important things.  And don't even ask me about garden tools or craft supplies. 

Here's a few more that caught my attention:
8. The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine (Forbes).
9. The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually (Forbes).
Whoa.  $1700.00 dollars for clothes?  My annual budget for the two of us is about $150.00, including underwear and shoes, most of which is purchased online. 
Number 21 on the list:  The $8 billion home organization industry has more than doubled in size since the early 2000’s—growing at a staggering rate of 10% each year (Uppercase).
Been there, done that.  Do you realize that there are whole stores filled with containers and "organizing" systems?

Every new plastic box that made its way into my house to "organize" just made it worse.  Now I gloat every time an empty plastic storage box hits the storage box pile in the barn.

Our homes have become the equivalent of storage facilities.
5. The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self-storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self-storage roofing (SSA).
I know people who have off-site storage they've had for 10 or more years. 

Is this really necessary?
If you read any decorating blog, you'll find the new hot thing is to have a coffee station set up somewhere in your home.  Really?  Now we're turning our homes into fast food restaurants and using prime space for overpriced coffee pods.
I'm not advocating against having some pretty things or that living out of a back pack is superior.  Everyone has to live how they choose. 

Is your stuff keeping you from fulfilling dreams?  Think about it.

From: 21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own
The numbers paint a jarring picture of excessive consumption and unnecessary accumulation. Fortunately, the solution is not difficult. The invitation to own less is an invitation to freedom, intentionality, and passion. And it can be discovered at your nearest drop-off center.
My gardening work is on hold due to rain today and tomorrow.  It's time to fill more boxes for the thrift store, starting with the 5 or 6 hair appliances I never use anymore.  I may even get rid of some paper clips, too.  Buh, bye. 


Another view of minimalism that has merit.  In particular his closing paragraph puts it all in perspective:

The Art of Manliness:  The Problem With Minimalism

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