Monday, January 12, 2009

In Praise (and Defense) of Stuff

My husband is a simple man. Before we got together, he lived in a small apartment with the bare necessities. I blew through his life like Sherman through Georgia and left a trail of "stuff" in my wake. Now, we rent a house with a large garage that is packed to the gills with things.

First of all, I like to be prepared for any contingency. So, I have lots of "stuff" for emergencies. Then, I have decorations for holidays which fill up practically a whole wall of the garage. Then, of course, there are my crafting items. I now hesitate to throw a lot of things away because I worry that they could be recycled/repurposed for a future craft project. And then there are the books. Oh the books! I lost count at 1000. (and that is 1000 HARDCOVER books, people) There is limited space in the house so I have to keep many of them in boxes in the garage. I dream of having a library someday.

I think the stuff that my husband least understands is the assorted family/childhood memoribilia. He doesn't have much of that left for various reasons. I admit that to most people, it may seem unnecessary to hang on to childhood toys and drawings and old Christmas cards. My mother recently moved out here and I have been helping her unpack boxes. She has lots of my childhood toys and it has really affected me seeing them again. Would my life go on just fine without my old toys? Of course it would. But, as human beings, we forget things. Those toys trigger long-forgotten memories and feelings. So do the other assorted trappings in my mother's storage unit. I guess part of me worries that if I get rid of those things, I will lose the memories associated with them.

And then there are the big things. Like my grandfather's La-z-boy. I had it recovered awhile back. Yes, it's old. Yes, it's not the most comfortable chair in the world. But it was the only place my grandfather sat and I can't help but feel maybe some of his essence lingers on there. When I sit in that chair with my baby, I feel a connection to my long-lost grandfather.

Do I hold onto stuff? Yes. Could I do without a lot of it? Of course I could. Am I overstuffed? Most definitely. But for now, I just want to open a box, pull out a toy or childhood drawing and be transported back in time and relive those moments of childhood and family members long gone.


HippieDog said...

Oh Amy, we are two peas in a pod. I'm a huge saver of everything too....I'm pretty sure I have every card that anyone has ever given me :) Also, I'll be posting our bookcase this week...I finally organized the shelves a little bit.....most are my husbands books....he's a history major book's of Aunt Ruth's Reader Digest of everything....and my craft books. Keep saving things...... :)

Gary said...

I love how you describe your reasons for hanging onto your stuff. I absolutely agree with you - if you have an emotional attachment to something, you should keep it. You'll end up being sad if you overpurge, which would suck.

I know some spouses (not me, of course) get frustrated with their partner's "stuff" because it has a tendency to get mixed in with the everyday stuff, which can make it hard to find things, adds undue psychic weight, and so on.

I've thought on occasion that it would be nice to have a whole separate house dedicated to one's keepsakes, so you could go over and enjoy the stuff whenever you wanted and the other wouldn't complain about the stuff being in the way. Probably not a very practical idea, but it seems nice. said...

Do I have stuff??? Oh my, yes.