The Value of "Stuff"

There’s a lot to say about letting go of things. It’s difficult. It’s emotional. It’s not fun. I’ve always gotten attached to things very easily. For me, a vacuum is not just a thing. It’s a memory. I think about throwing away or selling the vacuum, and I remember when my dad bought it for me when I got my first apartment. Suddenly I feel attached to the vacuum as if it is not just a tool; it’s a memory. Clearly this is not rational, and I know that. I just can’t help feeling an illogical attachment to these things: A vacuum my dad bought me, a set of Pyrex containers we got as a wedding gift, a huge stuffed banana Geoff won at a fair in Myrtle Beach. It makes no sense to pack these things up and move them across an ocean, but how do I convince myself that it’s okay to get rid of this stuff?

We're fitting our life into about five of these.

We're fitting our life into about five of these.

My attempt to solve this is reminding myself that I still get to keep the memories associated with these things. The memory is not about the “stuff”. When I sell the Pyrex, throw away the stuffed banana or the vacuum, the memory isn’t gone with it. I can buy more Pyrex, another vacuum, and maybe I can live without the oversized stuffed fruit (maybe). This move is about letting go of the stuff, keeping the memories of the people we love, and growing as people. For me, the first step in my growth is letting go of the material things.

Now, I’m not saying we’re going to be going off and living as minimalists. We will still have all of the modern conveniences that we have now in the US. That’s not really what I mean. Geoff’s entry last week said it really well. Our home will not be our everything. We aren’t looking to rent a huge home and fill it with things. The number one thing I’m excited about is a new way of life. One where we don’t rush home from work everyday just to sit and watch TV alone, or come home from work and pick up the laptop to work more. We want to focus on experiencing life. Take Moose to the park, walk to the grocery store to pick up the necessities for the next day, stop at the local pub and chat with a neighbor, or try a new restaurant.  We’re swapping the stuff for the memories.