Stuff & Things
What’s the saying? Someone’s trash is another’s treasure? At least for me, that theory holds. I
love thrift stores. The thought of an item having another life that I’m continuing on its journey
is something I love – clothes, household items, you name it. But through the years, I’ve
accumulated a lot of stuff. When I moved to Boston, I left most of my stuff in storage – not only
furniture, but household items, and not once did I miss them. When I moved back to Richmond
to fill back up my house with all that was in storage; I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t need it.
Marie Kondo, a famous Japanese professional organizer and author, would say if it doesn’t
bring you joy then get rid of it. Ok, I get it, but this doesn’t work for everything. For instance,
none of my mugs bring me joy, but if I want tea, it makes it hard to enjoy it if said mugs don’t
exist. I love entertaining, so the thought of not being able to have multiple mugs available when
the staff of True North and other friends come over is a sad, sad thought. Are we all going to
share one mug? That won’t fly, especially if someone is sick. So, what is the happy medium?
Not giving up things you don’t need any more is beyond being sentimental.
Not giving up things you don’t need any more is beyond being sentimental. At its core, Marie
Kondo would say you’re stuck in the past, but it may be more than just that. An article
published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that the hardship about getting rid of
stuff is tied to self-worth, so instead of thinking those objects as “mine,” we actually think of
those items as “me.”
With all of this said, the question is, why get rid of your stuff? Neuroscientists at Princeton
University discovered when looking at people’s task performance in an organized versus
disorganized environment, being surrounded by clutter competes for our attention; this results in increased stress and decreased performance. In addition, Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, found that over time experiences versus stuff makes us happier.
This is why there are meet-up groups and a whole movement (think HGTV Tiny House) about downsizing, minimizing, capsule wardrobes, and prioritizing where money is spent. So, as we come into the colder months where we find ourselves inside more, I am trying to think about what noise is around me that can be cleaned out. And as I spend this cold season plotting my next expenditure, maybe that camping or overseas trip would be a better use of funds over that
expensive new car!