It’s not about the stuff.


I received a lovely email from a reader who said, among other things, “Mum is a chronic hoarder which not only stems from learned habits but also mostly from emotional issues….”

It’s a good reminder that the ‘stuff’ (and I use that term loosely/with affection) is rarely, if ever, the issue.

Stuff can serve to protect us, trap us, imprison us, befriend us, comfort us, confuse us, but rarely, if ever, liberate us.

What is it you want from the physical things you surround yourself with?  For me, I want to be inspired, nurtured and reminded (in a good way).  I never ever want to be confronted or smothered or owned by my things.

How do you think your stuff treats you?  Describe your (or someone elses) relationship with your belongings here….. I’m all ears.

7 responses to “It’s not about the stuff.

  1. I used to be obsessed with material things. I wanted every new thing out, in every colour. Since my job of cleaning up my late partner’s years of hoarding, my attitude changed. I still like the pretty things, to look at and admire. I still like to decorate my place with ornaments. But I can walk down the hallway and through the backyard in a straight line without tripping over anything or having to divert my path 🙂

    The more you have, the more there is to look after, lose, dust, keep track of, and trip over. I had pens all over the house and could never find one – sort them into a couple of locations and there is always a working pen ready to use.

    You save time if you have less. You can keep track of what you have, and what you need.

    I think you need a balance – not so little that your house becomes clinical and bare. But not so much that you can’t move for stuff.

    • what changed my attitude to stuff? Simply being faced with 40-odd years of someone else’s stuff, that had to be dealt with. and i guess not wanting to go the same way – leaving my huge mess for someone else to clean up after i am gone.

      then the great side effects – a tidier place, less to look after, easier to find things, being organised is easier. less is more.

      the fact that i learnt from that huge cleanup – it was hard work, took lots of time, and taught me that i don’t miss stuff when its gone.

  2. The accumulation of the stuff is the symptom. The real problem is that we feel we have to keep it. Our feeling and our actions are the problem rather than the stuff itself. Great thoughts!

  3. I recently separate from my partner (don’t worry, this is actually about stuff!).

    When I moved I took only the basics, intending to sort out the rest eventually. But what I found is that for the majority of it, I don’t miss it.

    For a while I had a list of bits and pieces that I needed to replace, but for the most part I’ve found that so much of what I had fell into the “I’ll use this once or twice every 5 years therefore I’d better keep it” category.

    For the first time in years I feel clutter free. While I don’t recommend this method of decluttering, it has been a very liberating part of my change in circumstances. I have already set time for a major spring clean at the old place, and I dare say will be hitting eBay with lots of unwanted bits & pieces!

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