I have Aaron Moore’s stuff

Aaron Moore sold all his stuff. I mean everything: laptop, bike, clothes, memorabilia, surfboard, photos, his watch, coin collection, books and CDs, you name it, he sold it.

The 34 year old artist and aid worker had a massive public auction called ONE THING YOU LACK.One thing you lack

When I heard about this amazing event, I had to participate. Although the auction was Sydney based (and I am in Melbourne), I asked Aaron to ship me some specific items: black and white photos, memorabilia from his childhood, and anything his grandparents had given him. I had no idea which items he would choose but told him I would like to spend $50 plus postage.

I had no idea what to expect, but was pretty amazed when I opened the package. The package from Aaron

It contained what I consider to be some amazing treasures.  The items that killed me the most were his (obviously well-used) bible, and what appeared to be every single sporting ribbon and award, surf life-saving badges and Scouts badges.  Evidence of his childhood and teens.  Evidence of his faith.  Evidence of his love of various activities. Clues to someone I did not know. I felt pretty humbled: I now owned items that were valued by someone else, items he was prepared to let go of in order to create better lives for others.

So well used.  Was it a gift from his grandparents?  Is it well-travelled?  Is it one of his more sentimental possessions?

So well used. Was it a gift from his grandparents? Is it well-travelled? Is it one of his more sentimental possessions?

Wow!  These sporting pennants, footy socks (or are they soccer?!) are really personal items. Would you relinquish items like these to save a life?

Wow! These sporting pennants, footy socks (or are they soccer?!) are really personal items. Would you relinquish items like these to save a life?

I would guess Aaron has a strong sense of community and leadership, and that he's good in a team environment. Looks like he's committed too - the badges span a number of years.

I would guess Aaron has a strong sense of community and leadership, and that he’s good in a team environment. Looks like he’s committed too – the badges span a number of years.

A cute title that no doubt lived on Aaron Moore's bedroom door as a child.  Awwww.

A cute tile that no doubt lived on his bedroom door as a child. Awwww.

A neat bundle of feathers.  I wonder what their history is.

A neat bundle of feathers. I wonder what their history is.

Aaron donated all proceeds to Global Concern and I hear he raised around $15,000.  He donated unsold items to charity. Wow!

Does this story frighten or inspire you?  Could you let go of your belongings – all of them?  What if, like Aaron, you knew it would save lives? I know memorabilia would be the hardest thing for me to let go of.


16 responses to “I have Aaron Moore’s stuff

  1. This story actually made me feel quite sad. I just hope that Aaron doesn’t regret it. Whilst I can understand the high anyone might get from ridding themselves of stuff I think that after a while I for one – would regret getting rid of all of my personal memorabilia.

    • I hear you Tracey but I can only assume Aaron gave his decision much consideration, over a lengthy period of time. I reckon he might not have had the high either – but perhaps he’ll comment and let us know! Chin up – maybe his memorabilia wasn’t that precious too him anyway!

  2. Hi Lissanne – here is the question that’s intriguing me – what are YOU going to do with Aaron’s stuff? LOL

  3. I was thinking the same thing as Tracey. What are you going to do with it? I can understand some of the things you got as being easy to let go but some (like the Bible) look too precious to let go. I hope that he achieves what he wants with this project.

  4. Hello Lissanne,
    This is such a touching and inspirational story about Aaron. Amazing man and he will be richly blessed by God. So interesting, and about he sold his well used Bible too.. What translation is it? We are a Christian family who love our Lord.

    Hugs and God Bless
    Mary McPherson.

  5. When I first read about this project I thought, could I do this? See article: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/could-you-sell-every-possession-you-own-20121204-2asns.html

    I’d find it extremely hard but think yes I could, with some provisos! After all if a bush fire or storm destroyed my home I would most want to have my photos/albums/negatives and am slowly digitising these in case of just such a catastrophe. I’d grab my external hard drive & be off! Plus, one day, they’ll all be stored in ‘the cloud’ so I won’t even need the hard drive. 🙂

    Aaron talked about two things which were particularly hard to part with: ‘the watch his grandfather gave his father as a university graduation present’ and a coin collection his father gave him as a young boy. I wonder about who bought them and have they returned them to him as Aaron’s intention was not to permanently downsize.

    I think I’d find it easier to part with sentimental possessions and memorabilia if it had been beautifully photographed (as all his possessions had been for the exhibition/sale). Meanwhile, I do take photos of any possessions that I’m letting go of that I may wish to remember. The photos aren’t as beautiful as his but they’ll provide wonderful memories, if/when required.

  6. Thanks for your comments, Katie! I too first read about this project at the SMH website… agreed, the coins and watch were a big heart-grabbing.

    I like that you speak of the potential loss of photos due to a force of nature and that you’re preparing, just in case. I admit, I’m a fair way behind you on that front, but trying!

  7. Hi Lissanne,

    Nice post. Was interesting to hear your perspective on the exhibition and my stuff, and that of those who commented. The exhibition raises quite a number of issues and I’ve generally tried to let people take from it what they will without imposing my interpretation upon them. However, a few things to think about might be:

    1. Most of these items (such as the bedroom tile and ribbons) have sat in a box for the last 15 years. I have opened the box to look at them on 4-5 occasions over that period and the items brought back some fond memories. I really enjoy the memories they bring but what if they had an even more important value?

    2. The monetary value of the items has been pegged at $50, the equivalent of 5 mosquito nets, each of which can protect 2 adults or 3 children. Global Concern is an NGO that can take my $50, buy the 5 nets and distribute them to those in extreme poverty, usually pregnant mothers, the disabled, elderly, widows and orphans in households earning under $2 a day. An estimated 216 million people contract malaria every year resulting in 655,000 deaths, 86% of which are children under 5. Mosquito nets are the most effective means of preventing malaria. There appears a good chance that if the $50 is used on nets then at least one of the 5 nets may save the life of a child. To whom do I owe the greater moral obligation, myself and the 4-5 occasions on which I will enjoy the memories of the box, OR the 10-15 people requiring protection from malaria (which I can’t contract here) and of which at least 1 life might be saved?

    3. The Bible appears to make a similar challenge in Luke 3:11 …”the man with 2 jackets should share with him who has none.” We might be sad to let our second jacket go, but would we be more sad to see someone cold and suffering without a jacket at all?

  8. Hey Aaron! So great to hear from you! I really appreciate that you have allowed observers to make their own interpretations. And I really appreciate the reminder of how your actions made such an overwhelming difference in other’s lives. Our safe little Western world is so far removed from suffering. I am amazed I don’t have to toil for fresh water each day, that I travel for *pleasure* (certainly not to search for food or to escape hardship), that I am a [relatively] extremely wealthy white woman with a dollar in my pocket and choices on my horizon.

    Thank you Aaron, for your bigger picture thinking and for the valuable reminder. I hope it motivates one or all who hear your story to take action.

    In the meantime, do you have an update on the coins or watch? I think peeps would love to hear!

  9. In answer to a few of the other readers:
    Tracy – no regrets… yet! I didn’t really feel that ‘high’ either. However, if you think it is the right thing to do (as I hinted in my previous comment) then I think its not so sad. In fact if you think it is the right thing to do then not doing it might be sadder
    Jodi – the Bible did travel round the world with me a few times in my back pocket but there are plenty more Bible’s out there.
    John and Mary – Its a Gideon bible. There is a story behind it. About 12 years ago I was reading my bible in the morning on the train to work. The guy next to me started asking me questions about it. He seemed genuinely interested so I gave it to him just before I got off at my stop. In the evening that same day, as I got on the train to go home, a guy with a box of Gideon bibles was standing on the platform and offered me one. This is that bible.
    Katie – Yes I agree that having all the objects photographed in some ways may have softened the blow. But it also made me look at each individual item up close and recognise its meaning and value which I think also made it more difficult to part with in, but I wanted the selling of the items to be a very conscious decision where I chose to give it up for another purpose (instead of just dumping boxes of stuff I had forgotten about).
    The other items – The coin collection was bought by an anonymous buyer who took the lot and I haven’t seen it since (I had volunteers selling my items so I never dealt with the buyer and the volunteer refused to disclose anything). The watch was purchased by my father as soon as the exhibition opened. To my surprise I unwrapped it under the tree at Christmas.

  10. I applaud Aaron’s selfless act of donating all of his possessions to be auctioned for charity. I regularly cull my possessions and donate unused items to charity stores. I am not brave enough to donate everything. Although I am not religious I do like the buddhist philosophy of non-attachment. Things aren’t important, people and the relationships you cultivate and nurture are. I do however cringe with the amount of advertising and push for people to buy new things that they don’t need.

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