More Stuff Than I Could Ever Need

I told Colin last night that if I ever, actually, cracked, the cause would be: STUFF.

People — namely me and the those concerned with me — spend a ridiculous amount of time fussing over THINGS. I’ll define the limitations of what I am referring to herewith:

Stuff: Anything not attached to your naked body, or to the naked bodies of those you love and care for.

A list of stuff that is particularly bothersome to me right now would include (but is not limited to):

  • socks
  • hair ties
  • papers from school
  • tweets
  • “devices”
  • electrical cords
  • swimsuits
  • snack food
  • church buildings
  • car seats
  • pull-ups
  • facial cleansers
  • winter clothes
  • black sweaters
  • cat claws
  • car rental agencies
  • Boston
  • PPTs
  • Mother’s Day and our Anniversary on the same day
  • ticks
  • plastic everything
  • princess accoutrements
  • Power Point
  • medical forms
  • “Cars” Accoutrements
  • light bulbs (incandescent and CFL!)
  • candy
  • pop-up camper
  • donation forms (online and paper)

The other day, as I was TRYING to write an email explanation to my co-walkers for the CROP Hunger Walk how they could set up their online donation page when I realized something.

All this hassle surrounding trying to RAISE money for the less fortunate — including receipts, matching gifts, packing a backpack for the walk, registration forms, carpools, thank you notes, canned food to be brought on the day of the walk, and on and on — made me wish, for a moment, that I was a hungry third-world farmer who didn’t have to check my voicemail/email/text messages/Facebook/donation page every 30 seconds for the next fruitless, meaningless, useless waste of my time.

And I was the one ASKING people for money.

Sigh.

What the hell are we doing, drowning ourselves in such material misery?

It’s all such work, just clearing an empty spot off on the counter! Then a moment later, it’s covered again by a pile of “art projects” that was fun at the time, but now what do we do with all these paintings?

Sigh.

Sigh.

I have no answer, only more organizing to do. Guess I better go out and buy more “Snapware” to put it all in.

Egads.

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home.

 

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  7 comments for “More Stuff Than I Could Ever Need

  1. Greg Phillips
    April 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Sorry to be bringing you more stuff this weekend! Fortunately it is Camping Stuff, which is a magical substance from which family memories are made.

    About the art projects: take good quality digital photos and recycle the paper. You can’t keep it all!

    • April 22, 2011 at 1:01 am

      Greg, this really is an ongoing theme in my life, no matter what new item comes in or out of the driveway! (-: Don’t apologize. The camper allows us to, theoretically, to do more with less on our vacations and I know that.

  2. Karen
    April 22, 2011 at 7:23 am

    This is an ongoing and difficult struggle for me as well…life long. I have first degree relatives who fit the bill pathologically.

    I don’t want the physical ailments that go along with third world countries (although we have plenty of mental illness issues, cancer, diabetes, etc stemming from out culture here) but I get the wanting and NEEEEDING to slow down and have less. I clear out and “it” jumps right back in.

    (We did a couple of trips with a pop-up camper as a kid- one to Geogia- saw an alligator being pulled out of a “stream” in the campsite and one to Maine -got the stomach bug and vomited for 24 hours straight, and mat my first pen pal, that I remember.)

  3. marty
    April 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Please see, uh this:
    http://www.storyofstuff.com/

    I believe your condition is in direct relationship to
    um
    being a mom!
    Love ya!

    • April 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      Marty, I love the Story of Stuff. The concept of a linear development is completely outside the notion of nature!

  4. June 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Sometimes I think that my innermost self might be an ascetic monk…in the way one can find beauty, peace and quiet sighs of relief in the experience of an uncluttered life. Then, I open my eyes and see my surroundings and realize that there is a schizophrenic war going on between that monk and the quirky collector who delights in sparkling chimes, beaded lampshades and overflowing shelves of books and old photographs. The agony is in the disability to have both at the same time….in the end, one keeps the other in check–a fact that doesn’t stop the constant unease, only keeps it at bay.

  5. November 30, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Elizabeth, I came over from your comment on Fiona’s post about “enough” and was drawn to this post. This is my battle as well! Resisting what seems to be an hereditary tendency to accumulate is difficult, but we can’t give in to it! 😀

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