We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children
(Native American proverb).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


How much stuff can one family accumulate? I think that we live fairly frugally compared to many of our peers, yet even with an attitude of limited accumulation, we still have so much stuff. What drives us to gather, collect, store (and this alone is a crazy, illogical rationale... it's the "I'll keep because I just never know when I might need it" voice in your head!) and protect our stuff, much of which we never use, and rarely take time to appreciate.

We are downsizing. On the surface it looks like a pretty straightforward shift... 3 bedroom house on the Coast for a 4 bedroom cottage in the southern tablelands. Then you look at the rooms. This "cottage" is actually half of a converted shearers quarters. The main bedroom looks like it has been created by dividing the lounge/dining room. Another looks like it was a veranda until it needed to be a bedroom. The third is barely big enough for a queen size bed, and the last, well I'm sure it was a closet in a past life. I'm not becrying our choice of residence; we wanted to downsize; but it is quite a bit smaller than where we are now. I'm quite pleased we decided to go this way however as we are now in the throws of being a little ruthless in getting rid of some of our useless "stuff."

This brings me to my second jaw dropper... who wants my old stuff? Surely the various charities would want it. There's the old TV which we are getting rid of because I couldn't bare to let me father throw out his flat screen CRT digital TV when he upgraded to a slim LCD model (which has just broken down mind you after 18 months!); there's perfectly good books which we have read and are quite useful but which no one seemed to look twice at during our garage sale; there's fabric remnants from my wife's sewing kitty which could make some great crafty goods or clothes or bags; and then there's odd bits of furniture... NO ONE WANTS THEM! Are we that wealthy as a community that even our poorest members of society can afford an LCD TV? Does no one read books any more? Is hand made just plain old fashioned? I KNOW people sit on stools still!

I have a new year's resolution: until now, when my wife would stop on the side of the road and ask me to get out and collect some old chair/suit case/stool/cabinet/ladder/etc... I would do so with the usual grumblings and self consciousness associated with a dust man rummaging through the garbage on Pitt St. No More! From now on, I will do so with joy, secure in the knowledge that at least I can be the difference I want to see in the world.

Until then, it's back to packing up our stuff.


ps if you want to hear more about "Stuff" check out www.storyofstuff.com

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