I Love Stuff. I Hate Stuff.

Pixabay: 999theone, Free for commercial use; no attribution required

I have a love/hate relationship with stuff.   I own too many things.  Not all of it sparks joy, that Marie Kondo test to decide whether to keep something or eliminate it.

I’ve gotten rid of things along the way, but unless I move and have to do a major purge, things flow into my house at a faster rate than they flow out. Having lived in the same place for nearly 20 years, stuff has accumulated.

The percentage of stuff I use regularly is…small.

Some of the stuff is seasonal, stored until the season rolls around again.

Some is aspirational: those pants I’ll fit into once I’ve dropped 10-pounds.

Some is, if I’m brutally honest, fantastical: am I really going to read Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human or George Lakoff’s Moral Politics?

As I look at the books on my nearby shelf, different characters lumber forward in my brain: one drizzles guilt over me for wasting money buying them and for adding to the household clutter; its’ fraternal twin reminds me that they’re all used books, it wasn’t much money, and besides, I love books.

Another character embraces the aspirational promise of the books and celebrates my continued interest in learning; its’ fraternal twin grumbles I’ll never read them and I know it; they’ll end up donated to the library so all they really are is clutter.

There’s truth to each voice. It’s why getting rid of things is challenging; there’s conflict within me about whether something should stay or go. It’s why books on decluttering catch my eye; I’m ever hopeful one of them will serve up the magic answer to getting rid of stuff; easily.

I’ve concluded, for me, there is no magic bullet.  I can run an item past the spark joy test or the unused for 6 months or does it fit or do I even like it tests.

But my conflicting love/hate reactions will not allow just one character to step forward and represent all of them with a single, unified answer.

Books spark joy for me.  I enjoy discovering them at used book stores, buying them, anticipating their contents.

Books also spark guilt for me, when they sit on my shelf unread.

It’s not one or the other. It’s one and the other.

Maybe the path to peace around my stuff is acceptance. Acceptance that my stuff represents multiple facets of my personality. Acceptance that it’s possible to both love something and to feel challenged by it.

Which, when I think about, is what life is all about.


Photo source: 999theone on Pixabay


11 thoughts on “I Love Stuff. I Hate Stuff.

  1. Bobbi Taylor

    Well stated.

    I must say, having bitten the bullet and donated or sold ⅔ of our “stuff” and our “sticks and bricks” itself, we have felt an incredible sense of freedom. Life is now simple and it fits us.

    And, btw, we can hardly even remember what all that junk was. And, the library was so appreciative!😉😘 B.

    Bobbi Taylor


    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Sticks and bricks.” I LOVE it! I hadn’t heard that term for ones’ “hearth and home.” 🙂 So glad to hear you feel free-er. I suspect I would feel the same. I’ve never talked to anyone who lightened their load who didn’t regret it. Hmmm, note to self on that.

      Thanks for sharing your positive experience of purging. Really.


  2. I’ve seen the Maria Kondo show as well. For some reason, I can’t wrap my head around it. The idea of sparking joy works well with clothes but for books and kitchen supplies it just doesn’t. I want to have a library but every book in it might not spark joy for me. Those will be only 20 books max. But I want all others books to stay as well so that anyone who comes to my house feels like they have something to read. Same with kitchen. Sure on a daily basis you don’t need big utensils but you might for some occasions.

    That’s probably just me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently she got some backlash about her advice to get rid of books. There are a lot of book lovers out there! And the idea that books should only “spark joy” irked more than one!!

      I’m with you; there are things in my life that I need and use but I wouldn’t describe them as joy sparkers! But it works for a lot of people given her book sales and show!

      Sometimes I think folks are just aching to be given guidance on how to simply deal with All Their Stuff!!!

      I love that you want books around you might not read, but that guests would find interesting. That’s a great image.

      Thanks for your comment!


  3. How timely! I am on the next wave of decluttering as indicated by the books I checked out yesterday ~ all by Peter Walsh:

    The following items were checked out by you on Friday, Jan 11 2019

    Title: Enough already! : clearing mental clutter to become the best you

    Title: Does this clutter make my butt look fat? : an easy plan for losing weight and living more

    Title: It’s all too much : an easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff

    Title: How to organize just about everything : more than 500 step-by-step instructions for everything from organizing your closets to planning a wedding to creating a flawless filing system

    Total items: 4

    You just saved $98.00 by using your library. You have saved $1,423.49 since October 2015.


    1. How did I never see this comment!?!? Well, I’m seeing it now. It’s a great post; some new de-cluttering books I’ve never heard of.

      Does your library receipt actually print out how much you save each time and how much cumulatively since Oct 2015? That’s cool. I might mention that to our local library.

      I love the library. I love being able to hang with a book a bit before deciding if I’m ready to commit and buy (so I can mark it up). Well, at least that’s for new books. For used books, I’m far more willing to jump right in.

      Thanks for this post and I’ve no idea why I didn’t see it before now.


  4. Pingback: My Costco Greatest Hits – Walk the Goats

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s