Stuff: Musings On The Material Collections Of Our Lives

This weekend we helped friends move. It was a highly successful move with lots of helpers and two very organized home owners in charge, but it was overwhelming. There is nothing quite like lifting everything one owns to see how much we accumulate in our life.

It left me with this stir-crazy desire to come home and barrel through all our belongings and send half of it to the Salvation Army. But I didn’t and I won’t because I live in a democratic household with a lover of stuff.

Years ago in opposition of all of his stuff I started selling all of mine. What resulted was that I had almost nothing and missed my lost belongings and he had a ton of stuff that meant less to him than all the beloved belongings I had given away.

So I stopped that and now I pick my battles and try to hone in on the stuff he hasn’t touched in three or four years. I’ve learned that if I make a small pile of items of his that I think are worthy of pitching he is usually willing to give away a few.

The art of compromise. Not exactly the backbone of romance, but the necessary strategy for having a roommate.

We all have different philosophies about stuff. I’m an elitist. I like to have the best stuff and the most useful stuff. Stuff that makes my life easier, smoother and more pleasurable. Best doesn’t always mean most expensive, it means perfect for the moment. Our house is almost entirely furnished from garage sales, flea markets and souvenirs from our travels. One of our couches is from my childhood home that my parents retired after 25 years and we eagerly requested. I see stuff as comfort. Things that improve my life.

My Five Favorite Things to Collect

  1. Plants
  2. Blankets
  3. Wall Hangings/Prints
  4. Small Sculptures
  5. Beautiful Serving Dishes

My Husband’s Five Favorite Things to Collect

  1. Maps
  2. Pictures
  3. Activity/Adventure Equipment
  4. Tools
  5. Meaningful Objects

My husband sees stuff as memories and future adventures. In order to have a full life he must have books on all subject matters. He must own every type of athletic equipment. He must have every tool that could possibly be needed. He sees stuff as both memory and inspiration. He surrounds himself with things that might at any give moment enrich and brighten his life.

The combination of our stuff collections is beautiful. We are domestic creatures who build an incredibly comfortable home that all who visit remark is an immediate safe haven. The combination of comfort and memory allows visitors to know us, appreciate where we have been and share the present moment with us.

What kind of stuff person are you? What are your five favorite things to collect? Compare your collection style to that of your significant other and see if maybe your styles are just a bit more compatible than it seems when you are fighting about stuff.


Image credit: klotz / 123RF Stock Photo

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