A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Now Where Did I Put That?

That's all your house is:  a place to keep your stuff.   If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house.  You could just walk around all the time.
~~George Carlin
Julius Brooks, miner, in his four room house f...
Julius Brooks, miner, in his four room house for which he pays $10 monthly, no closets or storage space is provided.... - NARA - 540740 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Have you ever found yourself looking for something that you're sure you once had, but just can't remember where it is when you want to find it?   When you have too much stuff, you end up filling closets, garages, drawers, cupboards, attics, and every other available nook and cranny.  How often do we actually organize stuff?

         Oh sure, there are some neat freaks out there who have things carefully categorized into specific places.  Going to a house like that is like visiting a library or a museum or something.  Or at least it seems neat and organized.    A place for everything and everything in its place.  But I'm not talking about you neatniks out there.  I'm referring to the folks like me in our houses surrounded by piles of stuff.

         Don't get me wrong here.  I haven't reached the bizarro amassing of material goods like you might see in an episode of one of those television shows about serious hoarders.  I can still move easily around my house without threat of being crushed by some toppling pile of who knows what.  Things are still in check with me in that respect.  Still I have more than I need and more than I ever look at or hold in my hands on a regular basis.  Some of my possessions haven't seen light in years.  They remain stored away in the places I put them way back in some time when I thought those things were worth saving.

        If my stuff is stored in my house that's not too bad.  When my stuff starts getting stored at other people's houses then that's when I need to start figuring out a plan of future action.  I suppose if I don't have something under my own roof then I apparently haven't put too much value on it.   Certain things that are mine are still stored at my mother's house--they've been there for 30 or 40 years or more.  I feel a certain sense of security in those things being there.  My mother hasn't complained about this, but still I know that someday I need to retrieve these things or accept the fact that I've given them up.

       Aside from other things that I've loaned to people and never gotten back (and that's another story in which the assumed outcome is that I'll never see these things again), the only place I can think of where a few of my ex-possessions might be are at my ex-inlaws house.   Those too are things I can write off as relinquished out of my control.   There are times when we must accept that some things we once owned are things we will no longer see.

        My biggest mistake in trying to hang on to things was renting a storage facility because I had nowhere else to put those things.  What a waste of money that was.  When my second wife and I decided to go on the road full time, we decided to put our furniture and everything else we couldn't tote on the road with us into storage.  Keep in mind we didn't have furniture or household items that were especially worth keeping, but we kept them nonetheless.   We paid ninety dollars a month to do this.  After two years we no longer cared about this stuff and went back during one of our breaks to get the stuff we wanted and then we got rid of the rest.

       Two thousand dollars was spent for a lesson in stuff.  If you've got the stuff and have no place to keep it then maybe you've got too much.  If you have stuff stored in different places around the country you probably have too much stuff.  And if you start having a hard time finding things you do have or remembering whether or not you actually still have those things, this may be a good indicator that you have too much stuff.

       I like having things, but it's scary if the things start to own me.  If it costs me more than something is worth to keep it, then it's rarely worth keeping.  Most things are easily replaceable if you really need them again later.  Less clutter means being able to find things more easily and being able to move more easily if that time ever comes.

         And if it comes to a point where you are trying to figure out if that thing you are looking for is in your house, a rented storage facility, or, God forbid, someone elses house, then you should reassess whose stuff is really whose.

        Have you ever wasted money to rent a storage locker to keep something that you eventually got rid of?  Do you have any possessions stored at someone elses house?  How do you keep your material possessions in check so they are easy to locate when you need them?

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  1. The only thing I have trouble storing is books. With something like 5,000 of them, many are in boxes, and I often forget what I have or where it is. I dream of enough shelf space to store them all in an organized fashion.

  2. When we sold our large house and downsized, Lee, we had one of those 90 dollar storage units. After a year or so, we got rid of a lot of 'stuff'. (from a family of four and a MIL who was now in a care home). I love George Carlin's take on stuff. And, I do like some of my stuff...

    Those storage units are sneaky because out of sight is out of mind until the monthly bill comes. We had to discard a lot of books - from two avid readers and two kids (many places to donate these). Value Village loved us, because I don't do yard sales.

    You should read that 'Homer and Langley' book I reviewed, Lee. It's an eye-opener for what might have motivated these two brothers.

  3. Hey Lee, I have boxes and boxes of stuff, (mostly books) in my bedroom closet. I guess I could get rid of some of them, but I hate to part with most books. I'm just waiting to get more shelves up, or book cases, then I can clear them out of the boxes. I've never had a storage unit. I suppose that's a good thing.
    I love those hoarder shows, but I truly don't understand those people. To me, not filling the house with garbage and old newspapers seems like an easy thing to do.
    I still can't believe the woman who had a bunch of dead cats in the living room and she didn't even know it! They were all buried under stacks of shit...and they'd been there for years! Most people would realize immediately if their was ONE dead cat in the living room.
    One last thing, I LOVE George Carlin, and his bit on stuff is right on!
    Great post Lee.

  4. I love 'a place for my stuff' routine!!! lol I lost a lot in my divorce which kills me b/c my ex husband died so all that stuff I let him keep, I could have taken more with me. Esp. the furniture. My fiance' had his stuff in storage but only b/c he was living in a temporary situation till we got settled in our house. Then I pressed to get his stuff moved out of storage b/c I was sick of paying $130 a month. I still have a lot of unopened boxes of books & records from my move east over 2 years ago, b/c there's no room for it here, but I'm not getting rid of my stuff either.

  5. Dear Lee, I've got no storage bin nor am I storing things elsewhere. What I have is a 30-year-old routine of taking the week off between Christmas and New Year's Day and going through closets and cabinets and drawers and bookcases and de-cluttering. I've given lots of "stuff" away over the years. Now other people can read those books, wear those clothes, eat off those plates. The thing is that too much "stuff" discombobulates me. I get over stimulated. That's why I can't go into antique stores. So I try to keep my home as decluttered as I can. It's amazing how much clutter can build up in one year. So my week in December is essential. Peace.

  6. Kelly -- A home library with adequate space for everything plus room to expand would be wonderful.

    DG -- I'll have to check out the book you mention.

    Eve -- A house containing any dead animals is a bit much for me.

    JoJo -- I've got unopened boxes from my move to my present house 16 years ago. Time to get rid of stuff? I think so.

    Dee -- You have a very good plan in place. It is really amazing how stuff can accumulate without us even noticing.


  7. When people ask me what I want for my birthday or Christmas my standard answer is a request for something I don't have to dust, it's helped me keep clutter down to a minimum...Getting rid of nearly all of my stuff before moving overseas was made easier with help from friends that had no sentimental attachment to anything I owned. I don't miss anything I left behind. Good luck with your quest, I'd start with those 16 year old boxes, 1 page at a time.


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Arlee Bird