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 21, 2013

There's No Stuff Like Home Stuff

English: Austell, GA, September 30, 2009 -- Ho...
Austell, GA, September 30, 2009 -- Household possessions and debris are placed at the curb of this flood affected home following the September severe storms and flooding. George Armstrong/FEMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.
~~George Carlin

       My posts over the past month have taken a look at material possessions and those collections we amass over the years. George Carlin humorously calls these things "stuff" and I think this how most of us often think of the possessions we accumulate. It's a bunch of things to which we have attached some sort of significance. Sometimes we remember why we kept things and at other times we may look at something only to think to ourselves, "Why did I keep this?".

       A house is a cozy place that provides us shelter for our families and a place to keep our possessions until we figure out exactly what we are going to do with them. And more often than not those things stay where we tucked them away until they get shuffled around to another part of our house. Or perhaps to another house that we move to. Downsizing can be a lot of work that can tax us mentally and emotionally.

      However, that being said, the stuff in our houses can provide as much comfort as meatloaf and mashed potatoes or whatever food it is that makes you feel safe and warm inside. The words "mine" and "ours" give us a sense of identity and security. Even homeless people are often seen pushing carts of stuff or toting burdens of material goods on their backs. They too want the security of ownership, but they lack a house in which to put their property. Those of us with houses can have more stuff. The bigger the house the more potential stuff we can own.

     The beauty of habitating in some sort of dwelling is that we can find many places to put our aggregations of life. Or is that the ugly side that shows a certain sense of greed and love of materialism. Whatever the case may be, at least we have options of putting our things into rooms, closets, cubby spaces, or stuff-holding components disguised as furniture. These things may be neatly placed with organized intent, tossed in randomly, or a combination of the two storage styles.

     The place we call home is the place where our stuff is. To lose one's home through fire or natural disaster must be devastating for most people to whom this happens. On the other hand maybe it's a feeling of release--liberation from the possessions that hold us hostage, keep us prisoner. I don't want to ever know the feeling of having my material life wrested from me. I want to keep the stuff that helps make my house my home.  Or at least keep it until I decide what I'm going to do with all of it.

     Do you ever feel like a captive of the things you own? Does ownership of material goods help you to feel better about yourself and provide you a sense of comfort? Do you tend to have more things if you have more places to put them? Have you ever experienced a tragic loss of possessions? What happened and how did you feel in the aftermath?
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. You have no idea how pertinent this one is to what I've been going through lately. I'm in the midst of helping my mother deal with this. It's pretty tough.

  2. I had to give half my stuff to my ex when we divorced, then he died so yeah, I mourned the loss of a lot of things I wish I'd kept and taken with me. I love my collections....the house is cluttered but the stuff makes me happy.

  3. I'm mostly tied to my books. I have I friend I envy, though, who makes it a point to own very little. She wants the freedom to be able to move, travel, or pretty much do anything on a whim. She gives away books after she reads them, has little furniture, etc. I envy her ability to have such grand adventures whenever she chooses, but I know that it's really not for me.

  4. I had to relinquish 'stuff' a couple of times. We keep stuff to define what we come from and what we hold dear. Isn't that what archeologists like finding in the remains in centuries to come?

  5. To me the main value of "stuff" is the memories of times and people the stuff can remind us of. That's beside the essential stuff of course.

  6. I'm more of a nester, I guess--I'm not overly obsessed with "things," but I like feeling that my home is lived in and contains things that represent me, especially my books and other collections. But I can see how freeing it would be to be a minimalist too.

  7. Tony -- I've been there. My mother still has a lot of stuff, but I think now it is somewhat better organized.

    JoJo -- Stuff can provide us so much security. It can be tough to leave it behind in someone elses hands.

    Kelly -- I'm not quite that way either. When we go away on vacation I often worry about our house and the things inside of it. It would be nice just to let go.

    DG -- I guess our stuff keeps us attached to our past and if archeologists find our stuff sometime in the future maybe they can make some of those connections.

    Barbara -- So true. Memories are far more than scrapbooks and pictures in a photo album. Often to an outsider the stuff as a definition to who we are and have been may not make much sense.

    Julie -- Maybe a lot of stuff can provide a certain sense of security and comfort for those who become too old to do much more than stay at home surrounded by those things.


  8. You think this is why Antique Roadshow is so popular? Is art different, I wonder?

  9. It's interesting how "stuff" can own us. I find myself throwing some things out without a second thought and then there are others I have had for twenty years and can't let go. My grandmother just recently moved from her house of 50+ years to one bedroom in my mother's home. Talk about downsizing! She's having a tough time adjusting. I can't imagine! She is a brave lady.


  10. I'm not a lover of things, but I do cherish my sense of home and security. I suffered a home invasion a while back and the things they took didn't bother me too much aside from my laptop because I'm a writer. I have many precious collectibles and other items tied to memories, some of monetary value and some not. These things weren't taken because they were convenient or didn't scream dollar$. Still, the whole ordeal was one of the worst experiences and feelings I've ever felt.

  11. Mary -- Like beauty, value is in the eye of the beholder or the home of the owner. "Antiques Roadshow" has fueled a dream of found treasures for many I think.

    Jen - I know what you're saying. We get so attached. Like our stuff is a part of us and in a way I guess it is.

    Toinette -- Losing things in the way you describe is such a feeling of violation. I've had it happen a few times. The stuff was mostly replaceable but it's just a weird feeling to know that someone has entered my space and taken things from me. It's probably best not to be overly attached to things though. So glad you stopped by to check out this blog.


  12. Moving as often as we do, (the next one is October 30th) I tend to lean toward the Shaker mentality. After a while I just don't want to pack up any more "stuff". :)


Tell your story. Express your thoughts. We want to hear from you. This blog no longer accepts comments from "Anonymous"--That guy is really starting to bug this blog. If you want to leave me a comment then please register if you aren't already--it's easy to do and I really want to hear from you.

Arlee Bird