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He's right, we do have too much stuff

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POSTED: February 22, 2011 5:36 p.m.

There’s was this guy on television walking around on stage giving advice to his audience. And since I’m often told that I need advice, I decided to listen.
Basically, this fellow said people today have their lives too cluttered. He said we have too much stuff. He said we need to get rid of a lot of stuff. He said we buy stuff that we don’t need and won’t use. He said some people will buy stuff just like stuff they already have, but because they have so much stuff, they can’t remember buying it the first time around.
Later that day, I was riding around town, and it hit me that this person was dead on the money. There were rental storage units at every turn with more going up.
Now, I didn’t check on this fellow’s credentials, but he had written a book about uncluttering our lives. My guess is, you don’t have to be a Ph.D to notice these kinds of things and offer some observations on cause and effect. I would think if you can understand the directions that come with your new cell phone and can figure gas mileage, then you might host one of these seminars.
So yes, it’s rather obvious that many people buy stuff and have nowhere to put it. Their garages, utility barns and attics are full of stuff already. So they rent more space to hold more stuff. Sometimes they will go to their storage units to visit their stuff. Mostly the visit is to remind themselves that they’ve already bought an exercise machine that will make one look like Tarzan by using it 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!
So if you are going to buy stuff you don’t need and won’t use and have to pay rental space for it, why not just go to the store that sells this stuff and visit it there once in a while. You save the money you would have spent on it, and you save the rental space. Not only that, you won’t have to get up at 4 a.m. on a Saturday to have a yard sale where you will sell your stuff for 10 cents on the dollar, or less.
It’s just a matter of perspective. Just pretend that what’s in the store is yours and you just haven’t filled out the paperwork yet. Theoretically you could have much more stuff with that kind of thinking.
Now I don’t buy a lot of stuff. I don’t go shopping unless I need something. And if I do need something, I go specifically to that item and decide if I can afford it. Then I buy it and go home. It all has to do with the way I was raised.
Much of this “clutter” this fellow talked about has to do with compulsive buying. Some people don’t understand that if you don’t need it, it’s not a bargain at any price. In other words, there are people who would buy a camel harness if it was marked 75 percent off. And this person has never been closer to a camel than the one on the cigarette pack.
And there are people who have been diagnosed as “hoarders.” They never throw anything away. There’s even a reality show about hoarders. I read this is a form of mental illness. So far I’ve had kidney stones, gout, appendicitis and shingles. As far as I know, I show no symptoms of being a hoarder. I guess if I had, I would have kept my appendix in a bottle of formaldehyde.
I did keep my kidney stone for a little while. But it wasn’t about hoarding. It was just that I couldn’t believe something the size of a grape seed could hurt as bad as passing a Buick with all four doors open through my plumbing. It was a conversation piece.
Now back to that aformentioned exercise machine. Have you ever noticed that none of the manufacturers of these devices brag about how many clothes hangers you can put on one?

Walden is editor/publisher of the Moultrie Observer. He can be reached at  dwain.walden@gaflnews.com.

 

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