Too much stuff

August 15, 2016

stuffShopping for stuff is so much fun, it really is.  It’s one of my favorite activities. I love the feeling of buying something new and then looking forward to wearing it, whether it’s a new lipstick or a new top or a rockin’ pair of shoes.

But here’s the truth: the new wears off rather quickly. It does. And then? It’s just stuff.  Stuff taking up space. More space than I have for stuff.

Too much stuff.

I don’t work. We don’t really go out all that often. I have no need for the, say, 75 or 100 core outfits I have in my closet. That’s without considering mixing and matching.  There’s just not enough room for more. Our closets are smaller than I’d like, but that’s only because I have too much stuff.

And  yet, I can’t fathom parting with most of it. I just can’t.

I finally gave away shoes that I haven’t worn since I quit working in 2010.  That’s six years those shoes have been in my closet–career shoes still hanging around, long after I’d left my career.

I also had a couple of really nice suits. The fact is I will never wear a suit like that again, not even to a funeral. (At this stage of life I’m much more apt to attend a funeral than a business meeting. Just saying. And I’ve been to several funerals recently. I did not wear a suit to any of them.)

So I gave the suits to a career closet so some needy career woman can use them.

I do go shopping, sort of, because right now, my closet is like a store. It’s got so many things that I couldn’t wear in recent years but now fit–and a few really beloved outfits that I’m close to wearing–and I just can’t part with them. Even though I may never wear each more than once a year, if that. Still, I love them still and I’m glad I saved them because I like them and now don’t have to buy them again.  But then again, would I buy them? Because I have no place to wear them. Oh, it’s so confusing!

And have you seen my collection of lipsticks? I can not justify buying another tube, I really can’t.

It’s sobering, really, this retirement thing, since it’s forced me to give up my joyful shopping sprees because 1) I can’t use the stuff and 2) I can’t store it.

It would be one thing if I had kids or grandkids I could shop for, but that’s not the case, either.

I think it’s time to rethink my relationship with stuff. Like some relationships I’ve had with men, I hang in there with them far too long, far past their expiration date. I fixed that with men, but I think I need to fix it with stuff now.

Your thoughts?  and yes, yes, I know about the book you’re about to mention to me that says if it doesn’t give you joy, let it go. Well, you can’t BELIEVE the number of things that give me joy! Anyway, I know the book. Now I want to know your thoughts.


44 comments on “Too much stuff
  1. Carla says:

    Oh my goodness I am laughing because I wasn’t a hoarder but I was definitely a holder on to’er until an interaction I had with my husband almost 2 decades ago.
    We were packing for a move – – I’m grateful we’ve done a lot of those otherwise I think I’d have held onto everything 🙂 – – and I started to fold and place into a box my beloved purple Prairie blouse.
    I see encouraged me to donate it I bristled and told him it was a favorite even though it wasn’t in style any longer.
    He laughed and said I promise if they come back in style I will get you another.
    It’s not a great story. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. It was really powerful for me for some reason with regards to realizing the importance of letting things stuff everything go.

  2. Terri says:

    I haven’t read that book, although I have heard about it. We just sent off a 30 yard dumpster filled with stuff. And we have sent bags of stuff to various organizations. We are on a mission to let go and lighten our load. I think everyone is different. Our journey has been shaped by our experiences. Our eldest died when he was 25 and everything he owned fit into our living room. He was a grad student and his greatest possession were his books. Our surviving son just turned 29 and we have had some long conversations about the future. I don’t want to saddle him with an attic and garage full of stuff to sort through when we die. So we have started the process now. I have some nice dress blazers and dress trousers that I have not worn in years, and I put my hand on them to give away, and I draw my hand back. Not yet. My favorite outfit these days is trail/hiking pants – I love them. I wear them on photo shoots, running errands, I wore them to church this weekend, they suit me. Yet, I hang on to those beautiful jackets. Maybe this fall I will let them go. It is an interesting relationship we have with stuff and I know we had to wait until the time was right for each of us to let go of things we held on to.

  3. Haralee says:

    It is the styles and the fabrics that really do go out of date unless it is evening wear. I had some lovely items that I brought to a consignment shop. They were rejected. I was told they were too out of style. That rejection cured me of thinking I could make some money and holding on to clothes knowing I wouldn’t wear them again.

  4. I’m a hoarder of books, even though I recently got rid of about 85 titles (donated them to Goodwill). I still have this need to be surrounded by books. I’m looking at a stack of 6 on my coffee table, all of which I am currently reading. You’d think I’d be much smarter than I actually am. lol

  5. I am doing a giant clean-out this summer because I just can’t stand how much crap we have. Just like you, though,I am amazed at the amount of stuff I own that does give me joy!

  6. I think it’s really hard to let go of stuff. In my home sale/downsizing/moving experience last summer I had to work at it and clearly I could stand to unload more.
    I hear you about a closet full of clothes. It’s one of my weaknesses as well–I also have donated work clothes to a charity closet–great way to feel good about letting go of clothes that no longer work.

  7. Diane says:

    Yeah. Me and stuff. We’re not friends.

  8. Leanne says:

    I’ve always been a neat freak and not really a hoarder, but despite that, all this stuff seems to accumulate and it has happy memories attached to it – I thin it out a bit, but there will always be a few dresses in my closet I never wear but they hold a special place in my heart!

  9. sTACEY says:

    I retired at the end of September 2015. I decided then that I would go through the entire house and dispose of anything that I have not used in at least a year. The Salvation Army is coming by at the end of this month to pick up my used “treasures.” Only half of the basement remains to be cleaned out, and most of that will be thrown in the garbage. I must say I found the process quite satisfying and liberating.

  10. I have always been a thrower-outer. I am a champion at cleaning out my closet. But I love shopping, so my closet is always full. One in, one out, for the most part. When we downsized we got rid of a ton of things we had no use for anymore and it felt amazing! But I am not a fan of “that book.” Too many steps.

  11. Jennifer says:

    I constantly find myself with too much stuff! It’s a sickness really. A bad habit. I weed out then slowly rebuild. Lipsticks do seem to be the worst yet they do expire, so there is that.

  12. Kim Tackett says:

    For years I have been sharing the story of a friend who was moving cross country at age 60 and had a party to give away her stuff. She took pictures of her friends with her treasures, and put them in a photo album. A few weeks ago I reminded my friend who inspiring her story was. She said, “That wasn’t me, but it sounds like a great idea.” So now, I have no idea if this story was even real!

  13. I downsized from a 2500 square ft house to a double wide and got rid of a ton of stuff doing garage sales, which I normally hate. Loved the cash, though. It’s just stuff. Now if I could just get my sig other to release his stuff. 200 Hawaiian shirts. His closet is way bigger than mine. It’s not fair!

  14. tara pittman says:

    I need to declutter. I just hate the process so I put it off.

  15. Barbara says:

    Since moving is our middle names I’ve rarely been in one place long enough to accumulate too much stuff. Moving is motivation for re-evaluating and parting with things no matter the sorrow. My issue at the moment is the clothes I kept when we moved that no longer fit. I have gained about 10lb. since we moved to the beach and now I’m the poster girl for ‘fat and happy’. You have motivated me to clear that stuff out and donate it.
    Time to go shopping!

  16. ElLen Dolgen says:

    I laughed and laughed ready this! This is me to a tee! Yikes!!
    I try to give things away, but inevitably, I find myself wishing I still had those pants- because they come back into style!

  17. Sheryl Kraft says:

    You know what else is sobering? Moving. Recently did it and was amazed and embarrassed by all my STUFF. I’m still cleaning out and every time I do I feel so much lighter. No more shopping for sport – the next time I shop it’ll be because I actually NEED something.

  18. Grammy says:

    Oh my, I understand. It’s easy to become a semi-hoarder 🙂

  19. Ruth Curran says:

    I so get what you are talking about Carol! I sometimes inadvertantly give things emotional value. I get attached to unusual things and many of them are, believe it or not, things I picked up along the way (like rocks and feathers and shells and beach glass…argggghhh) and those are hardest for me to get rid of.

    We regularly clean out “stuff” and, never fails, replace it with other stuff. As always though Carol, I love your take on life.

  20. I did read “that book” and it inspired me to purge at the end of last year — even before we decided to move (which we did at the end of May). It was an eye-opener, the getting rid of stuff. And tremendously liberating. My closet still needs some work, but it’s a lot more navigable (and it’s smaller than our previous one, plus our condo has one less closet than our previous home). Another benefit is that deciding what to wear is easier when there are fewer choices.

  21. Several years ago, I hired a stylist for $300 and she went through my closet and came up with something like 30 outfit combinations with what I already had. I am not good at mixing and matching, so this was eye opening. She also left me with a list of different accessories and core pieces that I might supplement with. That was so helpful. And we got rid of things then that I no longer wore. Fast forward to late 2015 after reading the Konmari book. I had left my professional career, had gained weight so most of the clothes didn’t fit and I gave away everything that didn’t fit or didn’t look good now. That was a lot of stuff. I had to give up the fantasy of maybe losing weight and getting into those clothes. I might lose the weight, but would I still really want those outfits. I liked having room in my closet more than hanging on to the stuff in the end. But it was hard.

  22. I really understand this. It is not that easy.

  23. Mary Burris says:

    I recently found myself purging my stash. It sure builds up quick!

  24. Jennifer says:

    I’m in the process of downsizing again and so ok with it. The first time was after a divorce and I downsized a 3 bedroom house into three rooms. It was so freeing! As for clothes, I regularly go through and donate clothing. If I haven’t worn it in the past year, then I’m not going to wear it and time to let go. Now I’m preparing (early) for selling again as I get nearer to retirement. I look forward to a wardrobe of yoga pants.

  25. Julie DeNeen says:

    It’s definitely not my stuff that is collecting around here. It’s all momma. When we moved I went through her nightstand and threw away about four rolls of paper towels. Each square perfectly folded.

  26. I totally relate to this. I have to purge a lot in the next few months. I have way too much stuff!

  27. Elizabeth O. says:

    It’s more difficult to part with stuff than the people in our lives, isn’t it? Haha. I think you should consider letting go though if you think you have too much stuff. I’m sure there are people who would appreciate getting them or why not put up a sale and use the money for vacations!

  28. Wildish Jess says:

    I’m great and terrible at this all at the same time! lol

  29. Rosemond says:

    The stuff, what to do with the stuff? I’m with you, I weed but then I shop and I end up back where I started with an overstuffed closet and nothing to wear….

  30. When we moved this new place a couple of months ago packing things from the old palce took me more than a week to finish and I gave away 70% of what we have.. from books, clothes and the rest of the things we got. I did not imagine that we have too many things at home. Now, we’re buying again….

  31. Liz mays says:

    I’m an accumulator of stuff because I always think I’ll have need for it later. I did a major purge last year and donated over 50-60 huge garbage bags of my stuff!

  32. Loved this piece. It is so me and my closet. I retired more than three years ago and still have to give away some of my suits.

  33. I am a collector of things, a packrat whatever you want to call it. I constantly have to dump things off a thrift stores. I don’t even know how I have so many things. I can even afford to shop! Lol.

  34. Mags says:

    haha. This definitely speaks to me. I am the same way. It’s just so hard to part with the clutter.

  35. It is always good to pair down. I feel a sense of well being when I donate my “favorites” to a cause that can use them. Thank you so much for linking at #overthemoon! I look forward to seeing what you share every week. Please come back for #WonderfulWednesday or #ThursdayFavoriteThings. Don’t forget to comment your link #’s so I can be sure to visit and you get a chance to be featured! Pinned and shared.

  36. Rosey says:

    Ah I did smile at your simile of collecting to men. I can relate to the former. 😉

  37. This is so true! I have entirely too much stuff, but that doesn’t keep me from shopping for more stuff.

  38. I am a hoarder an find it difficult to let go of things for the sake of memories but I had to let them go for my new place.

  39. Jamela Porter says:

    We are moving soon and I have got to tackle the closets. I hoard clothes and even though I haven’t worn it in awhile I just can’t get rid of the sweater I purchased 5 years ago.

  40. Kathy Kenny Ngo says:

    Yes too much stuff is quite a bad habit. You’ll never know in the end where to put all the things that is not useful to us. Continue sharing this kinds of post.

  41. Sometimes it is tough to admit we have too much of something especially when it is something we have a hard time parting with. There is something freeing about finally letting it go though.

  42. Mhaan A says:

    I feel you, I also left my corporate job this year and I also have corporate outfits inside my closet that I can’t wear anymore. I prefer to sell them as preloved or gave them to needy to have more space for new ones.

  43. Eileen Kelly says:

    You made me giggle because I can totally relate. I retired due to a health issue. I have a box of panty hose..not sure if anyone even wears those anymore. I have decided to spend the fall doing to boxes a day to de-clutter..I will tell you if any joy is felt..I would rather have someone do it for me 🙂

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