We spent the day clearing out and reorganizing some of our stuff. Not all of our stuff, just the stuff in two rooms in our house, one of which is completely devoted to storing our extra stuff. We call it “the spare room”, but there is nothing spare about it. It is full of off-season clothes and bedding, crafting stuff, sewing stuff, overflow office stuff, a file cabinet almost completely filled with absolutely necessary paper stuff, and stuff we haven’t looked at in years except to move it from here to there but no, we can’t get rid of it because it is Very Important Stuff.
We did clear out some old computer hardware and software – things that have zero compatibility with any computer still running anywhere – and I identified some things to take to family in Dallas when we visit over the holidays. My husband picked up some drawer bins at a garage sale a few weeks ago (from someone able to actually let go of some stuff), and I’ve washed them and put them in the already-crowded room in an attempt to at least have better access to all the stuff.
A lot of difficulties we encounter in our society are decidedly first-world ones, but I think dealing with an overflow of consumer goods is a peculiarly American problem. We not only have aisles in box stores completely devoted to storage, we have entire stores. I saw an article recently that said that if Britain were to join the U.S., it would be the 2nd poorest state, behind only Mississippi. A Forbes article makes a correction to that based on local cost-of-living rates and points out that taking that into consideration leaves Britain dead last.
The original writer based a big portion of his conclusions on the relative GDPs. So, that means that the U.S. produces more stuff per person. And we work more hours than workers in European countries in order to produce the extra stuff. Then we’re too tired to do much more than watch television programs developed for the sole purpose of advertisers buying time to sell us stuff. So, we buy stuff we don’t really need because we have a little extra money made from making extra stuff. Or we buy stuff we need only because of the time-saving aspects so we at least have a little extra time to relax before we go back to work to make more stuff.
I would really love to have the opportunity to work fewer hours so I could have more time and less stuff.