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Old 11-23-2011, 08:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ever feel like you have too much stuff?

This could be a thread about how our material possessions must make us appear gluttonous and obscenely wealthy to the average desert nomad, but it's not. I do think about this once in a while, but mostly I just feel sometimes like having lots of stuff kind of weighs me down, like a figurative ball-and-chain.

The thing is, I like my stuff, but sometimes I look back with nostalgia to the day I moved out of my mother's house at 18-years old, and I fit everything I owned into my Fiat. Of course, as soon as I moved into my apartment, I realized I needed dishes, a mop, a toaster, etc., etc... However, I felt like I had everything I needed (until I got my Triumph, but that's another story).

I look around my house sometimes and, as a mind experiment I imagine what I could let go of if I lived on a sailboat, or in a motorhome, or even a campground. It's not easy. If I really give it some serious thought, I can arrive at a set of criteria to test whether I really "need" something or not: Do I use it? Will I use it? Does it have sentimental value? Would the sentiment be enough without the thing that represents it? Would I miss it if I didn't have it? Does it improve my quality of life? What does stuff even have to do with quality of life? Etc...

I've known a few people who have done these exact things; they sold their homes and sold or gave away absolutely everything they owned to live simply—one couple from a 3-story Victorian house to a sailboat. If it didn't fit on the boat, they didn't need it.

Right now, I'm looking at the USB hub on my desk that looks like a Triumph 650 engine and makes an engine sound when you crank the little kick-starter. You've probably seen one of these. Well, I have one. It's amusing, but I don't need the stupid thing, and it just sits there. That is just one of literally thousands of things I have that range from objets-d'art to furniture to tools to books and CDs, to gadgets, and on and on...

Do you ever feel like you're piled up with more possessions than you need? Do you sometimes crave a simpler existence? Do you already live simply and wouldn't have it any other way? I know some of you will answer that you like your stuff and want more, which I'm not being critical of. I'm just wondering who else besides me sometimes feels like whittling down, and to what extent. Where would you draw the line between keeping and jettisoning something?

"Always be yourself... unless you suck"
~ Joss Whedon
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Way too many things. I agree it is tough. For example, I don't "need" four helmets, five motorcycle jackets, 5 pairs of gloves, etc but I don't want to get rid of any of them for some reason. I have four adjustable wrenches that are the same exact size hanging on my tool wall? Who needs four? Maybe two at a time at the most. I noticed yesterday that I have 3 leaf rakes. I am the only one that rakes, and the rest are just in the way, really. When it comes to our little girls toys, I could really get going. They could have 1/10 the stuff they have all over the house and they would still have too much stuff.

A simpler existence would be great, but I feel it would be to difficult a task to accomplish voluntarily. For me, I would really have to live somewhere truly off the grid to be able to leave all the modern conveniences behind. Sad but true.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I often think about whether I could live simpler. I'm on the fence as to whether I could or not. I have an extensive music collection, so that would stay. Then there are my drums, bikes and cars and they would stay. Other than that, I really don't have much more stuff.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Personally, I strive to live a simple, comfortable life. The examination of "wants" and "needs" can take some time at first, but I have tried to make it a habit. Our household tries to abide by a "one in- one out" rule whereby whenever something new is introduced, something old will go out.
We have an older tv (not a flat screen) that works just fine. When our old DVD player couldn't be repaired (by me with my very limited skills), it was replaced with a similar unit (but not a 3D, blu-ray).
We have no x-box or other game system, but instead keep the kids entertained with board games, trips to the park (or desert) and limited, supervised computer use.
My lawnmower is a 1962 Briggs & Stratton which I keep maintained and will start on two pulls.
We have but two magazine subscriptions and endeavor to recycle as much as possible.
I get a little put off by the conspicuous consumption I see going on at the stores with the "bigger is better" attitude of the shoppers.
I would still like to have less material things around me, but yield to the happiness and wishes of my family.
I'm probably a bit of an anomaly compared to my contemporaries, but find in general I'm better off without all of the payments required to "keep up".
Sort of my own version of "Go your own way"
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thought I would simplify my life about 20 years ago and get rid of whatever material possessions that were not needed.
After going through everything I could not find a valid reason for disposing of any of it, wasted time and effort.
I'm sure my daughter will have no such compunctions when it comes time to sort my sh*t out.

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Old 11-23-2011, 09:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have had these thoughts and have eliminated some items that I have to pare down my existence but still sometimes live by the motto "you only live once"!

It is interesting that this was brought up on a motorcycle forum. No one actually NEEDS a motorcycle (unless it is the only mode of transportation) much less two that a lot of us have...
"You are either on something or onto something"........The Common Man
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Photography may serve a purpose here. Photograph a pile of sentimental stuff so you remain in touch with the memory and then toss it. I divvied my garage into essential and chuckable one afternoon - and then chucked. The relief was like getting a piggy-backer off your back. Too much stuff does weigh you down.
"By looking at the difference between perceived danger and actual danger, you can fundamentally change your reaction." Chris Hadfield.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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One of the easiest ways to simplify is to have 3 kids in their 20's that need stuff. They'll clean you out! Another great strategy is to move to a new home. My dad always said, " 3 moves=one good burning." The motorcycles and gear are staying with me though.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I got a rid of a sail boat once. One of the happiest days of my life.... but I've regretted it ever since!

I love getting rid of stuff, and I hate clutter.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I tend to buy things I might need later, generally it's been reduced which attracted me in the first place. I have a few items which I yet haven't taken out of their packaging.

...however one day I might need to use it, then comes the problem of remembering I bought it in the first place and where I put it.
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