Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stuff and Belongings

I recently read an interview with Dave Bruno.* Here is one excerpt from the interview. “Stuff requires maintenance, both physical and emotional. It influences what we do and what we want to do. A normal human being can only handle having so much stuff before the stuff starts to take control, whether it be clutter or wasted time or unhealthy desires. If we don't self-impose limits, stuff is always going to win. Also, and I think we're all coming to understand this more, the priority on having lots of stuff has damaged the earth and hurt many developing people groups. Those of us who jump headlong into overconsumption help destroy the world. But our over consumption thrashes ourselves, too. Who's getting the benefit? Maybe some microbe that feasts on ocean garbage gyres. But the rest of us aren't deriving much good from consumer indulgence.”
So what should we keep? Our tendency to confuse “needs” with “wants” will usually trick us into keeping more than we need for survival or even thriving. Better defining that difference is a big step in the right direction. Step outside of the realm of “stuff” and think of keeping the intangibles.
Keep the meaningful traditions. Others are beyond their expiration date and no longer serve a purpose for the family. They can be cast away. I always include that topic in premarital counseling as couples are choosing what to “keep and cast away” from their family of origins. Keep ties with friends and family – even if it is just that annual news letter. What would you add to your list of “keepers”?
Finally, focus on the word, “belongings.” Let’s determine what is merely “stuff” and what truly helps us “belong” to something or someone with a tie that is more significant than a 60 second commercial. Cast away the “stuff” and treasure the “belongings.” That could make it easier to keep the important and cast out the unnecessary.

* Author of a book called The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul. For the full interview go to
By Cinda Gorman

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