Moving house has made me realise how much STUFF we own as a household of five people. We have temporarily moved from a roomy four-story four-bedroom Victorian house with lots of cupboards and space to keep ‘stuff’ to a ironically-small five-bedroom 1990s detached house. We have managed to fill this more-rooms-but-smaller house with our STUFF. It is everywhere. I can walk for stuff. I trip over stuff. I sit on stuff. There is nowhere to put the stuff. I fear that I am going to drown in stuff.
Here are some pictures of this stuff:
What would life be like if we got rid of 50% of our stuff? I’m not talking about the books, or my clothes, of course, but other stuff. The general ‘stuff’. I’m sure there wouldn’t be a psychological breakdown. I’m sure we’d survive.
Artist Michael Landy famously destroyed all of his stuff over a period of two weeks for an art performance, except the clothes he was wearing. He claimed that he lasted without stuff for mere minutes as people immediately gave him stuff out of sympathy. He also reported a strange sense of anxiety and loss immediately afterwards, until he gathered new stuff, like a rolling stone that gathers moss. He said that he struggled the most with the loss of those objects that cannot be replaced: letters, gifts, tokens of memory. He didn’t miss the general crap that we all own: books (I hate to include those), DVDs, clothes (and those), shoes, paper, post, STUFF. So there is a lesson to be learnt there.
I wish I were brave enough to get rid of some of this stuff. But I think the hoarder-next-door part of me just doesn’t want to do it. So, I think I will have to be content with drowning in stuff here in Muxton. At least I’ll be well-dressed and among good books as I go.
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