23 October 2005

All My Stuff

My friend, Marci, gave me an article by Andrew Postman called, 'Good-bye to All That: What one writer found when he rid his basement of a lifetime of possessions (Hint: it wasn't the basement floor)'.

It was on pp. 71-75 of the July 2005 edition of the magazine, Real Simple.

Postman lives in a four-story Brooklyn brownstone with his wife and two kids.

After eight years of accumulation, they rented an 11-feet long by 6-feet wide by 4-feet high dumpster to help them get rid of 264 cubic feet of their basement stuff.

Through the experience, the author comes to the conclusion that we are not our stuff.

Having written the article months after the purging process was completed, he remarks that not only does he not miss what they decided to throw out, he can't even remember all of the items they threw out.

Looking at the stuff of his past sticking out of the dumpster, the self-proclaimed semi-hoarder was struck by the concept of 'enough' and how his concept of enough "should have been satisfied a long time ago."

I don't like to have a lot of stuff, but I'm not too philosophical about it.

I'm not sure yet if I agree with Postman's philosophy about why we accumulate. He says:
"I understand why people amass stuff.

We do it to assert that we, the human race, were here -- an ordering, collating species whose forward-thinking, backward-looking members thought enough of themselves to archive the details of their random experiences in a bid for immortality.

More than that, it reeks of continuity and optimism; it suggests (true or not) that what you do today matters, and that tomorrow matters, too.

It plants your individual flag that says you were here.

It says that, once upon a time, someone cared enough to collect baseball cards, bring back a souvenir from a foreign country, or write a love letter."

Technorati tag:


Blogger leirda said...

I've heard good things about Real Simple, and your post seems to confirm them.
...carry on.

Sunday, 23 October, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home