So today while I was at a meeting, TG sat in the driveway and sold a bunch of stuff we pulled from the garage attic, as a part of a neighborhood garage sale day.

I helped haul stuff out of the garage early this morning, and was looking at a collection of kitchen tools, outgrown and seldom-used children’s toys, skis that we can’t get the bindings adjusted on any more, and obsolete electronics.

I’m not someone who buys deeply (or at all) into the notion that we should all live in quaint villages in a manner that would have made 19th century Mennonites comfortable, which is I think at the root of much of the ways that people look at Western consumer society.

But I did look at the large pile on the driveway and think for a bit. I have worked by the hour for most of the last 15 years; I’ve made, say, a buck-and-a-half a minute.

So I look at the pile of stuff, and to me it represents wasted time. Half a year of my life, maybe, that I worked to buy stuff that we’re now piling in our driveway to sell for a hundred bucks or so.

10 thoughts on “Stuff”

  1. Mazeltov and felicitations on your insight. If money is crystallized work-time (not sure it is), then “stuff” is _digested money_.

    And we know what the end product of digestion is, nie? :)

    I need to follow through on my own similar insights. Remember that the mariners’ albatross was a token of good luck until it died. Once “stuff / sh*t” becomes the second kind of albatross, it’s time to stop carrying it hung on your neck. Or some such thing.

  2. “Half a year of my life, maybe, that I worked to buy stuff that we’re now piling in our driveway to sell for a hundred bucks or so.


    Just think how much you spent during that time on groceries,and after you used them you flushed what remained down the toilet.

    The question is did you get your money’s worth while you were using them?

  3. When I was a child in the early 70s, we did not have alot of stuff. My parents had 7 kids on an enlisted man’s pay, so we were taken care of but not everything was The Next Big Thing. Granted, The Next Big Thing was not quite as big as it is now, but I digress. For my 3rd birthday, my dad bought me a Sit-N-Spin. For the snot-noses here, it was like a personal merry-go-round – a large plastic disk that you sat on with a smaller one that you turned with your hands.

    It’s not the thing itself that stirs all the memories as the times associated with it. We must have played with that old thing for years. I have a picture of me in my stupid little hat sitting on that stupid little toy with a still young Mom and Dad looking on from the porch swing. I still take it out from time-to-time and try to remember.

    I’m not going to bore you all with every detail of my childhood, but I also had a pedal car. It was a 2-seat coupe made of good old steel. I also had a doctor kit and a teddy bear I named Mr. Brown. He slept with me every night.

    This spring, it was time to drag my daughter’s first electric car to the curb. We went to Wally World and got a replacement (Barbie Jeep with a CD player). When I told her that the old one had to go, she broke into tears. “But Daddy, I still remember when you got that one for me!” I almost cried myself.

    It’s not about the things, it’s about the memories. What is the going rate on childhood innocence, happiness and a lifetime full of memories?

  4. Have your kids had stuff?

    When you’re young, stuff is important. If you have a bicycle, you can go cycling with other kids; if you haven’t, you can’t. If you have no stuff, the richer the neighborhood you live in, the less there is to do.

    For old people, stuff can be different. I see old people with rich houses just choked with furniture and every kind of consumer good, but no kids either any more or ever. They invested in what mattered to them: products not people.

    Wealth will remain there in piles, like little dragon hordes, till they die. Then it will all be cleaned out and disposed of.

  5. Tyler Durden Says:

    “The things you own, end up owning you.”

    “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your &^$%#& khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing &*^% of the world.”

  6. I have a similar series of thoughts every time we move. I look at all the stuff we’ve got, over the course of days of packing, and think: “Why did I even want this crap?”

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