How did I end up with so damn much STUFF?

I’m moving this coming Friday, which is something I haven’t done in 7 years. (I should be packing right now, but I’m taking a lunch break.)

I am rapidly realizing that I have waaaaay too much stuff. 20 boxes of books, for example. And I haven’t even started on the kitchen yet. I’ve been trying to weed stuff out over the past few months, once I realized I had no interest in renewing my lease with Musa the Psycho Landlord form Hell, but apparently I haven’t been vicious enough about it.

Why do we accumulate so much stuff, and why is it so difficult to part with such ridiculous things? Do I really need to hold onto a waller-sized plastic card with the Periodic Table of Elements on it? (The sad part: I was recounting that bit to my dad, and how this was just a further manifestation of what a geek I am, since I can’t remember any moment since H.S. physics when I had to know the molecular weight of anything. He confessed that he’d downloaded the Periodic Table to his Palm Pilot. Well, at least he’s an engineer; me, I draft work visa petitions for a living. Why the hell do I need the Periodic Table?)

The kitchen stuff? Yes, I do love to cook, and do so frequently. But I seriously think I could equip a decent-sized restaurant at this point.

Would you mind giving me back the leaf-blower you borrowed 4 years ago?

As I recall you said you would only need it "for about 20 minutes."

<twenty boxes of books>

I moved into my house sixteen years ago with fifty boxes of books; in the last few years I have accumulated at least twenty boxes of books that are waiting for me to rebuild the library so I have shelf space for them.

Last week I nearly filled a 7 by10 storage locker with boxes of stuff that was in my attic so I’d have space to work up there. Which is what I should be doing now, but I’m taking a late (and extended) lunch break. There’s a pile of stuff out by the alley that didn’t make it to the storage locker.

Anyone want a 1979 Encyclopedia Britannica set, along with most of ten years of all three yearbooks? I haven’t opened any of them in five years; between the Internet and the SDMB I have other, more up-to-date, sources of information

I know exactly how you feel, Eva. When we moved into this apartment, less than four years ago, it seemed huge and pretty empty. We no longer have room for one more item. (Which, of course, doesn’t stop us from buying more stuff.)

I’ve been really brutal on the book thing. We have 8 bookcases, of various sizes, all of which are overflowing. So, I’ve learned to be heartless when it comes to disposing of books. I’ve gotten rid of more books than I currently own, over the years. It’s sad, but I’ve learned that the local library will gladly accept them for their next fund-raising book sale, so that makes it a little less painful.

And, I’ve more than doubled the amount of cookware I own, and at least trebled the number of kitchen gadgets I own. Plus, there’s the ever growing cookbook collection, which isn’t even in one of the aforementioned bookcases.

A friend has a system which I’m trying to implement in my house. For every new item, you bring in, an old item has to go. Bought a new sweater or kitchen toy? Give something you haven’t used in 6 months to Goodwill. This works pretty well for me, except for books. One really can never have enough books.

You think you got books? When I sold my house I figured I had 3000 or 4000 lbs of books and it would take hundreds of boxes. Instead, I built a couple of crates in the garage and filled them up. Then I had a truck and forklift move them to storage.

And that is just in DC. I have more stuff stored in other places. Probably another crateload of books.

Anyway, Eva Luna, I know what you’re going through and I hope it is not too awful. Moving house is one of the most stressful things there are.

Okay - I live alone - in a two bedroom townhouse. I need the space for all my stuff. It is sincerely sad. The closet in my downstairs bedroom is full of yarn/thread for crochet - and in front of the closet are all my soap supplies. My two bookcases are stacked full of books - and this is after donating boxes of books in my last move. But then again, that move was almost two years ago, so that’s two more years of books coming in. In my family room is a pile in the corner of gel candle supplies I’m planning on giving someone at work - upstairs is my CD collection - probably 1000+. Let’s not even talk about video tapes/DVD’s. And the sad part is I am constantly like a kid - “There’s nothing to do!”.


Our last move was hard, and we’d just had a bedroom with one table in it (folding table, we used it for the PCs). Now, we have a bedroom full of stuff, a HUGE desk (mine, of course, but it’s so cool, it’s an evil dictator desk), a heavy-as-hell entertainment center, and two years worth of books, CDs, kitchen stuff, and all the rest. It took a good size Ryder truck last time. I dread our next move, and it may be in December.

But I’m not getting rid of books. Hell no.

LurkMeister, you could probably donate your encyclopedias to a library or a school. Tax write-off, if you’re lucky. Most libraries will take them, even if they’re out-of-date. Ditto with many schools, especially low-tech elementary schools or daycare centers. The preschool I worked at was always looking for books the older kids could read or the little ones could cut up.

(Sorry about the hijack…)

Eva, I’m going to be in your shoes very soon. I’m going to try and purge before I pack, though, since I know I’m moving to a smaller place. I’ve been here over 10 years.

I currently have four large bookshelves of books. I’m going to have to bite the bullet and purge some fo them, which is going to be tough (particularly the hardbacks) - I’m going to give some to my niece if she’s interested, and some of the fiction I’m giving to AmVets (they don’t take non fiction).

I’ve got a bunch of crap in my kitchen I never use. This will be easier, since I’m not much of a cook. Again, this goes in boxes for AmVets.

I have purged my closet recently, though. A couple of years ago I did major donation after I lost a lot of weight, and I did it again last year just to get rid of things I hadn’t worn in years. I gave 8 large garbage bags of clothes to AmVets.

The bicycle that I’ll never use again (bad back) and the stupid cardio machine get taken to “Play It Again Sports” some weekend when UncleBeer and I are feeling ambitious.

Good Luck with your move. So when’s the “Quiet ChiDope”? :wink: