Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In praise of stuff

Working in a store that sells Things has made me extremely sensitive to people's reactions to Stuff.  My job is dependent on customers buying product with the changing seasons, buying new instead of used, and buying quality.

Almost everyday I have semi-joking confession-esque conversations with customers who own way too many votive candle holders, table linens, throw pillows, or dishes.  But it's in a fun way, with a gentle head shake and a smile.  Like, 'oh I'm such a napkin rascal!'

Frequently on Facebook or blogs, I see posts about getting rid of stuff.  That Fight Club mantra "the things you own end up owning you."  Kill your television, own less, work less, buy only what you absolutely need.  If you've ever watched Hoarders, Storage Wars, or Hoarding: Buried Alive, you probably get itchy and want to throw everything away.

But, oh man, having stuff can be so great!  Have you ever been in a very full, but very organized house?  It's sort of awesome!  Some stuff-haters would turn "museum" into a bad word and use it against such places, but screw them.

Collecting stuff can be fun and rewarding.  I think many collectors would agree that it is mostly about the hunt.  As long as you are enjoying the experience of finding that Thing and not thinking you are doing your kids a favor by amassing salt and pepper shakers, it is fairly harmless.  

Develop your tastes.  Maybe instead of Beanie Babies, you could collect artisanal stuffies from Etsy or your local craft fairs.  Learn the history and evolution of your favorite items and be picky.  Only keep the coolest and hardest to find.  

Sometimes it's great to buy a New Thing.  Yea, you could live with that couch you got from your parents.  It's not too ugly and it serves it's purpose.   But a new, clean, comfy sofa can be the best thing you ever bought, especially if you are actually going to use it.  Do research, both with your head and your bottom, buy the best you can afford, buy something you love and don't feel guilty.  

If you have hobbies or are undertaking any projects, having the right tool can make all the difference.  And buying and owning the tool can make the whole process easier and more fun.  You may find yourself saying "how did I live without a rubber mallet all these years?" and meaning it.  Sometimes once you have a certain tool, you find it's useful for all sorts of things.  Stuff-haters will tell you to borrow instead of buying, but who are they borrowing from?  Someone has to own the shit first.

Your stuff should give you pleasure.  When you use or gaze upon it, you should feel happiness.  If you feel stress, anxiety, or depression, you need to get rid of it.  If you are shopping to fill voids in your life, you should look deeply into them and change something.  Duh, don't have more stuff than you have space.  And, duh, edit your shit once in a while and have a yardsale.  

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