Is it really just “stuff”?

Other than my personal belief that you can’t have too many putters, drivers, shotguns, or fishing poles, and notwithstanding her contention that you can’t sew a quilt without every block, pattern, and piece of equipment ever imagined in close proximity, we are minimalists.

Perhaps that sounds like an oxymoron, but some of you will understand.

When daddy died four years ago, my brother and I convened in Fort Worth to break down his place. It wasn’t really large, as he had moved from a big house to a retirement cottage in a progressive living home. Still, however, he had lots of “stuff.” If you’ve ever gone through the closing out of an estate of someone you’ve lost, you know how much we can accumulate in material possessions.

You also realize how much there is that really has no use or meaning to the people who are left behind. When my brother and were in first grade, our parents started an allowance. Mostly, we had to save for Christmas and birthday parents, as we had a large extended family. I settled on Old Spice aftershave as a great present and liked the idea so much that I bought a gallon for Dad several years running. When I got to the back of his closet, there were two unopened bottles of vintage aftershave. That was a sentimental moment to be sure, and a few tears flowed while the cologne went down the drain.

Even though we’re logical and rational people, and despite having seen this process in action firsthand, I’m amazed at how hard it is to get rid of “stuff.” Our house has three piles in the living room: Goodwill, storage, and RV, and in the middle is the trashcan. Many items have languished in all three places before finally migrating to the trash heap.

Cup holder made by my 3 year old son

I wish I had some tips for how to make it easier, the only good thing I can say is that it is far better for Elizabeth and me to do this than our kids. Still, however, is the little matter of the 10x10x9 storeroom, so our children will still have something to clean up. And, I’m pretty sure there’s a well-traveled pencil holder made by a young man in kindergarten that I kept all these years just in case I needed a place for pencils. Like the aftershave. Like father like son.

One Reply to “Is it really just “stuff”?”

  1. As we travel (not full time) we like to wander through antique shops. We enjoy the history of a location by what they used. Wife reads cook books like others read novels. Somewhere along the way we started collecting cook books (a couple thousand), tea pots (140+), salt dips (less than 70), and a few miscelanious other items that just facinated us like a 4′ carved bread kneading bowl.

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