An assignment for today was to think about "stuff" (see Time Goes By at http://www.timegoesby.net/weblog/). I think about stuff a lot. I am a tiny bit of a tidy-and-organized freak and clutter has always bothered me. I have a recurring nightmare that involves having to pack (maybe for a vacation or maybe for moving a household) and everything that needs to get packed up is scattered and disorganized. I wake up in a cold sweat.
The movie Grey Gardens and those tv shows about hoarders that seem to be all the rage now--my idea of horror. I'd sooner watch something like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Rosemary's Baby (and you can probably tell how much I keep on those horror flicks). Really, I had a hard time watching the "let's get you organized" shows, but these hoarder shows are just beyond me. They would feed the nightmares too much.
I actually do the rule about: Do you love it? Do you use it? Do you have a place for it? I gave away bags and bags of "teacher" clothes and shoes when I retired. We had a garage sale and got rid of an unbelievable amount of stuff in 2005, when we thought we might be moving. I still find a couple of boxes full of donations to a church "Clutter Barn" in our neighboring town when I do spring cleaning. If I get something new, something old leaves my possession. Still, it always seems like we have a lot of "stuff" around.
A few years ago, I met a woman who retired with her husband. They sold their house and most everything in it and bought an RV that they live in. Sometimes they will rent an apartment for a season, but they just do not buy "stuff." She said it was the most freeing feeling in the world. I don't know if I could do that, but it is an intriguing idea.
My husband Mike is tidy but he is also a collector. He has loads of stuff that he has now started selling on e-bay. Honestly, he makes a pile of stuff he wants to sell and usually I have never seen it before and I don't even know where he keeps it. Some of it is noticeable for its absence, though--like at one time there were seven or eight motorcycles in the garage and they're all gone now. He calls his collections his retirement fund, but it's a job to get rid of it. I hope I never have to deal with it.