Imagine one day you are moving house like we did a few weeks back. You might be in for an unpleasant surprise. We moved back to a place that we had lived before – the exact same house. We had not bought many new things while living abroad. At least this was our impression. We had managed to sell the too big bed and the bicycle buggy before heading back home.In addition we had got rid of a lot of other clutter. Nonetheless -in the last few weeks after having moved back, has basically been about jumping cardboard boxes containing things we have not (yet) found room for.
We have too many things. We own too many things. Because we acquire too many things. It is that simple – and that depressing. We like to have nice things surrounding us, things that normally should serve a purpose – be useful in some way, or maybe only look nice and fill an aesthetic role. Acquiring things is far more easy than getting rid of them. If you can afford it. For different reasons one gets attached to things – even if they are just dead objects. It is still a bit puzzling why it seems so common to have this materialistic hang-up – we are getting so much stuff and we constantly keep filling up our houses. We buy new things because we can’t retrieve them any longer at home. Have you tried finding a pair of boots in toddler size among ice hockey helmets, ski-pants, tools and lots, lots of other paraphernalia?
We buy new things because there are new models, or maybe we just happen to pass by a good offer on our way home from work. Also – IKEA is so accessible, they come up with so many practical solutions. All the time. And they come with very affordable prices. Living in an affluent, Western country provides endless opportunities to buy and buy. And then buy some more..
Throwing and dumping things doesn’t really leave us feeling good. At least it shouldn’t. The only positive part is when the room, house or garage looks tidy. But generally disposing of stuff just confirms the materialistic you.
Is there a way to avoid going to your local waste facility when you cannot keep the things you have? The kids grow and one day they don’t need the buggy, the travel bed or the huge space-consuming toys that the grand-parents proudly gave them some years back. A good solution is to give the obsolete but still usable items away to someone who needs it. Or sell it and make some money. Or just exchange them with something we are in need of.
So in the past couple of weeks we have tried to give away and to sell things. Without much noticeable success. The women’s shelter close by had reached the limit of capacity for receiving things, the asylum seeker’s facility was about to be shut down. The things we put up for sale online only resulted in people getting back to us suggesting to pay ridiculous small amounts (equivalent to giving them away).
The frustration caused by this spurred me to write this post yesterday – but by the time I had sat down and started writing the phone rang and a nice Danish guy was on his way to buy the jogger stroller. For our suggested price. This lit my hope that in a while the rest of our surplus stuff will be in new homes with happy new users. And we learned our lesson well; nothing gets over our doorstep without careful thought and providing a response to the question: do we really need this? Why do we need this?