Saturday, May 22, 2010


We live in a greedy little world—
that teaches every little boy and girl
To earn as much as they can possibly—
then turn around and
Spend it foolishly

Have you ever bought something you didn’t need? Maybe it was on sale or maybe you just wanted it? Maybe you already had one so now you have two because it was too good of a deal to pass up? Of course you have! We all have something we don’t need. We all have stuff. A lot of us have too much stuff.

Stuff is the subject of comedians. George Carlin has a whole routine on having stuff. He said a house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time.

There are several television shows now based on people who have too much stuff. We watch these kinds of shows and think, wow, they have a problem. As we watch, we are thinking how could anyone live like that? It’s disgusting. Then we quickly glance around and think quietly, is that me?

There is even an organization called Clutterers Anonymous, whose primary purpose is to stop cluttering one day at a time and to carry this message of recovery to clutterers who still suffer. They say they are “a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem with clutter and help each other to recover”. I wonder if they have stuff with their logo on it?

So how do you determine how much stuff is too much stuff? Is there a stuff scale and if you get over a certain point you have too much? Is it possible to have too much stuff? Wouldn’t not having any stuff be a bigger problem? I’m sure there are many people who wish they had enough stuff. They would even be ecstatic to have too much stuff. But it seems like almost everyone has too much stuff in one way or another.

I know people who have too much stuff on their minds. They are busy beyond belief. They can’t and don’t take time for the little things, the things that brought them pleasure. I know people who throw out food. There is so much stuff in their refrigerators they can’t even find the ‘good’ stuff and end up wasting food that other people would be glad to have. I know people who can’t find their jewelry in the morning because they have so much stuff it’s all meshed together and one piece can’t be singled out.

So why do we have too much stuff? Perhaps it’s because we can. After all, new is better, right? And new doesn’t have to be new. Just new to you. And we all need new stuff. Of course there’s always the special occasion when you need a treat and you deserve it so you get more stuff. Then there’s the old ‘keeping up with the Jones’ thought. If they have stuff I need stuff too. And finally, sometimes you just don’t have anything else to do, you’re bored, so you get more stuff. The Internet and television make it so easy.

When I was growing up we got one pair of shoes at the beginning of school. Sometimes, only if we had to because of school, we got a pair of tennis shoes too. Those ugly old white ones, nothing like the cool ones kids have today. We didn’t have good shoes and play shoes and Sunday shoes. We had one pair of shoes. We wore them from the beginning of school to the end of school unless you were lucky enough to have foot growth spurt or have a really large hole in the sole.

My aunt had a lot of shoes. She had red shoes and blue shoes and shoes with little bows on them. I’d never seen so many shoes. I vowed then that when I grew up I would be like her and have as many pair of shoes as I wanted. I would never have to wear just one pair of shoes until they were so ugly and ragged that it was less embarrassing to just stay home. And now I have as many pairs as I want. Do I have too many? Probably. Just ask my family what they think.

I read an interview with Dolly Parton once and she was telling the interviewer why she liked wearing the wigs and makeup that have become her trademark. She said when she was little she would see this woman who was blond and piled her hair up, wore high heels and tight skirts. She thought she was the prettiest thing she'd ever seen. She didn't know what she was, and it turned out she patterned her look after her. She said her mother used to tell her the lady was just trash. Dolly thought if that was the case she wanted to be just like that when she grew up…trash. Dolly has several wigs and people who are hired just to keep them styled. She equates high hair and tight clothes to beauty, just like I equate having more than one pair of shoes necessary to keep from embarrassment or humiliation.

Maybe you can have too much stuff. When it’s not fun to find new stuff, it could be a sign you’ve got enough. When you don’t have any more room, you might have enough. If it’s a chore to acquire something new or that you like, maybe you have enough stuff. If it might have occurred to you that the stuff you have is becoming a burden you could have enough stuff.

So what can you do? You can always throw some of your stuff out. You can look through your closets and fill up garbage bags with those clothes you are going to diet down to and wear again, or with the shoes you might have had since you were in your twenties. You can get rid of stuff you've had for years for no apparent reason. You can donate to Goodwill but not the Salvation Army because they took some of my friend’s stuff without asking. You can leave stuff by the dumpster or out by the road or in the alley and let some lucky someone find it and make your stuff their very own. And then, to celebrate, you can go out and buy or get more stuff!

Day 48 was one of those days where there was a lot to do. It seemed like I stayed at it, diligently, all day but there was just as much to do when I finished as when I started. I chose a yellow with a little orange twist woven in. The yellow was a happy color saying it could all be done. Day 49 brought blue yarn. It was an open sort of day, open and receptive to new things and new ideas. The blue reminded me of sky and how there are no limits in the sky. You can keep your ideas and still be receptive to something new. Fuzzy pink yarn was the color of the day for Day 50. It was a day filled with apprehension. Stupid things going on at work type of day. Things that aren’t important at all but make you wonder or worry. The fuzzy pink reminded me that there is a solid core but all the extra makes a fuzz around that core. The core is just as strong as it ever was, just ignore the fuzz or pretend it’s supposed to be there to make things more interesting. Knitayear on day 51 was a ribbon yarn, blue, purple and aqua, with threads hanging from it every so often. It was a thoughtful day, not so much in that I did anything nice for people, just that I was thinking about many different things, things I should have or shouldn’t have done. The solid ribbon showed a steady day of thinking while the threads were the tangents my weary mind goes off on. It’s all connected and the fiber is still strong even with the threads waving. Day 52 was a lazy day. I chose an orange handspun. It’s more of the antique yarn I found that I made in highschool. I look at some of that and compare it to what my friend Brenda can spin and find there is no comparison. This yarn is a wide bulky yarn. Again, I don’t remember if it is spindle or wheel yarn. It would be considered art yarn today probably, like I intentionally made it that way! It was calming to work with though and fell right into place. I’m thinking tonight that while you can have too much stuff you can never have too much yarn stuff!

All we ever want is more
A lot more than we had before
So take me to the nearest store...

1 comment:

  1. I love the saying "Live Simply so others can simply live" which tells me LESS is more. I'm working on it. I haven't arrived but I am getting rid of "stuff" Now, fabric and yarn DO NOT fall into the stuff category. Right?