"Stuff". What a great word. Stuff. One of the books I read when I was on the cruise was Miss Minimalist, which was a Kindle book of her blog. As the blog states, Francine Jay is all about living a beautiful life with less stuff.

"Stuff". That great repository of all knowledge and wisdom Wikipedia defines "stuff" as items, things, or matter. From a scientists perspective, everything the universe is made of matter (or stuff). But items and things in our lives take on a whole new importance in today's consumer society. Our consumption of stuff can become overwhelming.


Christmas is upon us - and with it the perfect opportunity to get more stuff (except we call the stuff presents). I just viewed on the news injuries from people trying to acquire more stuff on sale on Black Friday...

The urge to buy new stuff is something I've struggled to come to terms with. Even though I don't have a huge wardrobe of clothes or wear a lot of make-up or own a lot of shoes (the usual signs of a compulsive shopper) and I've never been sprayed with pepper spray during a sale, I do struggle not to buy other stuff. Books. Candles. Earrings. Board games. Kitchen gadgets. Trinkets. Doo dads.

I'm not a hoarder, which is a whole different psychological issue, but I definitely have issues not buying more, new stuff. I certainly get a tiny thrill when the Australia Post guy knocks on the door with my latest package (half of which I justify for homeschooling!). I feel better when I go shopping (the fun sort, not grocery sort) and have shiny new bags with running shoes and a new DVD in them. Because soon, those running shoes will wear out and I'll have watched that DVD and need a new one!

But does spending our hard-earned (and this year, more limited) cash on stuff make me happier? Once the novelty wears off, and I have to find somewhere to store this stuff, am I any more blissful? Or do I look forward to the next purchase?

So this book was kind of useful for me. Do I really need to bring home more stuff? Do I really need that New Zealand jade necklace? That Swarkovski crystal duck that is on sale? You see, because the opportunities to acquire more stuff are endless. The opportunity not to bring more stuff into my home is new way of thinking for me. Not easy, mind you! The habit of looking for new stuff is highly ingrained!

Similarly, I am reviewing the stuff I already have. What clothes to I actually wear and love? Which ones could go to Vinnies without a second thought? Why do I need so many cables? And pens? And bits of unidentifiable plastic in my "junk" drawer (you know you have one too!). How much less time would I spend cleaning and tidying if we owned less stuff?

I guess I want to have essentials, but I really want to think through - what is essential? Could my life stand more:

  • mindful living?
  • contentment?
  • appreciation of nature?
  • living in the moment (especially with my kids)?
  • finding joy in enough?
You bet it could! So, here's hoping that I can turn around my compulsion to acquire new stuff and find joy and happiness in less material things more often.

I found this video and just had to share it. It does contain a couple of swear-words, so if sensitive, avoid. But it really hits the nail on the head and is insightful into our relationship with "stuff".


  1. Love George Carlin and his stand up on Stuff! How true. I have the book, Clutter's Last Stand by Don Aslett which inspired me to donated bins of books and even my wedding dress.

    Christy and I went to a craft shop Thanksgiving day to take advantage of their deals (and aquire more stuff). Not much risk of being trampled at Micheals. We don't venture far on Black Friday.

  2. For me commercialism was a dirty word. I was on a mission to buy used, handmade and support small business at all costs, which is not a bad thing mind you. For me though I went a bit overboard causing unhappiness to enter our household.

    I have since found our balance, we still support used, handmade, and small business when possible but instead of saying no ,absolutely not to things my girls might want because they were not from the choices above I explained marketing and economics so they could understand we all have choices to buy or not to buy. *We* can choose how to spend our money.

    For me anyway being more mindful that we do have choices is what has worked best.

  3. I am not a shopping fan, but I don't mind trawling the opshops. Mostly I buy handmade type books or vintage pattern books. I am in the process of once again de-stuffing the house. We have far too much that has accumulated over the years. I am still trying to teach myself the rule of "if you don't wear it or use it in six months" get rid of it! I find it especially hard to do this if it was given as a gift but really if we don't use something, why have it? This year we have a "no gift" rule for adults in our family, so heres hoping everyone sticks to it!

  4. I am right there with you on this post! In fact, my blog post I'm planning for this week has an underlying current of the 'stuff' problem.


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