A Hoarder’s Hors d’oeuvre: The Battle of Stuff

How do you spell “stuff” backwards? Well, that’s an easy one! It’s ffuts… as in, “Ah ffuts, I have way too much stuff!”

We all do it. Accumulating unnecessary junk is as American as a DVR taping of Storage Wars.

Stuff happens,” they say, and no one knows how. One day we check the garage and scream for help. In response, neighbors run to our aid to buy our picture frames on the front lawn.

“Will you take thirty cents?”

Consoling the Consolidating 

My wife and I just got back from a short stint in California. We’ll soon undertake a thirty-five hour road trip across the United States from Coeur ‘d Alene, Idaho to Rochester, New York—where we’re moving to.

We’re here in Idaho, our pseudo homebase, to situate the stuff we left behind. Our goal is to fit all of our belongings into one car load—specifically, a traveled Toyota Prius. No big deal. What did we leave behind? One, two boxes?

“Storage,” I heard my Mother-in-Law say.

“Storage?” I asked.

“Storage.”

“But… that’s impossible.”

Not impossible. Totally embarrassing. We had more ffuts than we realized.

A Hoarder’s Hors d’oeuvre 

People naturally respond to their upbringing in one of two ways: unapologetic acceptance or spiteful opposition. I hate stuff; I always have. It weighs you down and gets dusty. No thanks.

The house I grew up in was dominated by stuff, my Grandmother and her books and antiques and collectables. She isn’t a hoarder, by any means, but she’s getting there.

Pre-med is a good term.

In truth, my grandmother is a wonderful woman with a heart of gold, and I’ll be forever grateful of the upbringing I was given. That said, she could stand to get rid of one or two, or twelve or fourteen, boxes.

My wife had a similar upbringing. When we married, we agreed stuff would never be an issue. To us, clutter is a symptom, a sign of disease, and a storage-unit the sickness.

When I heard the s-word the other day, my stomach turned.

Genesis to Exit Us

The storage unit took two full truck loads to unload. Good Lord. 

Rummaging through, I opened a “childhood box” and found my old Sega Genesis. I smiled, remembering my ten-year-old self playing “Sonic.” I soon realized the cables, controllers, and games we’re all missing. In true hoarder fashion, I’ve been holding on to a useless Sega Genesis console for 16 years.

Why? Why would I hold on to this? I could’ve sold it for $20 ten years ago; the other day, I literally placed a $2 sticker on it.

The worst part? It didn’t even sell. I still have it!

Senti-MENTAL

We excuse ourselves by labeling “sentimental value” on junk that doesn’t matter. We then identify this junk as ourselves, equating it to a limb, and say, “How could I ever throw that away?”

Yes, some things worth holding onto—priceless, family heirlooms come to mind—but the Sega Genesis console, or the WWF flag from the toy wrestling ring, probably deserve a second look.

I spoke to my brother in-law the other day about this issue. Eventually, Buddhism and the act of “letting go of material possessions” came up. We also spoke of Jesus. To me, the principle of “letting go” seems just as Christian as it is Buddhist.

Jesus talked about living for each day, like the sparrows. He told people—not everybody, I know—to get rid of their stuff, to not worry. He spoke about having two cloaks and giving the other one away.

It’s time to come to terms.

It’s time to come clean.

It’s time to get rid of my ffuts.

God knows I’m no Saint, and I’ve got my own ffuts to work out, but…

Seriously, what’s up with all the cloaks, people? More importantly, does anyone want a Sega Genesis console? My price just went down.

picstitch

Your thoughts?

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11 comments

  1. Dude! Sonic on the Genesis?!? Awesome! That takes me back, too. I’m with you on trying to get rid of stuff. I’ve been on a quest of throwing stuff away, giving stuff away and selling stuff for awhile now, and with a houseful of kids…whew!

  2. I just got done reading a Tozer prayer and think it fits here: “Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting.” On another note…I would rock Sonic like I did when I was a kid! 😉

  3. One word. Flylady. She really GETS “stuff”, what it means, what it does to us. My study is my dad’s book room and I am quietly clearing things off the floor and onto shelves … But not throwing stuff away because it’s not mine, even though this is my house too! He still has doodled-on lecture notes from before I was born. He’s brought it with him when he’s moved house, at least twice. For God’s sake, why?!!?!

  4. currently have a double garage that its impossible to fit a car in, because its full of stuff… and my study/office is shrinking by the week as the stuff accumulates around me… but its all ‘important’, honestly.

    good thoughts as always, and a pleasure to read. Oh, and letting go of stuff is definitely just as much a Christian thing as a Buddhist thing, you tell your brother-in-law I said so.

  5. Last year, my wife recently moved her parents into what they hope will be their last home. While unpacking the box labeled “Freezer,” she ran across a Mason jar filled with a greenish-red goo. A piece of masking tape on the lid solved the mystery. “Raspberries, 1962.”

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