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Unpacking my life, and my relationship to stuff…

June 26, 2011

The unpacking continues. It is a tedious impediment to getting on with the things I really want to do, and I am completely and utterly sick of it, (yes, this is partly avoidance blogging). But I can also see that this unpacking serves a reflective purpose. Unpacking and rearranging my worldly goods is forcing me to focus on what I want my life to be, and what things I really want to have.

I’ve know for a long time that the things I want most are intangibles: love and friendship, a sense of belonging and community, a sense of usefulness, and the time and space to pursue my creative dreams. This packing and unpacking business has made me realise that the way I live my life is not in line with my values. I am addicted to stuff. I am a stuffaholic.

Sure, I’m not generally a big spender, (many of my acquisitions are sourced secondhand from op-shops), but I’m still very focused on material things. I love scouring op-shops in hope of finding a bargain. And sometimes I fixate on objects that I decide I “need”, and which I somehow think will improve my life. Right now, for example, I am convinced that we should buy another bookcase. I might even thoughtlessly say we “need” another bookcase. But we don’t need another bookcase. We would like another bookcase so that we can house all of our books without getting rid of many – but that isn’t need. And while buying one new bookcase is not particularly extravagant, and will serve a useful purpose, I also want to be honest with myself about the nature of the purchase. I will buy it because I want it, not because I need it. It will be nice to have all of our books neatly stored and arranged, but it will not make my life and world complete. Most of all, it will not bring me the fulfillment which comes from contributing positively to the world, or even from catching up with people about whom I care.

So, I am trying to change my relationship to stuff. As I unpack various deadweight objects and move them directly to my “get rid of” pile, I am promising myself that I will find more time and energy for the intangible things I really value, and devote less time and longing to mere objects. I hope to make my future choices in life more carefully. Yes, I will buy stuff. But, I will try to go for quality over quantity. And while I will sometimes buy things that I don’t truly “need”, I will at least try to be self-aware enough to realise it.

And perhaps even more importantly, I will try to incorporate into my life a whole lot more of the intangible “stuff” that I purport to really care about. The stuff that really matters, but which I too often don’t get to. How come I always find time for shopping, but so often don’t find time to catch up with friends? Hmm, time for some changes.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2011 5:02 am

    I am spent my day unpacking after moving into a new apartment that feels like home, but it’s absolute mess with closed or half full boxes around :). I know exactly what you are talking about :)…. trying to do the same, but sometimes is so difficult to throw away certain things…

    • Julia Marshall permalink*
      June 27, 2011 1:25 pm

      Well I certainly haven’t thrown away everything! It is more a case of trying to streamline things, to get rid of things I’m keeping just in case I need them one day, or because I quite like them, or because they were gifts, or because I used to really like them, or once paid a decent amount for them, even though I don’t use/like the thing anymore…

    • Julia Marshall permalink*
      June 27, 2011 1:35 pm

      And I hope you are all settled into your new apartment soon.

  2. July 9, 2011 11:31 pm

    So glad to hear you have found a nice house to move to! I know what you mead about the boxes/sorting/stuff – I feel like I spent all January sifting and sorting our spare room/study, then we bought the boys a new bed and rearranged their room, and all the extra stuff to be sorted ended up in the study! I have all these sewing projects I want to do, but feel guilty about not sorting the other stuff out, but at the same time I HATE going in there and spending hours and hours of my precious “free” time just sorting stuff. It is sooo bloody boring! I think I really need to get back to craft group and get my crafting mojo back! Hope to see you there again too Julia!

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