Whenever I visit my mum, I always have something like a little panic attack when I look around her house. It’s crammed to the rafters with stuff. My dad was a natural born thrower-outer and never held on to anything unless he was absolutely sure he would be using it in the next week or so. My mum is exactly the opposite. Nothing has been thrown away since my dad died 25 years ago.
I’m not even kidding. I wish I was. Because I roam around her home and start worrying about the day she dies or has to move. And I reckon it’s going to take me about 5 years to clear out the place.
Whenever I visit I try, slying, to suggest I “help her have a little clear-out” Then she narrows her eyes and accuses me of wanting to throw out all her stuff just like my dad used to do.
I’d say at least 60% of her home is just for storage. Maybe more. I would also say that from what I’ve seen, a lot of people live in homes that are largely occupied by stuff, rather than people.
I’ve mentioned before that the average home these days is double, if not triple the size it was 50 years ago. Yet our families are smaller.
People buy bigger and bigger houses because they need all the space for their stuff. They need 3-car garages, not for their cars, but to store stuff. The basements are crammed full of stuff. The spare rooms are impenetrable. (Overnight visitors are put up in nearby hotels.) Stuff is jam-packed in the voluminous closets, cupboards and storage areas. And then there’s all the stuff that occupies the actual “living areas”.
The people who pay through the nose for these big houses have to shuffle around in narrow gaps between their stuff. They try not to spend too much time at home because it’s not very comfortable.
There’s too much stuff in the kitchen to be able to cook properly, so they go to restaurants. There’s no room to entertain properly and the place always looks messy, so you go out to meet friends. The kids can’t do their homework properly because their rooms have too many distractions. You have to keep buying more stuff because the stuff you already have is too deeply buried under other stuff for you to find anything. You’re not even sure if you have pets anymore.
How crazy are we to carry a huge mortgage and to keep maintaining a giant house just so we have a place for our stuff? Why don’t we just get a nice small home and get rid of all this stuff?
Or, if we must maintain a long-term relationship with our stuff, why not get our stuff a real home of its own in a nice, climate controlled (and much cheaper) self-storage facility? Then you you can go and visit your stuff when you really, really want to see it instead of living with it day in and day out, tripping over it, resenting its intrusion in your life and causing no end of damage to the relationship you have with your stuff?