One woman has her attic packed so tightly that she wonders if someday she’ll come home to find all that
shit stuff on her living room floor. Another swears that the cabinets in her kitchen are holding her favorite cookware hostage. She won’t let her daughter open the coat closet for fear that the landslide of this-is-so-handies, here-for-nows, assorted-what-nots, and i-remember-whens might flatten her only child. Meanwhile, another swears she’ll dispatch a SWAT team to rub me out if I ever show anyone the pictures she took of her house this morning and emailed to prove that she has clutter.
We are living beyond our means. Yes, I said beyond our means, just like the federal government (in America, at least), spending more than we have to spend. Only instead of money, we’re overspending our space. I once believed that I needed space to hold my stuff, that if I had more stuff than would fit in my space, I could get more space. It meant a bigger places, more closets, more cabinets, more storage, and if that couldn’t be attained… the whole off-site storage industry popped up to reinforce that it’s not just normal but often necessary to possess more than our space will hold.
I since learned that my space is for living my life, not just storing my stuff, and all that stuff was keeping me from actually living in my space. I spent so much time managing that stuff that I wasn’t managing my actual life. Yesterday, a friend said, “There’s so much stuff in this space, I don’t have room to have a party or paint with my kids or dance. … There’s no room for us to play!”
Instead of playing, we’ve been played. That thing we were doing all this time wasn’t playing or living or loving or healing at all. They call it shopping, and beyond the basics, it’s essentially a mind-numbing waste of precious resources (think time, money, energy, attention, and perhaps most importantly in this conversation, space). Shopping is mind-numbing, which we attempt to use to distract ourselves from the realities of fear, pressure, unmet needs, and whatever else ails us. But, look around. Is it working as well as you hoped?
I bet the manufacturers, retailers, marketers, and advertisers of the world released a massive, collective sigh of relief on the day that whole off-site storage thing took off. Our houses were full to the brim and the banks wouldn’t let us buy bigger houses because we’d shopped all of our money and credit away. It looked as if the shopping spree may actually finally be coming to an end but thank goodness they came to the rescue. Now, we just outsource our stuff, instead of actually dealing with it.
We make room in our kitchen by moving not-so-regularly-used kitchen stuff to shelves (or not) in the garage, space that became available when we took the not-so-regularly-used garage stuff down the street to Pay Us To Babysit The Shit You Don’t Need Anymore, LLC, or whatever that place is called.
Next: Lots of you are Sick of Being Stuck…