Too Much Stuff

The area where I live is constantly under construction because it’s highly sought after. We still have relatively low taxes and house prices compared to a lot of other up-and-coming American cities.

Most of the time, construction is annoying, ugly, and loud. Sometimes it’s exciting, like when a store comes in that I will actually go to. But lately, it seems like giant storage units keep getting built. The nice ones where you can keep your stuff in a climate-controlled environment, like Ample Storage or CubeSmart.

I understand the point of storage units as a temporary solution when you are moving or dealing with the possessions of a relative who passed away. However, on the whole, I have always hated storage units because to me, they mean that you have too much stuff and instead of paying to store it when you most likely won’t look at it again, you really should sell it or donate it or throw it away.

One of the few TV shows I like is Storage Wars, in which a group of crazy people bid on abandoned storage units in the hopes that they will find treasure that they can sell and make a higher profit than the other crazy people who also bid on storage units.

Although it is a lot of fun to watch these crazy people find cool and rare stuff in the storage units, the show also makes me depressed because the original owners of the storage units had so much stuff that they actually had to pay to keep it somewhere. Much of it is mundane, like clothes and sports equipment and children’s toys—stuff that probably could have been gotten rid of rather than confined to a storage unit.

Storage units also remind me of my grandma, who put a lot of her stuff in storage because the places she lived didn’t have space for it. I remember the depressing times that were spent going to the storage unit (not one of the high-end ones) and sorting through all of her things, which were mostly costume jewelry and clothes that had gone out of fashion a long time ago.

My grandma was born before the Great Depression hit, and because she was a child of that era, she probably wanted to keep everything in case something happened to the stock market again. But as she got older, the stuff presented a burden. It exhausted her (and probably made her feel sad) to go through it and relive the memories attached to it.

Being there as my grandma went through her things made me resolve to never acquire so many items that I would have to store them outside of my house. I don’t often buy “things” for me or “decorations” for my home because when I walk into a retail store, I imagine most of the stuff in there 10 or 20 years from now, sitting in someone’s garage or storage unit, abandoned and forgotten.

Also, I don’t see the point of buying new household items and decorations when I am set to inherit much of my mother’s (and probably mother-in-law’s) things when they eventually downsize. My mother always reminds me, “You’ll have all this stuff when I’m dead.” I keep remembering my grandma sitting amid her pile of stuff at the storage unit, exhausted and depressed, and honestly, I just feel bad.

As the old saying goes, “The more you own, the more it owns you.” “Stuff” can enhance your life, but I feel like most of the time, we would do well to think twice about what we buy and whether we really need it, or if it will just end up sitting abandoned in a storage unit or garage for many years.

3 thoughts on “Too Much Stuff

  1. Maggie, I stopped blogging shortly after you were wed but I continued to read your blog and a handful of others. I’ve not commented and for that I’m sorry. I did want to say that in addition to extending my kudos to you on your blogs, many of which deserved comment, I am excited beyond words for the coming birth of your child! I’m very happy for you, and yes…shared many of the same fears, misgivings and trepidations you have so recently expressed. I offer you know cookie-cutter reply in that it will all work out and you’ll be great and it’s all wonderful and yada, yada, yada….

    ….but it will.
    ….you will be.
    ….and it is.


  2. I am definitely a collector of too much stuff. My mother, near the end of her life, was pretty good about getting rid of a lot of her stuff — mostly because of her experience a couple of decades earlier in getting rid of all my father’s stuff after his death.

    I think George Carlin nailed it pretty well:


  3. I know too well how a temporary storage overflow becomes habit. I bought some essentials to live on my own for six months, then had to consolidate when I moved back in with family. We got the smallest storage unit and stowed the miscellaneous “stuff” thinking to sort it out later. Now it’s been years, and I still can’t part with anything. The cost is a drain, too, yet so much easier to pay and ignore the problem.


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