Posts Tagged ‘Stuff’

(The Story of) Stuff

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Got 20 minutes? Okay, good, go watch The Story of Stuff. Come on, you’re either avoiding doing something you should actually do or screwing around. You won’t spend those 20 minutes doing anything that’s really a better use of your time.

I’ve always had a lot of stuff. I may even be guilty of being kind of a (shhhhh) pack rat. I’m not sure which side of the family that originates on, but I have my guesses…

Recently, at 23 years old and one year and some change into a cross country move, I’ve found myself looking around my apartment and wondering where all this stuff came from. I mean, let’s be honest. When I moved here it was in my Honda Civic, accompanied by two friends, camping gear, their stuff, and well… whatever space was left contained my stuff. Mostly clothing, I think. I remember unpacking the day I moved in to our apartment. I didn’t have any furniture yet, and the objects more or less amounted to some framed pictures and LPs from Goodwill in Kalamazoo (a spring break 2006 project by my roommate and myself) and a few books and CDs I cart around everywhere with me. I pulled them out of my backpack (one of only three or four bags) and spread them around the room on the floor, leaning against the wall so it looked a little less weird and empty. In the spirit of full disclosure, I did have my mom send a few boxes of things once I moved in, but it just wasn’t that much (was it mom?). We got our furniture for under $100 thanks to a friend, local thrift stores, and the wonderful (and dry) streets of Berkeley.

I’m trying to figure out why I have all of this stuff and what I’m going to do with it. That’s why I find The Story of Stuff so interesting. I’m questioning where it all comes from and why I keep it in the first place. This film puts into perspective the fact that I really am asking valid questions, whatever made me think about it in the first place.

When it comes to stuff, I think my biggest downfalls are books, CDs, and innumerable little papers that come from this or that inane event. The most irritating stuff is related to electronic devices. So many objects that all require different chargers and hundreds of little cords. And of course every item comes packaged with every cord, even though I usually only need one of them. That and the stuff that “might come in handy some day.”

So, New Year’s resolutions? I think my first one is learning to acquire and retain less stuff, and to cycle on the stuff I don’t want consciously and responsibly.