I had a few moments of zen between yesterday and today. The first thing is about Stuff. Yes, like George Carlin put it best;
George Carlin on Stuff
Actually this is just a place for my stuff, ya know? That’s all, a little place for my stuff. That’s all I want, that’s all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? I can see it on your table, everybody’s got a little place for their stuff. This is my stuff, that’s your stuff, that’ll be his stuff over there. That’s all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time.
A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you’re taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody’s got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you’re saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff!
Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore. Did you ever notice when you go to somebody else’s house, you never quite feel a hundred percent at home? You know why? No room for your stuff. Somebody else’s stuff is all over the goddamn place! And if you stay overnight, unexpectedly, they give you a little bedroom to sleep in. Bedroom they haven’t used in about eleven years. Someone died in it, eleven years ago. And they haven’t moved any of his stuff! Right next to the bed there’s usually a dresser or a bureau of some kind, and there’s NO ROOM for your stuff on it. Somebody else’s shit is on the dresser.
Have you noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff? God! And you say, “Get that shit offa there and let me put my stuff down!”
Sometimes you leave your house to go on vacation. And you gotta take some of your stuff with you. Gotta take about two big suitcases full of stuff, when you go on vacation. You gotta take a smaller version of your house. It’s the second version of your stuff. And you’re gonna fly all the way to Honolulu. Gonna go across the continent, across half an ocean to Honolulu. You get down to the hotel room in Honolulu and you open up your suitcase and you put away all your stuff. “Here’s a place here, put a little bit of stuff there, put some stuff here, put some stuff–you put your stuff there, I’ll put some stuff–here’s another place for stuff, look at this, I’ll put some stuff here…” And even though you’re far away from home, you start to get used to it, you start to feel okay, because after all, you do have some of your stuff with you. That’s when your friend calls up from Maui, and says, “Hey, why don’tchya come over to Maui for the weekend and spend a couple of nights over here.”
Oh, no! Now what do I pack? Right, you’ve gotta pack an even SMALLER version of your stuff. The third version of your house. Just enough stuff to take to Maui for a coupla days. You get over to Maui–I mean you’re really getting extended now, when you think about it. You got stuff ALL the way back on the mainland, you got stuff on another island, you got stuff on this island. I mean, supply lines are getting longer and harder to maintain. You get over to your friend’s house on Maui and he gives you a little place to sleep, a little bed right next to his windowsill or something. You put some of your stuff up there. You put your stuff up there. You got your Visine, you got your nail clippers, and you put everything up. It takes about an hour and a half, but after a while you finally feel okay, say, “All right, I got my nail clippers, I must be okay.” That’s when your friend says, “Aaaaay, I think tonight we’ll go over the other side of the island, visit a pal of mine and maybe stay over.”
Aww, no. NOW what do you pack? Right–you gotta pack an even SMALLER version of your stuff. The fourth version of your house. Only the stuff you know you’re gonna need. Money, keys, comb, wallet, lighter, hanky, pen, smokes, rubber and change. Well, only the stuff you HOPE you’re gonna need.
All material written and owned by George Carlin.
Or view it on you tube here:
Either way, that man was right. My zen about stuff has actually come about quite a few times over the past few years. But I have a hard time getting rid of stuff. I am what many may call a “Hoarder”. Or in my case, a “Compulsive Hoarder“. According to WikiPedia (Which in my opinion, is pretty reliable for it’s content and information) and also, for those of you who may be wondering; no, my situation has not been clinically diagnosed, it says;
Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding) is the acquisition of, and failure to use or discard, such a large number of seemingly useless possessions that it causes significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities such as mobility, cooking, cleaning, showering or sleeping.
It is not clear whether compulsive hoarding is a condition in itself, or simply a symptom of other related conditions. Several studies have reported a correlation between hoarding and the presence and / or severity of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Hoarding behaviour is also related to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). Hoarding rubbish may be referred to as syllogomania or disposophobia.
While there is no definition of compulsive hoarding in accepted diagnostic criteria (such as the current DSM), Frost and Hartl (1996) provide the following defining features:
- the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value.
- living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed
- significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding
- Reluctance or inability to return borrowed items. As boundaries blur, impulsive acquisitiveness could sometimes lead to kleptomania or stealing.
The hoarder may mistakingly believe that the hoarded items are very valuable, or the hoarder may know that they are useless. A hoarder of the first kind may show off a cutlery set claiming it to be made of silver and mother-of-pearl, disregarding the fact that the packaging clearly states the cutlery is made of steel and plastic. A hoarder of the second type may have a fridge filled with food items that expired months ago without ever eating them, but would vehemently resist any attempts from relatives to dispose of the unusable food items.
So, back to my point. Over the years I have collected clothes, baby stuff, furniture and so on. Many things should have been thrown away, but I never could bare to. I always have the “luck” of throwing something away and then needing it or finding out that someone needed that particular item. I think a very large part of it stems from when I was pregnant and didn’t work, and then had my children and became a stay at home mom. We were a family of two living on one income and then became a family of three and four, still on one income. So, to save money, I saved all the baby stuff for the next one, and then I thought we would have a few more. But we didn’t. And then I saved it for when my brothers and sisters had their own children. But one sister had her first child while my children were still using their stuff and then a brother who moved to a different state and my other sister didn’t even want it. So, here I was in this situation where we don’t have a need for baby stuff anymore. I tried to sell it on ebay, but quickly found that I didn’t really have the time to sit and check my email for questions every hour. And then I tried to sell it at a tag sale. A lot of it went, but also, a lot did not sell. I didn’t want to sell it at a tag sale price, I tried to sell it for what it was going for on eBay. And again, I was stuck with all that “stuff”.
I finally came to the zen or realization that the reason why I held onto all of this stuff was because I wanted to give it away to someone who really did need it or sell it. So, today my friend, Mel and I had a tag sale and I brought some of my “stuff” to the tag sale. Today, I sold my stuff for .10 cents each item, fill a shopping bag for $2.00 or fill a trash bag for $5.00. I even allowed bargaining. It was pretty fun, and for the most part, everyone was satisfied with the price. But then again, it all didn’t sell. I was for sure this was a way to get rid of it.
After cooking in the sun all day and finally no more people stopping, we decided to pack up. We weren’t sure if we were going to have it again tomorrow or not. So, we decided to play it by ear. (We both are Sagittarius‘s). Just before packing up, we decided that we would leave everything out, just the way it was during the tag sale and whatever made it by morning, we would sell. We even went on freecycle to let people know that the stuff was out there. And I left to go home and she left to go visit a “friend”.
I got half-way home when she called me to tell me that I should cover everything up because it was raining where she was and said the rain was moving my way. So I took by what she was saying that we are going to have it again tomorrow. So, I drove back to cover it up with the tarps that were on the ground for the stuff to lay on. Meaning that I had to pack up all the stuff, alone…and with my children’s help.
And that was when another “Zen Moment” happened again. I was questioning myself and asking myself “What am I doing!?!?” “I just wasted more gas to drive back to her house” “I should just leave it there and let people take it” “Whatever gets wrecked we can just throw it away” “There I go again, saving stuff” and most importantly, She knows I have a problem with saving stuff and rescuing stuff from being wrecked. She said that she would help me get rid of the stuff and then she calls me frantically to save the stuff.