Friday, January 30, 2015

Simple Suggestion # 225... Avoid "stuffocation"...

I wish I could take credit for inventing the term, "stuffocation," but I can't. A fellow named James Wallman seems to have come up with the term to describe the fact that the lives of many people in the developed world are so full of stuff that we're running out of room, mental health, and general well-being in our lives. He's written an excellent article about it that you can access by clicking here, and a book too.

I've been thinking about this suggestion all week, not just because of the article, but because of the outdoor Christmas ornament phenomenon. Have you noticed it? On my long walk with Shadow this morning, I passed at least a half dozen homes where the homeowners hung over-sized, metallic Christmas baubles in the trees and bushes outside their homes. Sure, it looked nice, but the problem is that all that stuff has to be stored somewhere for the 40-some weeks of the year they aren't using it, and... someday, it will probably end up in the landfill. Is it really necessary?

And, is it necessary that "nine out of ten [homes have] so many things that they [keep]household stuff in the garage" to the point that there's no room for the car?! (See article link above.) Something is definitely wrong with this picture.

There are all sorts of ways to avoid stuffocation:

1. Only buy what's needed.
2. Ignore trends.
3. Use things until they are no longer usable.
4. Collect experiences and memories, not things.
5. If there's no room in the house, closet, cupboard, dresser drawer, etc., give stuff away.
6. Don't replace stuff given away with more stuff.
7. Share things with others who can use them.
8. Have just enough, rather than multiple items.
9. Buy long-lasting quality rather than cheap and breakable when something must be bought.
10. Avoid temptation in the form of "Buy one, get one free."
11. Buy things with a mind to use/keep them forever. Think of them as a long-term commitment.
12. Reuse, reuse, reuse... and there are probably dozens more, but that's enough words.

And if all else fails, here's a little song to get stuck in your head for when the temptation toward stuff becomes too strong. I have to put it out there every so often, or it's sitting uselessly on the YouTube sidelines instead of helping to save the planet and our sanity. It always amazes me how much of a chord it strikes in first time hearers.


If your new year's resolution was to clear the clutter and get a new lease on the space in your life, I'm backing you all the way. Avoiding stuffocation requires some effort and maybe even a shift in consciousness, but hey, it's worth it! Now, I think I'll go empty some drawers...

Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Click here.

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