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BellaOnline's Midlife Editor

The Problem with 'Stuff'

I know that somewhere there is a list that contains something like ten of the most stressful experiences that a person can go through in their life; among them, death of a loved one; divorce, job loss - and, as far as I'm concerned, moving has to be on that list - I can vouch for that. Listen, I lived in my home on Long Island for thirty years - and now I know why. Since selling my home, I have moved several times in only two years.

I do miss New York, but I'm not going back. As my friend (formerly from New York) said to me - there is no place like New York. Even in this poor economy, New York is still the land of milk and honey, as far as job opportunities go. The energy in New York is exhilarating, palpable and contagious and I do miss that energy. But, that's another article. The stuff I speak of now is - just that -- "stuff". What to do with all the stuff one accumulates in the course of over thirty years. Once you move you have to a) sort through it; b) decide what gets tossed and what stays; and c) decide what you are doing with the stuff that stays (or, I should say - goes) with you wherever you are relocating to.

Now, I have been schlepping stuff around with me - and some I have put in storage in New York. I am once again settling into a new home now - I still have boxes of 'stuff' that I have to sort through that I tentatively dumped in the 2 car garage. There is also some rule of thumb that says if you haven't used something for at least six months, then toss it - because you do not need it. Why is it that people have such a hard time parting with all their stuff? I think it's a psychological "security blanket".

I know people who have stored almost all their worldly possessions in a storage facility - and that was maybe three or four years ago. Now, if they did not rent a heated room, then probably half of that stuff is no longer salvageable. And, what about all the money that was spent storing these items? we are talking about sizeable money here. I know a woman who put all her furniture in storage so she could move in with her daughter who was in the middle of a divorce in order to give her a helping hand with the children. That was at least five years ago. You do the math. Most likely the five years she has been paying to store her furniture adds up to a small fortune - and when you do the math you realize all new furniture could have been bought with that money. The (used) stored furniture isn't worth much at this point. Mucho money is being spent on "stuff" - "stuff" that we rarely ever lay our eyes on again - unless it is to either have a garage sale, which is a good thing - or to toss it in the trash! Surely there is another solution to our dilemna...

I truly envy the people who can make an immediate and efficient decision on whether to toss or keep, thus eliminating the need to sort through tons of clutter at a later date. Although they are probably obsessive compulsive - that sounds more appealing to me than say, having to organize four weekends of garage sales to get rid of the built-up, usually useless clutter.

If you have any input that you would like to share with us on this topic, please feel free to email me at the Midlife website. I would enjoy hearing how you solved your own clutter problem(s).

Of course, being a pack rat in the first place doesn't help one, does it?!

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