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Do you own your things, or do they own you?

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    Do you own your things, or do they own you?

    I'm in one of my decluttering whirlwinds and I'm absolutely amazed at all the crap I'm finding and wondering why I ever bought it. I can firmly say that despite my best intentions, things still own me

    Thankfully when my wife and I got married, we were very poor. (yes, I am happy about this!)

    We lived off of nothing and bought absolutely nothing that wasn't neccessary. (We were even able to pay off a large CC bill during this $1200 a month time. Woot!) When we started making some decent money, we carried over our ways of not buying crap. We have started to buy more stuff as of late, but definitely no where near any of our neighbors.

    I'd say we still own our things, not the other way around.


      Sadly, my things own me! Sometimes when I start to clean I don't even know where to start! Also, throwing stuff out stresses me, because I think of the money i'm throwing out! I remember how much money I spent on an item and so I end of keeping it because I feel i'm thowing my money away! It's a sad but true reality for me and i'm working on this issue! I also get emotionally attached to thinks and have a hard time throwing them out or giving them away!


        What is meant by being owned by one's things?
        "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

        "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass


          I own my stuff. The last time I tried to purge stuff, I realized there was nothing left to declutter. I still grumble if I need to buy things because I managed to wear out an item (which happens quite often).


            I think I am midway between too uch stuff and a 'proper' (to me simple life.

            I like some gadgets (air popcorn maker) and my teaching habits keep other around (yes I do need duuplos AND legos)

            the rest of the junk is my husbands however...acquiring the junk cheap is no excuse for having a ton of junk IMO....


              What is meant by being owned by one's things?

              To me, it means that I work for the stuff and not the other way around. It means more years of working to pay for all that stuff. It means clutter and buying a bigger home, storage unit, etc because you don't know where to put it all. It means seeing it in your basement and wondering why you ever spent "good money" on it in the first place.
              I definately buy too much stuff. I still do though I believe I am getting better. But, it saddens me to see all the junk I bought over the years and realize it is money down the drain!


                I owned my things, then my mom died and left me with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of antiques, collectibles, jewlery and high end furniture.
                Suddenly its "we need renters insurance" "how do you clean a brass swarvior anyways?" "And do not let that dog climb up on that table!"

                And now that we are house hunting- We need at least 2000sqft to hold it all (though it will be VERY tight), and must be in a good neighborhood.

                I am not afraid of walking down dark streets at night myself, but have a huge fear of leaving my place vulnerable to break ins when we go on vacation.
                Its terrible. I wish I never got all this stuff.


                  Gamecock: Just sell it, girl! You won't be selling your love for or memory of your mom, it's just stuff even if it's valuable stuff.

                  I'm slowly gaining ownership over my stuff, by getting rid of a lot of it, by only buying things with real money (not credit), and by knowing there's not one thing in my house that I'd cry over if I had to sell it. I like my stuff, but it doesn't have that kind of power over me anymore.

                  I'd miss the view from my balcony if I had to move, and I love my location, but that's the closest I come to my stuff owning me.


                    I know...I am selling it slowly. I sold about 50% of the stuff immediaely and have alot of regrets. Now to avoid the regrets I am getting rid of things slowly.


                      We had a break-in about 10 yr ago and although we had replacement insurance, DH and I only replaced about 1/2 of what was lost... items we used and loved. We had held on to many things for sentimental reasons or 'spent good money' on things that didn't meet our expectations.

                      We feel liberated to re-gift, sell, consign or donate stuff we haven't used in the past 12 months. Most of our spending follows the 'new item in - old item out program. July was a big spend month as so many things are just worn out and were tossed even before a replacement was sought.

                      I've made up a list of when things routinely go on-sale and would like to replace using that calendar. 'Back-to-school' supplies are in the stores so I am making a list to replenish office supplies. DS1 needs to replace his rickety bookcase so we're watching Craig's list. Gas is too expensive to run around checking yard sales.


                        I always try to keep my clutter & possessions down to a minimum. I want to live light, travel light, and stay liquid.

                        So whenever I no longer need an item..

                        1) I'll first try to sell it on ebay, amazon, craigslist, or an ebay dropoff store.

                        2) If I can't sell it for cash, I'll try to donate it to for a tax deduction.

                        3) If I can't sell it or donate it, then I'll drop it off at a recycling center, or leave it on the curb (usually some random person will take it).

                        The way I look at it, keeping physical items costs money (I live in Manhattan, and every square inch of space is valuable). Plus, if I sell the item for cash, that cash can be invested, which will grow. But if I keep the item, the item will depreciate in value every day.
                        Last edited by normaldude; 08-04-2008, 11:38 PM.


                          owned my things, then my mom died and left me with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of antiques, collectibles, jewlery and high end furniture.
                          Have you considered calling an auctioneer? That is a good place to sell antiques. They usually charge a commission of about 30% i believe. And, really what are you going to do with a brass swarvior anyway? My mom has a lot of antiques and she used to talk about how good all this stuff will look in "my house". ANd, I think she bought several pieces with my house in mind. Finally, I had to tell her that antiques were here "thing" but they aren't mine and while I appreciate the thought, I have no plans to house all that stuff for the rest of my life and that she should only buy stuff with herself in mind and buy what she likes and enjoys not what she thinks I would like.


                            I'd like to think I own my things.

                            I think we do well enough. I am not very attached to many material things personally. We are getting better at purging, though we have a long ways to go as far as crap we accumulated in our teens and 20s. I feel one day we will be rid of it. & we are much better about not buying things unless we purge.

                            (The kids are noticing, they now ask if we can sell their toys so we can buy new ones. So I am glad it is rubbing off on them. )

                            I am also with Blue LEader. Having lived on very little I am used to being a pretty discerning shopper. I rarely buy things I don't need or that aren't functional. I get annoyed when my Christmas gifts are piles of useless items. But even so I had my share of knick knacks I would accumulate. One day around age 25 I thought, "I don't have room for one more knick knack." So from that day I mostly got rid of them all, and if I find something I have to have (once every few years?), yeah, something old has to go. It is amazing how fast it accumulates otherwise.
                            Last edited by MonkeyMama; 08-05-2008, 05:40 AM.


                              I would say that I now finally own things. After moving 5 years ago to our house, my DH and I decided that we would only have stuff "in storage" in one little unfinished room in our basement. Once we had 2 kids, we needed move all of our extras that found there way into our guest/extra bedroom into the basement. Well, I already had tons of things from our wedding, college, etc lying around taking up space. After going through it and making a massive donation to Goodwill and the Vietnam Vets I bought two storage shelves and am happy to say (minus baby clothes) even these 2 shelves are not full. The little we have on there is mostly seasonal outdoor stuff (that we still use) and a couple of boxes of yearbooks/high school stuff from when we were younger, and Christmas decorations. It helps having a finished basement too. There's not as much room to simple dump the stuff and forget about it because there is simply no room.

                              We usually have at least 1 charity call us every month saying they are coming around the neighborhood with a truck and we can leave donations by our door. This has help us out too. It's nice not having to load everything and take it somewhere. Before charities started coming around I was just to busy or simply lazy to take it someplace.