I just watched “The Story of Stuff” – if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you spend the 20 minutes and watch:
It made me think about my own story of stuff:
Every time we move from one country to the next, we ship our belongings. This time around we had enough to fill an entire 20 foot container – about 3,500 pounds worth of stuff.
Sometimes, I have to admit, I feel a little embarrassed that I have so much stuff. But, deep down, I know that it’s all my stuff that makes me feel at home in a new country. Most of the stuff we have is from our first move to Munich, Germany, when I didn’t know “the ropes” of living abroad and we sold everything we had in the US and bought it all new again in Munich.
Thankfully, eight years later, I have learned a thing or two… Now, I use the school’s, often very generous, shipping allowances to send my stuff from country to country. I usually end up buying some things again and again, like cleaning supplies or small storage items. But one thing I don’t do is sell (or give away) my stuff when I leave. I’d rather invest in a good-quality item that I will have for many years, than continue to buy crap only to throw it away.
Yes, my colleagues often look at me with amazement when I share that all of this stuff doesn’t really include furniture. We’ve lived in furnished apartments for so long that I usually don’t bring much of my own (well, except a bed – I don’t like the idea of sleeping in someone else’s bed). So this stuff really is just that, stuff. Books, DVDs, kitchen-ware, clothes, shoes, travel purchases, technological equipment, etc.
However, despite my astonishing accumulation of stuff while moving internationally every few years, I am actually proud of the fact that I buy things and retain them for many years. I don’t waste money on frivolous junk just to have it. I usually buy things I know I will like for a long time so I won’t feel the urge to buy something “better” as soon as it comes along. To be honest, it’s not the best I can do, but it’s better than nothing…
What’s your story of stuff?