Friday, September 24, 2010

fighting accumulation

images form professional collector Lisa Congdon's Collection A Day project

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about stuff, as in things. I have a lot of stuff. Some of it is useful and necessary. For example cutlery, bowls, stationery, cushions, a sofa, a washing machine.

But I also have a lot of non-essentials that I've accumulated over the years: books, cds, more books, more cds. And a whole lot of things that "just caught my eye" and I thought, that would be nice on a shelf somewhere (hello ceramic owl collection).

Then there are those things that are hard to throw out - old instruction books, electronic equipment, cords, files and documents that "might come in handy one day"...

There's also a whole heap of things kept for sentimental value: cards, letters, tickets shoved in boxes under my bed that I never look at.

Sometimes, I wonder why I have all this stuff. Especially when I think about having to transport it all elsewhere at some point. Moving is such a nightmare.

There is something quite instinctual about accumulation, something comforting about having things. We use them to reflect our identity, to make our space our own. But they all too easily come to define us, and become the yardstick for our personal sense of security.

In reality, my stuff weighs me down, tricks me into thinking I'm secure in this world, when really all withers and fades, rusts and spoils.

I have fantasies of getting rid of everything, save for maybe my bed, a handful of books and a chair for guests. This will never happen, but maybe my intial goal for the next three months should be to not accumulate anything; to not buy anything unnecessary.

I started by not buying either of the most recent books listed for my course at uni. I just borrowed them from the library instead. That was easy. But it's funny how easy it is too look at my classmates' shiny copies popped on their desks and think I ought to buy one, that I'm the odd one out.


Thora and Dean said...

um yes. fight with all your might! although, should you ever move, it is much easier to chuck stuff out when you have to face packing it into boxes...

sophg said...

mmm boxes. How quickly we forget though, and treat every arrival as if we'll never move again and get busy accumulating!