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Friday, October 21, 2005

The General Stickiness of Stuff

Mountain Cerridwen (aka SallyCat) wrote a fine Crass Commericalism Rant today. That, and the post immediately below it on Sally’s blog, called to mind a conversation (i.e. yakking on AIM) about materialism (I’m in red here; he’s in blue)...
True. I don't know why I keep a bunch of CDs with outdated software on them, even with a dialup, but there you are....

Yeah, totally. I probably have discs that have the cutting-edge IE and Netscape 3's. Why keep them? I don't know but I do. Nostalgia for the good old days when it was exciting to rip open the magazine plastic and see what's on the CD, read the Mac Addict letters to the edit, etc.

I don't really care anymore but can't let go of it.

Seriously, I think sometimes it's easier to just leave stuff behind than take it with you.

If I had a mind to, I could clear out of my house with all the possessions I *really* wanted to have in about an hour.

Well, you know what would be easy is to pick out the things you want, like that. It'd be easier than making a conscious decision to throw something else out. Grab your computer, some clothes, some things from a file cabinet, maybe a photo album or two, and burn the house down.
Over the top, sure, but it’s too true. It’s easy enough to identify the possessions that are really important (beyond family, of course) — but having identified those things that are important, why is it so hard to let go of the other stuff?

I suppose part of it involves ego — the “he who dies with the most toys wins” mentality, or maybe it’s “I paid good money for that crap, I need to get something back out of it.” The latter, at least, could be dealt with by throwing a yard sale. The problem with yard sales, though, is you have to drag all that stuff out there and then drag all the unsold stuff back in at the end of the day.

A friend of mine told me about how she cruised yard sales, bought designer clothes, then sold them on eBay for a tidy profit. eBay would work for what would be high-end stuff in a yard sale, but the cheapo paperbacks & workaday clothes would wind up with shipping charges 2x-4x more than the price of the stuff.

One thing I’ve managed to do on occasion is to bundle up a big ol’ pile of stuff and take it to the local thrift store. I get a receipt I can use at tax time, and some extra space; they get more stuff to sell cheap to people who can’t afford to shop anywhere else, and those people get more choices. Everybody wins.

I have an alarming number of PowerMacs in the outbuilding. Fortunately, I have a home for one; a friend of The Boy needs a computer and knows his way around MacOS. That leaves several other Macs to give away or sell. Plus a bunch of other crap.


  1. Wow - thanks for the link and praise!

    The computer stuff...egads....I don't want to think about what the spouse has in his corner of the office. There is a binder where he keeps cd's of software programs...and there is a layer of dust on the binder. Nope, not touching that one, no way!

    Off to some more early am coffee here on the left coast.

  2. ARGH! I decided to delete my literary blog today, but I accidentally deleted my political blog! Well, I just deleted the literary blog anyway, but I don't have a political blog. Dangit! Anyway, I should be making a new one soon. Just check my profile in your comments every so often to see if I have a new one. Sorry to jam your site, but it is just what happened.

  3. Thanks, guys.

    Sally, I'm told the definition of "junk" is "stuff you save for years and then throw out just before you need it." I'm probably going to put some of those old CDs to work; that old software should work well with those old Macs.

    Austin, I was going to ask you what happened to your blog... just jam in when you get a new one up.

  4. I've been lucky in that I've moved every 3 - 5 years or so, so I make a point of 'purging' when I do. I really loathe having extra 'crap' around...

    Of course, my mother likes to give lil trinkets and such junk around the holidays, even though she knows I do not like them. I hate that...

    Then again, do I still have that big huge container of love letters and paintings and pictures from my first true love? Of course...

    (Actually, he did my current profile pic here, I just realized during 'preview'.)


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