Collections of stuff

I am moving house, this means I am sorting through my stuff. Today I have been in a ruthless mood, picking off item of clothing one by one and sending them off to charity. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be feeling sentimental, ascribing various memories to different pieces of crap and coming up with any number of reasons why I should definitely hold onto it. Most of us, I think, have too much stuff and if you live away from home for any amount of time with a limit to the amount of stuff you can have with you, you soon realise how little stuff a person actually needs.

With limited storage becoming an issue for many, especially in places like Brighton where the tiniest cages come at sky high prices, cutting down on the amount of stuff we own seems a very wise thing to do. A clutter free life is desirable, it’s calm, clear and tranquil – like the (idealised) sea. Actually getting rid of all the clutter is another thing altogether. Clothes are fine if you’re in the right mood. All the other junk that we accumulate not so fine, as these are the ones that tend to hold emotional significance.

‘What’s a silly collection of cinema stubs and theatre tickets?’ we might ask ourselves, logically explaining the act of throwing them away by highlighting the ridiculousness of giving any level of high emotional significance to a piece of paper. We put them in the bin – pause – and scrabble around in the bin until every last one has been rescued. What if we one day lost our memory and this collection of stuff was all we had to help us piece our lives back together again? The stuff we own tends to not just be worthless crap but remnants of our minds, our memories, our lives spilling out into the world around us. Of course you do have to learn to identify this kind of stuff from the worthless crap stuff – and there is a difference.

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