One month ago, a wildfire lapped at my friend's door. She was asked to evacuate - on two separate occasions. Even though she had plenty of time, my friend filled only two paper grocery bags and left. Only TWO!
She has lived in that house with her husband and two school aged kids for over 10 years. Out of all the things they had accumulated in that time, only a handful were worth saving.
How many of us would have filled more bags? When it comes down to it, I'd guess that most of us would have left most of our stuff behind as well.
Yet, modern life seems to be centered around stuff.
Yearning for it. Saving to buy it. Splurging on It. Using it. Cleaning it. Maintaining it. Tiring of it. Getting rid of it.
I can get a grip on my own things but what about the children? Every trip to the doctor or dentist involves a toy or two for the kids. Every outing with the grandparents ends with some non-consumable goodie or other. Outings to major league sports games culminate with free door prizes of bobble heads, crazy hats or "rally rags." Every minor holiday or fair yields an endless amount of pencils, erasers, plastic rings and parachute men. Class parties, season end sport's parties, birthday parties all involve more stuff. And let us not forget birthdays, Christmas and Hanukah, Halloween and Easter.
Until we are drowning in stuff. Literally. The photo below is my son's room.
My question - when faced with a situation like my friend's - is this?
Is all this stuff worth the havoc we wreak on the environment to produce it? (Check out Story of Stuff for the price our forests and oceans pay for parachute men and bobble heads).
Is this stuff worth the money we earn and save to buy it?
Is this stuff worth the effort to clean it, move it, maintain it, and eventually get rid of it?
For me, the answer is a resounding NO! For me, there is just too much stuff.
What have you done to reduce the amount of "stuff" in your life? Declutter? Put a moratorium on new items? Move to experiences rather than materials? How have you encouraged family and community members to get on board?