Five tips for interacting with the stuff you own

300,000!!!!  Do you have 300,000 objects in your home? From paper clips to ironing boards, that’s the average American home’s quantity of “stuff.”  Yikes. Where did it all come from?

If you’re just starting out, you likely don’t have 300,000 objects, but it only takes packing for a move to realize how quickly we accumulate.

We have stuff because we need stuff. We need a place to live, a bed to sleep in, clothes and shoes to wear. And so we find ourselves in a complicated relationship with things.

Our stuff can bring us convenience, comfort, or even the warm feeling of happy memories. But a thing is still a thing. Some of our things have value because we have worked our tails off to obtain them, or they hold sentimental value. The value our stuff holds is what we assign to it. We decide if it is valuable, or not.

One of the best things we can do is decide we are not owners, but rather stewards of everything. We are charged with taking care of our world and everything in it. All the stuff – will eventually be worth nothing. So share. Be generous. It’s just stuff for Pete’s sake. It’s on loan to us while we live on this green earth.

Here are a few things to think about:

1 - Be grateful for your earthly goods, and then, release them. To God. To the universe. To your inner peace. Things will never make you happy.

2 - Ask yourself: Do I own my stuff or does my stuff own me? If I am the master and the thing is my servant, then all is right with the world. If my thing is my master and I find myself becoming the servant, then it has lost its proper place.

3 - If you are asked to lend something – think first to be generous.

4 - Don’t loan something you aren’t willing to give. If you “loan” someone $10 – tell them you will give it. And if they want to pay you back, that’s fine. But not expected.

5 - Don’t loan things that, if lost or broken, it will damage the relationship. If you have a belonging that you feel that strongly about, don’t loan it.

A friend of mine sold nearly everything, and moved into a houseboat. Space was premium so anything that was not of actual use had to be stored in one small box. I’m not sure I could do that, could you?

What’s your relationship with your stuff?

Love it?

Hate it?

Use it?

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