Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Too Much Stuff

When Gary and I drove to town yesterday to drop off the Camry for repairs, we noticed a new little shop. It sells jet-skis. It's across the road from a store that sells pontoons and ski boats. A few miles away, closer to the lake, other stores sell the same big expensive toys. Just how many of these businesses can there be, without saturating the market?

For the last week, Maggie's been begging to buy a new purse. We must have a dozen purses downstairs that have come to us with hand-me-downs. And we have only a dozen because I keep hauling purses off to Goodwill. Maggie and I have been butting heads about whether she needs a purse, or whether she just wants to spend money for something new, anything new.

At dinner yesterday, we were discussing books and bookshelves. We like the library. No need to buy the books. No need to buy more bookshelves to hold books. No need to dust books. No need to keep track of what we buy. Of course, some books are needed, but we're usually happier borrowing them. So Maggie asked why Rachel keeps buying books and books and books.

We decided it was because Rachel has not yet come to the point of being oppressed by many possessions. But when I think about Maggie's desire for a new purse when she already has many, when I think about the jet-skis and snowmobiles and Harleys available, when I think about destination weddings, when I think about the advertisements and commercials that surround us,
I think not many people in this society realize possessions can bring oppression as easily as they can bring help and/or freedom.


  1. I was just thinking the same thing yesterday. We were at Target and the kids always like to go in the "tents" - big, fancy metalwork holding up a ceiling and sides of mesh fabric. Sure, it looks neat in the store and I'm sure many people will convince themselves they just need it. Then fall and winter will come, and what do you do with a big contraption like that? More of a burden than a blessing!

  2. But books aren't possessions they are part of the family :)

    I think living near a lake makes you a bit more aware of the amount of toys out there. As I watch the people around here haul an SUV jammed full of stuff with more stuff strapped on top and pulling a boat, I think about how nice my life is without all that junk! Packing and unpacking the vehicle would take up so much time there wouldn't be much left for the actual vacation.

  3. Susan,

    About a year ago I read an article about how too many possessions has made it harder for people to make decisions, and causes a lot of stress in one's life. I was trying to find that article, but can't. I did the find the following blog which talks about the ironic nature of possessions http://www.vexen.co.uk/self/possessions.html

    It is something that I am trying to do at our house, but this summer I am not getting too far.


  4. Books aren't possessions... they're just a part of life. Not breathing book-air would be like not breathing.

    I'd rather not have lots of little clutter, though. That's just extra to dust around.