Why so attached to our things?


Coming fresh from my most recent wrestle with my stuff in the US, I’m thinking about what I have, why I have more than I need, and why it’s hard to pare down.* This little TED lesson† has some interesting ideas to consider, plus funky animation. It can be yours to view in exchange for 4:35 minutes.

How about you? Do you feel like you understand your relationship with your stuff? If you think that relationship would benefit from a change, does it seem like what’s needed is a minor repair or a major overhaul?

Zanzibar Day 18


*Always when we return from Spain I have ambitious plans to go through and get rid of things, especially stuff stored in the barn. We usually get some downsizing done before other activities move to the front burner, and the mental pressure lessens. It ramps up again when we’re packing up to rent the house, but the closer we get to departure, the less time we have for deliberation. We end up again in “let’s deal with this later” mode.

†TED Ed videos are younger cousins to TED talks: shorter, animated, and usable as lessons. At the ed.ted.com website there are questions you can answer after viewing. Their library explores a wide range of fascinating topics.

[Image: nightfurylive.com, creekmoreworld.com]




4 thoughts on “Why so attached to our things?

  1. Interesting video. I have found that I am much more attached to the furniture that I have painted or refinished over something I’ve bought…much more attached! I put some of myself into it I guess. I’ve even thought of turning a room in my house into a pantry but then think “but then where will I put the table I refinished??” because, obviously I can’t get rid of it. haha.

    • I can definitely see that. Here’s a strategy–give those valuable works of art to your kids! Then when you visit, you can enjoy your furniture, but at home you’ve got room for a pantry. 🙂 Of course, that’s easier to do if they live nearby. If you’ve got family living in Alaska, for instance, getting a table to them is no simple task.

  2. I truly believe there is some cosmic, unseen string that attaches us to all our belongings. My friend who had a fire said it was so freeing, not having her things any longer. We had to pare down when we left our large house, and now that we’ve settled into a new house, more purging will happen. Personally, I always see a future value, or a POSSIBLE future value, so how can I part with my stuff?

    • I also know someone whose house burned, and she said it was very freeing. She did say she regretted the loss of photos. She also said that some of their wedding gifts that they’d been saving for special occasions burned up with everything else, so now, when she’s got something nice, she uses it, because why wait for later?
      I’m with you on the future value challenge. And I know that being able to see a use for otherwise useless things is a mark of creativity, but also a trap, because then I feel bad getting rid of things. I’ve definitely got the “feels a responsibility for her stuff” affliction, and am learning better how to cope, little by little.

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