It has been my attempt in the past few weeks to rummage, separate, sort, disregard, recycle, and donate all of my possessions. An attempt in vain, it would seem. While I’ve succeeded in squirreling away my large furniture into my mother’s second bedroom, my goal of whittling down all of my positions into that which will fit into my six-foot square rolling suitcase has been all but realized. Apparently my life is simply this: full of stuff.
And exactly how much stuff can a single, newly twenty-two gay man with too much style for one gender hoard into a small one-bedroom? I can’t even begin to itemize. Actually, yes I can. Let's begin: exactly twenty eight pairs of shoes, enough t-shirts equal to the volume of two dirty laundry baskets (because working in the food industry is not a stylish job), one double bed, one desk, one futon, one television, one washer, one dryer, one kitchen table, one blender, 14,756 bobby pins, and a hair dryer. But like I said, I can only begin.
It’s also quite striking to me just how little value the vast majority of my possessions have to me. That is, nothing. In fact, the only reason I haven’t already trucked everything to my neighborhood Good Will is because I want to sell some of it to fund the move. For example, I have no real attachment to my toaster oven. In fact, I somewhat resent it. It’s burned my toast multiple times and the timer is broken. But it can get me a few bucks at a yard sale and buy me a bag of peanuts on the plane to NYC.
This is basically how I feel about all of my things; excluding, however, certain clothing items, a few books, my purple cotton sheets, my kettle, and my shoe box full of makeup. And, as it turns out, the preceding list fits perfectly into my six-foot square rolling suitcase.
But all of this has left me thinking: in a consumerist culture such as ours, where huge stores carry everything you need and sales are bigger than the holidays they follow, why do we have so much damn stuff? I don’t even have half the amount of shit in my entire apartment than many of my friends have in their own tiny bedrooms. And I can’t even watch Hoarders without going into shock. Why do we have things? Why do we need things? And even if we don’t, why do we want them?
You ponder this, and I’ll go sort through my small but bountiful plaid teacup collection.