REPOSTED FROM CRT 2013
We spend a lot of time and money collecting things. I’m not talking about actual collections here, I’m just talking about stuff. We've been told we have to have the right furniture, the right china, the right artwork, and the right linens. Then of course there are the dvds, cds, video games, game systems, surround sound, the size of your TV (which is of course indicative of your prowess in the bedroom). Oh and don't forget the right car, perhaps even a boat, RV and motorcycle.
How much of this stuff do you actually need though? Look around at all the stuff in your house or apartment and try and figure out how much you actually need. Now tell that voice in your head to shut the “f” up and think again. If your head is telling you that you need that 42 inch flat screen, ask it why? Then ask it why when it gives you an answer and keep doing it until you figure out what the emotional need really is. Because I guarantee you there is some sort of emotional need.
Whether it is because you couldn't possibly explain to your neighbors or friends why you don’t have a TV. Or perhaps it is because you are too afraid to be with yourself without distractions. Or maybe even the thought that you are worthless without the things society tells you that you should have. There are tons of reasons why we have a TV, or any of the other bazillion pieces of junk we clutter our lives with but none of them are usually good.
Taking the TV for example. Do you actually enjoy numbing yourself out every day in front of it? Instinct would say “yes” right away but really, do you really like it? Or is it keeping you from doing all those things you've always dreamt of doing? Is it helping to push down all those thoughts and feelings you've had since you were a kid about wanting to explore the world, learn new things, experience life?
Once we had the epiphany that most of the “stuff” we owned was doing that to us we decided to get rid of it all. We both came at it at different speeds. I wanted to leave it all outside with a big “free” sign and be done with it. She wanted to sell it, make some money from it, after all we had spent a ton of money to get the stuff in the first place shouldn't we get our money back from it?
Well guess what, in less you just really want to wait around for the right sucker that has never seen a store to buy your now “used” stuff, nobody is going to want it at the value you purchased it at. We knew that, I mean I wouldn't pay new prices for old stuff that doesn't make sense. What really doesn't make sense is that your gently used stuff, I’m talking the stuff you bought within the last year from a really nice store where most Americans shop won’t even fetch you half of what you paid. Now possibly, if you really really held out, maybe you could get half. Most people though, even when they know it is a deal don’t want to even pay half. They don’t want “used” stuff in less it’s really cheap. They would rather pay full price at a store than pay half for something you bought yesterday. Yep, we are all like that. Think about it, would you do it?
Okay, I do know one or two people that have furnished there entire place of living from the “free” section of Craigslist but the average person off the street, even if they make below the poverty line, want their stuff to be new, not used. Why? Because we live in a world that tells us that stuff is good and that stuff must be new for you as a person to have any kind of self-worth. How sad is that?
So we sold almost all of our stuff. We made about $1200 on all of it. Like I said since I was willing to give it all away for free we did take some really low amounts on some things but on average I figure we got anywhere from a third to a quarter of the purchased value of the object. This tells me two things about our way of living: 1. We should really look at why we even want to have this stuff in the first place and 2. We spend way too much on this stuff. Everything is overpriced.
The only thing that is majorly undervalued in this country is our own happiness. I feel so much freer for not having the weight of all that crap I've carried with me for years that I wish I would have done this sooner. If I ever have to deal with what we now consider a “normal” life and I consider crazy, the only thing I really want is a bed and a comfy place to sit, everything else is pointless (yes I will still have my computer). I now totally understand why the first thing you do when becoming a Buddhist or Zen monk is releasing possessions, the less clutter in your environment the less clutter in your head and heart and the easier it is to get in touch with your true self. It’s interesting being in my 40’s and realizing I have been ignoring my true self for probably a good 30 years. It’s amazing what you find when you clean house.