Stuff and Junk #socs

I typed “stuff” into my keyword box, and it suggested “new stuff,” “random stuff,” and “strange stuff.” I guess I use the word “stuff” a lot. I also use some synonyms, like “junk,” “crap,” and of course, “sh*t.” I think I use “stuff” when I want to use the last of these, to be polite.

I had a work friend who sent me an email when she left the company, and the subject was “stuff and junk.” Obviously she figured out that I use those two words a lot.

A couple of years before she died, Mom was starting to divest herself of all her stuff. I’d travel to Chicago on one of my trips in for business, and she would send me home with stuff. “When you get tired of it, just pass it on to someone else. It’s just stuff.” After she died, we cleaned out her house to sell it, and it was loaded with stuff. She was a real packrat. Really, stuff from several generations: her stuff, our stuff, her parents’ stuff, her grandparents’ stuff, Grandma Holton’s stuff… For someone who had the attitude that “it’s just stuff,” she sure amassed plenty of it.

And I’m just as bad. My office is packed with stuff. And I don’t want to get rid of it. Don’t ask me why. Really, old pads of paper and notebooks. A whole bunch of CD’s, even though I’ve moved all my music to the cloud and no longer need the physical disk. Computer hardware that’s either burned out or that I no longer need. Paper copies of things I’ve moved into Evernote because I don’t want the paper sitting around, but it still is.

Part of me wants to just get rid of it, another says, no, keep that, you never know when you’ll need it… but I don’t.

Here’s a song about stuff. Actually junk. From Paul McCartney’ first album…


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This is a post for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, guest hosted by Pavowsky for Linda Hill. All the information is over at Linda’s blog

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

18 thoughts on “Stuff and Junk #socs”

  1. I’m not a pack rat exactly, but I certainly have lots of stuff. Every so often I throw some out. It’s an amazing thing, once you throw it out, you suddenly find you need it.

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  2. I’m the same way, John. I’ve already trimmed away the stuff I could easily get rid of; now I’m into the layers of “I might need it” and “that brings back memories”. I guess it feels like I’m letting down my future self (“wish I had kept that”), or the people and times I’m remembering, by getting rid of stuff. Sentimentality run amok.

    It is, after all, just stuff.

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    1. Exactly. We ended up giving a lot of the family artifacts to my mother’s sisters, because we really didn’t care about it. I have a bunch of stuff that belonged to my great-grandfather in a plastic box in one of my office closets. I get that it’s a piece of family history, but what am I going to do with it?

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  3. You and I are on the same page today. We should have done a blogfest! I’ll bet a lot of people have the same situation. I did a post on this topic today at my memoir blog. Hope you check it out to compare with your situation. My office sounds like yours except you’ve taken a technological step that I’m not so good at yet.

    Arlee Bird
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Thinking back to after my mother died, when we were cleaning out her house we found a half dozen burned-out curling irons. Amazing what people who lived through the Depression will keep.

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  4. The top drawer of my dresser is my junk drawer. I have always used this drawer for this purpose. When I ever get to sorting it out I am going to make a list of everything that’s in it. For example, I know I have at least – at least – a dozen pair of obsolete prescription eye glasses and many books of matches; I quit smoking in 1975.

    Good topic, John!

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    1. If you’re looking for a new home for those glasses, The Lions Club collects them for recycling. We donate our old ones to them.

      Matchbooks are an artifact of an earlier day, aren’t they?

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  5. Your sentiment is pretty much mine, when it comes to stuff. It really can take you over. I think I heard this one in Fight Club: “The things you own end up owning you…”

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  6. I order my online bookmarks as Writing Stuff, Fitness Stuff, Other Stuff etc – and then there are lots of subfolders with more Stuff labels.

    I’m quite good at getting rid of real life stuff, but old notepads are another thing entirely!

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    1. I don’t have that many bookmarks anymore. I keep them in Pocket, and if it’s something I know I’m going to refer to later, I move it to Evernote. The only pages I bookmark are the ones I go to all the time (WordPress, Pocket, Evernote, and social media sites).

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  7. I am not a pack rat. My husband would be if I let him, but I think he’s gotten used to me. As his mother ages, and her stuff keeps pace with her, he sees the ultimate price she pays. (An entire upstairs filled with dolls and keepsakes and boxes of more dolls and keepsakes, a garage too full of special things, too full to park in, and a small storage unit my FIL hates to visit and pay for.)
    I say some stuff is good, too much stuff is bad Feng Shui 😉

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    1. We had friends who moved here from Chicago and brought all their stuff with them, including a fifty-year accumulation of Christmas stuff. The guy was in the attic for two months (July and August, the real hot part of the year here) finishing it off so he could put all that stuff up there. Then, a couple of years later, the wife, who had insisted on bringing it all to decorate at Christmas, stopped decorating because of her health. After a while, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. The daughter had a habit of taking all her stuff and renting a storage unit to hold it whenever she moved, and she was paying rent on at least three of them, spread around the country. Compared to them, my mother had very little.

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