I love stuff. I’ve had a long-standing relationship with stuff for quite some time now. As to what kind of stuff, well I’m not prejudice, I’ll welcome just about any object into my home. DVDs, vinyl records, shoes, handbags, clothes, pictures, scarfs, hats, books, you name it, I have 50 of it.
I don’t know at what point in my life I deemed it necessary to have so much stuff, and I don’t know why I somehow associated it with being the key to happiness. Like when I’d say to myself I just need to add this book to my shelf and then contentment would reign. Followed swiftly by something else two days later. It’s a ridiculous notion to have, and an expensive one too.
This affliction was never one that really caused me any issues before now. It hasn’t seen me rack up a large credit card debt and I haven’t had to sell myself on the streets for the cost of a pair of shoes. As a result, I’ve lived blissfully unaware that I had a problem. That is, until this week.
Last Sunday I finally finished the process of moving my life from my house in Dublin back home to Kilkenny, ahead of a bigger move to Canada in the next few weeks. Said process had begun several weeks beforehand, with every relative who visited me in Dublin finding themselves with a car-load of my much-treasured ‘stuff’ on their way home. So when I got back to Kilkenny last weekend, fresh from the euphoria of another All Ireland win, I wasn’t quite prepared for what awaited me there.
The blurry pictures don’t even do justice to my shame, for this is only a very small part of the stacks and stacks of boxes, bags and mess that was laying in wait of my return. I’ve never been as mortified to be so superficial. I am one person, I am 23 years old, I have lived independently for just five years. How have I accumulated so much crap in such a short space of time?
I vowed immediately to turn over a new leaf. A leaf with less stuff on it. Out came the roll of bin bags, and I filled 12 of them over the next 24 hours. I was amazed by how easy it was to do it, spurred on by my own embarrassment.
I don’t know if I’d ever be able to live a minimalist life. The people who can fit their entire existence into a backpack are to be admired, sure, but I’ll just never be one of them. Yet I’ve finally realised that it’s worth stopping to think the next time you find yourself approaching the cash desk in a shop, weighed down with arms full of ‘stuff’: ‘what the hell do I actually need this for?’.