Stuff (again)

Six-plus years ago I wrote about “Stuff” and how I have way too much of it.  I thought about having a Yard Sale to get rid of some of it, or maybe selling some of it on Ebay.   I did the Ebay thing for a while, but the economy got worse and things weren’t selling there.   I gave away some things, and began setting aside boxes of stuff for the yard sale I hoped to have.  We found a wonderful book store up in Gold Beach (Gold Beach Books) that buys used books in good condition.

Garage saleLast Saturday we finally had our first Yard Sale.  I’d done them elsewhere in the past, and know the value of advertising, but this time we decided not to list it in the local newspaper.  Unfortunately, that meant we only got seven lookers/buyers in four hours.  We did make a bit of money, and now things are better organized for when we have our next yard sale.   Having all that stuff out on the driveway and in our front yard also gave us a chance to clean up the garage.     🙂

I know a lot of other countries see the U.S. as having a very wasteful culture, and I must agree. Once upon a time advertising was based on letting the consumer know the value of a product. But from 1910 to 1930 this changed, and advertisers began emphasizing the creation of desire in consumers and assuming an irrational, emotional and impulsive nature. John B. Watson, an American psychologist, helped with this. Use this product and it will make you _______ (fill in the blank with successful, sexy, popular, happy, whatever). The culture of “buy more” accelerated after World War II; so did the concept of hoarding (collecting large amounts of items the person sees as valuable or necessary). It has been suggested hoarding occurs when the person has experienced deprivation (as during an economic depression, war, or other catastrophe). There is more to it than that, but when this is added to the consumer society promoted by Big Business, it adds up to people with a lot of STUFF.

reduce reuse repair recycleAnnie Leonard and some other people put together a great little video called “The Story of Stuff.”  (Click here to see it, and/or some of the ones they made after.)  It may make you think twice about buying that $2 knickknack or $4 package of dish towels from WalMart.

I’ll probably revisit the idea of Stuff again here at some point, but for now I ask myself on a regular basis, “Do I really need that?”  And the answer almost always is, “No.”

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About judithornot

Lives in semi-rural Northern California, happily married, retired counselor, night person, knits, plays WoW.
This entry was posted in family, home, social issues, Sustainable living and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Stuff (again)

  1. Great post. Your account of STUFF accumulation sounds so familiar. It’s something common across all western societies, our economies are depending on us continuing to desire and consume so that we can thrive and buy more STUFF. And so the never ending circle goes endlessly round and round chasing its own tail. I was reading an article recently where the author suggested that when it comes to marketing and advertising we are vulnerable because of the “unending demand on our self-control” (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/07-08/consumerism.aspx ). I think she made a good point there as we are constantly bombarded by demands from work, family and financial commitments. The marketing and advertising gurus seem to be finding more and more covert and sneaky ways to make us WANT more STUFF. I was watching an advertisement on TV last night from one of the big players in the phone business. They weren’t pushing the product as such, but trying to convince me that I really wanted that “New phone feeling”. So now we not only need to buy new products we have to buy new feelings as well. Like you, I have to ask myself the question of whether I want or need it. And if I’m being manipulated and directed towards the answer.

    Good luck with your next yard sale, I hope some of your STUFF ends up becoming someone else’s STUFF.

    Liked by 1 person

    • judithornot says:

      Thank you, Katelyn! I agree with your thoughts. And ideally, some of my stuff will end up being exactly what someone else was looking for. 🙂

      Like

  2. Laura DePinto says:

    Hi Judith, I like your “The Story of Stuff” entry here. Isn’t it something the way the shape of consumerism was intentionally, meticulously molded and sculpted after the turn of the century? And too after WWII–omg, Talk about a most psychological campaign to get the women in USA back in the home. I have a few very old magazines, (part of my stuff–old 1920s Reader’s Digests, and some other mags in which the advertisements and the articles depict and express exactly what you described. As for yard sales…lots of work, right? Good the garage got spiffed up, eh? And so it goes… Peace… L & L and the deep blue sea, Mo

    Liked by 1 person

    • judithornot says:

      Thanks, Mo! I get very frustrated with the way Big Business wants to mold us all into easily controled consumers. And government goes along, because the corporations have money, and the politicians want to get elected.

      Like

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