Stuff: Controller or Controlee

By Doug Bevins

Stuff, we all have it. It could be board games, dvds, books, clothes, or just random items picked up while traveling. Whatever that stuff is, it takes up space and when it takes up too much space; the question becomes who is in charge: the stuff or the person? Stuff is fun. There is absolutely no argument there.  Playing a fun computer game or board game, reading a book,  watching a favorite movie, or wanting to look nice when one is going out (socially or on a date) is normal. The problem comes when one is unable to get rid of their stuff and things start falling over and mountains of stuff taller then you are start appearing in random places around your residence (I’m not talking about hoarding here. I am simply talking about amassing too much but still being able to see the floor in some areas). Then chances are stuff is starting to become the controller in your situation.

How do we deal with stuff? First off,  realize that stuff is not alive (I know easier said than done. I struggle with the same problem). Secondly, stuff is likely replaceable (not counting objects that belonged to a family member as you can never replace the connection a particular object may have with that person. Just don’t excuse ALL objects for that reason). Third, stuff is heavy and moving tons of it can be quite painful(Between loading up boxes and unloading them, I moved eight times between dorms when I was in college and lugging stacks of boxes taller than I was became a dread at the end).  Lastly, if the piles get too high or things are too unstable on shelves and avalanches of stuff start to happen, then too much stuff has come in so it is time to downsize.

After all that, how do we get rid of stuff. Two things come to mind: have a clear goal and get help meeting that goal if help is needed. The goal piece for me is simply something like, “ok the books on that shelf have fallen on my foot three times in the last week when I would reach for one, time to clear off that shelf alone at that moment”.  I also tend to have trouble with getting rid of things making me very anxious so having someone around to ask questions like why I am keeping something helps a lot to alleviate (though not completely) my anxiety (starts at an 8, down to a 4-5 with the help).


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