Stuff!-Shawn’s Perspective

27 Jun

“We’ve got to sell all this stuff!

I can’t imagine all the “crappola” one accumulates over the years. I can’t imagine the stuff people have saved in plastic bins, saran wrapped, and cardboard boxes and pressed between old books.
So here we sit in our family room thinking about this journey we are about to embark.

Juan: What are you doing? (Watching me staring into kitchen cabinet)
Shawn: Nothing
Juan: What do you want to get rid of in there?   
Shawn: I say nothing staring into cupboards
Juan: I think we should start in the office and spare bedroom. We can make up some boxes that we are going to sell in a garage sale and also things we can donate….are you listening? What are you doing?
Shawn: I’m hungry

I wasn’t like this all the time. It was exciting yet overwhelming…what “STUFF” am I going to get rid of? Where to start cleaning house….literally.

The beginning of building your stuff starts at a very early age. Your childhood is spent with monumental occasions; First haircut, first drawing, first pair of cowboy boots, first art project. Placing all these special occasions in a small box. Then there is graduation from elementary school, then middle school, high school and college. All this time accumulating more and more stuff. More and more boxes.
By the time you hit adulthood you head out with a trailer of stuff PLUS stuff Mom and Dad give you. Furniture, dishware (lots of it), tables your bedroom furniture, more stuff!

You accumulate so much and yet hate to let it go because of some sentimental value. Well here I sit and here I begin going through my things. I then realized…it truly is just stuff. It doesn’t make up who I am as a person or classification within human kind. That’s what Juan and I are trying to shed, this need of keeping up with “The Jones” Getting more and more things, going bigger needing more space and for what? To store and hold all your stuff. Don’t use your good dishware, but a “semi-nice” (sorry, my words) set for semi special occasion and a more casual set that you don’t worry about breaking THEN….your regular set that your use every day. And so on and so on with all types of things you accumulate over the years. You work so hard to build up getting bigger and better things to show off to everyone right?

Which brings me to the gorgeous Copenhagen square table that seats eight. This certainly isn’t going to fit in a 900 square foot home unless I want to sleep on it and create a den under the table. So off I go putting it on Craigslist and hope for a quick sale. It was the start of selling off these so called nice things that Juan and I received all sorts of comments and dismay. Mind you…we weren’t asking anyone for advice we knew what we were doing. However many said we were crazy, what were we thinking? Why are we giving away our status?

Well for me it’s not important anymore. You shouldn’t value me as a person by the size of my house, style of clothes I wear, car I drive or bank account. Value me for the type of person I am; for being kind, for being there when you need me, for NOT falling into that same rut everyone else does (bigger and more expensive means status); for enjoying the simpler things in life. 

We took the value off of our stuff and put it on the opportunity to live deeply more meaningful lives.

(Copenhagen Table)

Next Juan’s perspective…..


7 responses to “Stuff!-Shawn’s Perspective

  1. tamis3angels

    June 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I think I did a fairly good job of weeding out most of the things I didn't need. I went through the tubs and bins and boxes. I knew I wasn't actually going to make another quilt, so no need for all the scraps of material ect…Now with yet another move on the horizon, I am feeling the need to get rid of even more. I dread the thought of packing and unpacking. This time it is going to be more painful to 'weed' though as nearly everything I have left has a memory attached to it.

  2. Anonymous

    June 28, 2011 at 12:47 am

    I applaud you both! You've started me thinking about it too. With a divorce looming…why do I need this big house? I have more pets that you guys…but in the end they all sleep on the bed with me anyway. The problem I need to work through is the sentimentality of the stuff. Family stuff. Family furniture and stuff. Pictures and stuff. Books and stuff. Art and stuff. Plates upon plates, upon plates and all the stuff that goes with setting a perfect "Martha Stewart" table…But after 19 years in this house…I think I might just be able to let the "joy of yardwork" go! Bravo to you both. Keep writing! Sarah

  3. Shawn Smith

    June 28, 2011 at 2:27 am

    @Tamis3angels, I know how you feel. But NOTHING can take away your memories. Is it something that could be passed down to other family members? At the top of my post, I wrote a great saying by Henry David Thoreau-Only have things of beauty or usefulness in your life “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” It is so hard to go through and weed out. Take the time and go through and get rid of things you don't need. Then wait a couple of weeks and see if the things you've kept are things you really need/want. Just thinking 🙂

  4. Shawn Snith

    June 28, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Sarah thanks for writing. Glad you liked the post. You'll soon realize how "freeing" this endeavor will be.

  5. Jim

    June 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Wow. I can't imagine downsizing that far. My wife and I live in a 4,000 ft2 house with three bedrooms and five bathrooms. I could see maybe dropping down to 2,000-2,500 ft2, but 900? Our bedroom/closet/bath alone is over 700 ft2.And it's not so much the "stuff" as it is the space. We both like lots of empty space though there is often too much clutter.I look forward to reading this blog as you guys go forward, remember to put posts on Facebook to remind us to come back and follow along.

  6. tamis3angels

    June 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I love that quote. It is great to keep it in mind as I decide what to keep. I like the idea of passing things to family members. My kids don't have an emotional connection to the items I think are important to pass down, and so they aren't interested in them. Hmm…maybe my brother will want them 😉

  7. Anonymous

    June 29, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Love your post and reminding us all what is truly important in life. Kim


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