Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our legacy is our STUFF

Moving the contents of one's house across the country is an eye-opening experience. How in the world did we end up with so many posessions?!?! As Zach and I watched the movers unload box after box (over 400 boxes and items in all) of our treasured junk into our new home (the house busting at the seams) the environmental impact of our actions began to sink in. 

The cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, tape, gasoline to drive the semi truck 3,000 miles across the country....not to mention the natural resources depleted and pollution generated to produce all these items that we have collected and purchased over the years. We are responsible for all this stuff and must cart it with us wherever we go, like a cancerous tumor. Is this all really necessary? (well, Ada and Ike did have fun running around the boxes in the garage!)

But seriously, why does a family of 3 need enough dinnerware to serve 36 people? Or enough clothing to dress a marching band? Or kink-knacks, figurines, trinkets, and other useless items that require dusting? Why are we always shopping, buying, and collecting more stuff everyday? Are we addicted? Does all this stuff really make us happy? I must admit that today I am emberassed to be an American. As much as I love this country and our freedom it's obvious that we are all in a vicious cycle of consumerism that cannot sustain itself. When I leave this world I do not want my legacy to be the stuff I acquired or for our daughter to inherit all our "treasured" junk to sort through as a final parting gift. I want out! I'm tired of owning, managing, cleaning, guarding, replacing and moving STUFF! I want more time to simply enjoy life and take time to smell the flowers as Ada demonstrates below.  If you have read my rantings this far then you must view this spectacular video about Americans and stuff at The video is 20 mins long but offers a brilliant perspective on this subject. Please watch and stop the cycle!


Amy said...


I tried emailing you, but I think I have the wronge address. I would love to catch up with you. Here's my email address I'm sorry it took me awhile to get back to you...I have a 3 month old now and things get a little crazy here. Your daughter is sooo cute...she looks so much like you! I know we are working on updated our blogg...soon ")

Take care and I hope to hear from you soon!

Amy Reichert(Komara)

Paul & Heather Miller said...

YES!!! I saw The Story of Stuff years ago and I feel the same way. After living in our small apartment for 11 months, I think I'm going to get rid of most of our STUFF that's currently being stored in the attic in G'burg. Some of it we will need when we actually have a house of our own again (and live in a climate that requires some of those warmer clothes), but most of it is just STUFF!! I love this entry. It makes me proud to be your friend. I'll smell the flowers with you any day!

Alicia said...

I am feeling ya and agree totally. I'm starting to pack up and purge "stuff" in preparation for the move to NJ at the end of July. It is ridiculous how much one person can accumulate! Good luck unpacking!

Nathan said...

Carolyn, if you liked the story of stuff video you should check out the same woman's talk at the Bioneers conference this year, 2009, it was fantastic and not just limited to the topic of stuff. You can rent dvds of all the Bioneers talks although this year's is probably not out yet.
Incidentally, we moved across the country 2yrs ago in 2 compact vehicles and now I fear, I tremble, when I think that we'd need several moving vans to move us now!! Oh no, what happened!?