Wednesday, April 3, 2013

March Newspaper Article

My newspaper article for March was a reworked blog that I had written previously. I shortened the content to comply with my column requirement of 400 words. Today, I discovered a perfect cartoon to accompany the column. I have included it at the end.

Is It Essential, Is It Loved or Is it Just “Stuff” ?

As I excitedly told a friend that the 2013 Northumberland County dump voucher had arrived, she responded with, “I’m starting to worry about you.”

There’s something satisfying about recycling by donating good used items to one of the many charitable thrift shops in town. There’s also something liberating about ridding ourselves of needless junk by trekking to a dump site.

It seems as though we spend half our lives trying to amass “stuff”. Then, it takes almost as many of our older years to rid ourselves of these same items. If we don't downsize early enough, it becomes overwhelming. If we don't bother at all, the daunting task of cleaning up after us is a burden that is eventually left to family members.

By “stuff”, I'm referring of course to all those inanimate treasures which we once thought we needed and are still lingering. There are the knick knacks, the silverware, the travel souvenirs, the now obsolete electronic devices and more. If we were to be honest with ourselves, we would realize that there are very few things in our possession which we can't live without. The larger the house, the greater the area of the property, the more we seem to accumulate.

Most people only use twenty percent of what they have. The other eighty percent of possessions are taking up space. Fengshui philosophy is helpful and clear. If you don't use it or love it, get rid of it. The problem with having too much "stuff" is that it drains us of energy. We often waste time looking for things we need, or spend money replacing things we already have and can't locate.

The argument that "it's a keepsake" or "I'm saving it for my kids", often doesn't fly. Rather, it's an excuse for us to hold on to things. In fact, our children rarely want any of our outdated furnishings, household items or knick knacks.

People sometimes find it difficult to give items away when there are emotional components or strong personal memories. We have to detach ourselves when we look at the objects. And that's just what they are, objects. We’ve all heard the expression, “take a picture, it lasts longer.” I have personally done this for some of my belongings. Interestingly enough, I’ve never felt the need to look at those photos.

Downsizing, trash and recycling companies are becoming big business as they help relieve us of our "stuff", and of course, our money. It costs to accumulate what we have and then it costs to get rid of it. The impact on the environment is a whole other issue.

How do we figure out what we really need and love and what we can live without? Here's a start. If you could only keep a few of your personal possessions, what would they be? Would any of us select a Death Valley snow globe, a pair of designer shoes or an ice cream maker? I’ll let you decide.


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