Getting rid of stuff

It is I am certain an inevitable consequence of moving to a new residence that one confronts the convergent ineluctability of having to get rid of stuff. Often the same stuff one previously planned to get rid of. Or it may be that since the last decontamination you have unwittingly succeeded to build a reserve which inexplicably you set aside for some unspecified though propitious moment.

It quite amazes me how quickly we adapt to differing preferences; clothing, for example. The sartorial predicate may however be not only modified fashion but more likely enforced alteration.  Some things no longer fit. But whether the subject of the disposition is a glass coffee mug or a pair of bell-bottomed trousers, both are frequently plagued by the putative (though laughable) insight to save them in case they’re ever needed again. Or if one loses weight (as planned of course). Or if you know someone who’s getting a new place. Or a cottage. Or whatever! There is always a rational obstruction to getting rid of stuff.

By my calculation, if the stuff is put aside for whatever reason, you’ll probably never see it again. It is stunning how much those walk-in closets can hold in the back corner or on the top shelf; or how magically kitchen cupboards can sustain unidentified objects eternally out of reach.

The most inspiring motive for getting rid of stuff (apart from throwing out whatever doesn’t fit in the dishwasher) is the inference that you may be helping someone in need or contributing to a charity. That means those shoes you never wear, or the shirts, sweaters, jackets, blankets, etc. which have hung on a hanger now covered in dust have a meaningful afterlife. As for remnant furnishings it is extremely unsafe to imagine that your children or grandchildren will want them. And If you’re having trouble absorbing the proposition, merely contemplate how much you like other people’s stuff.

The philanthropic model is likely to be short-lived; that is, as soon as the stuff is gone from the cupboard or closet, its memory will fade as vaporously as the act of munificence. Most of us live in an immediate and repetitive mould. Once we get something we like, we stick with it.  But when we’re done with it, its currency is as quickly abandoned. Yet we resist amendment of utility and hang on interminably. New stuff is always more entrancing. I’ve known people who purposively remodel their home every five years. It’s not a custom which appeals to me particularly but it exemplifies the intractable giddiness of some. They are no doubt well tuned to the idea of getting rid of stuff.