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Do You Really Need All That Stuff?

Updated on June 3, 2019

We accumulate a lot of things. There cannot be an unoccupied space around us. Every corner has to be filled. Every surface has to have something on it. We just have to have stuff everywhere around us. But do we really need it all?

The Desire for Stuff

We want stuff. We have to have anything that catches our eyes. It is almost like we can't see a space that isn't full. Where does that desire come from?

The age we live in offers us more choices than ever before. The world is smaller so we can get things that were once denied to us. Advancements in technology and processes have allowed more creativity in designing things. We have more free money than our grandparents did.

Psychology Today gave this list of reasons people accumulate stuff:

  • Keeping replacement parts in case an item breaks
  • Being a “collector” of one type or many types of things
  • Believing that the items are or will become monetarily valuable
  • Claiming that the items have sentimental value because they evoke positive memories
  • Claiming that the possessions have or will have a useful purpose in the future (e.g., “I know I’ll need all these model train parts when I retire and have the time to put them together)
  • Finding that it takes too much time and effort to decide what to get rid of


We almost don't stand a chance with all of what is available and the marketing that goes on non-stop around us. Stuff is shoved at us. We desire it, but do we need need it? That's the big question.

What Do You Do With It All?

Look at all the stuff nearest you. What do you do with it? Do you actually use? Most people would end up saying no. They bought it and forgot about it. Let me give you a few examples of my own.

In my kitchen sits a steamer. I bought it so we could eat healither. I have never used it. Why? Because I keep forgetting it is there. That's what happens with a lot of stuff we have. We forget it is there.

I have knicknacks that have hardly seen the light of day as they crammed behind other such items. Most of them I inherited from my mother, and most do not have any sentimental hold on my. They gather dust and space. Why do I keep them? Because getting rid of stuff is something I was taught not to do.

In my closet are tops I haven't worn in a very long time. Why are they still there taking up space? Because maybe, one day, I might wear them. We do that with so many things. We have hope for use of them in the future.


How useful is all that stuff? You need to ask yourself that.

How often do you use the item?

How much does this item save you money?

How important is it for you to have?

Really focus on how much value the item gives to you and your family.

The Three Year Rule

There is this three year rule you can use to help you determine if you should keep an item. Pick up an item. When was the last time you used it? Has it been in the last three years. If the answer is no, then get rid of it. Seriously, you haven't used it in three years. When will you use it again?

If you are really torn, set it aside and revisit it in six months.If you still haven't used it, get rid of it. Yes, I know it can be difficult getting rid of things you have had for years. But trust me that you will be thankful you have done it.

When getting rid of all this stuff makes you upset, take it a little at a time. One room today, another next month. One section of a room. Think of it as freeing the items. Most can be given away to charity. You can even sell some and make money.

When all is done, you'll find yourself breathing easier. You'll find less stress because you have less stuff. Give it a try. Try again and again. in the end, you'll be glad you did.


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    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I get a great sense of shame for spending on things which don't get used. It's happened a few times, but I've just about removed such activities from my life.

      How? Well, by being dirt poor. I make money from writing here, and that is all the money I make.

      I've a natural inclination to be a hoarder, but I live in a 26 foot travel trailer, and so I do not have much room at all for stuff. I do have lots of stuff, good stuff, stuff I use, inside my parent's home though.

      My 26 foot travel trailer is very literally falling apart. I can hope to get another used one, at least this same size, in the next couple of years. *hopefully*

      It's full of books and magazines. My computer is where I hoard things nowadays. I hoard music and videos on my computer. It's nice to be able to hoard things on a device.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      2 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      About every six months I take two weeks and reorganize, donate, and toss "stuff." I really will be happy when I can get down to a single station wagon- or minivan-sized load of possessions!

      Interesting article, for sure.


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