Friday, August 01, 2008

The Tyranny of "Stuff"

I attended another Lifestyle Event for my future residence, The Clare at Water Tower, yesterday. The purpose of the meeting was to present information on temporary housing choices in case our current houses or condos sell before The Clare is finished.

Considering the current real estate market, I doubt that I'll have that problem, but I learned a lot, just in case. My preference would be a short stay in a luxury full-service hotel, but I couldn't afford that, especially with storage fees for my worldly goods.

Anyway, listeners' questions quickly segued to matters of storage at The Clare. The mention of storage bins measuring only 3 x 3 x 5 feet brought dismay and complaints. As I listened, I began to think about "stuff" in general. Why were people so upset? Surely highrise residents won't be storing lawn equipment or major power tools or auto parts. A few pieces of luggage will surely fit into that small bin. Everything else I need should fit into my apartment's small closets.

I suppose prosperous owners of large suburban houses face big downsizing challenges, but a fellow condo resident offered a more optimistic view similar to mine. Why worry? My question is, do we really need so much "stuff"? I admit I hired organizers to unclutter my closets and kitchen cabinets, and I've not missed a single item that went to charity or to the trash bin.

Perhaps one of the challenges of aging that many of my future neighbors haven't yet faced is the need to simplify life, to concentrate on what's really important. Does anyone need 100 pairs of shoes or twenty evening gowns? With the possible exceptioon of film stars and TV personalities, I doubt that anyone, especially anyone over 55, does.

There comes a time when comfort and convenience trump style and pride of ownership. I've reached that time; apparently some of my peers have not. I suppose it's none of my business, but I'd advise those complaining about lack of storage to prioritize, downsize, and relax. You'll never regret resisting the tyranny of "stuff."

Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne

7 comments:

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

You are so right about the "stuff" we collect. I really need to downsize. My life would be much more relaxed, if I did. My future goal is to stop buying and start throwing away.

Darlene said...

I had to laugh at myself when I read your post. When I moved from the house that we had owned for 30 years into a town house I did exactly as you advocated. I held a giant yard sale, gave stuff away, took 150 books to the library, etc.

I have now lived in my town house for eight years and have replaced much of the stuff I got rid of. I suppose I never learn and might have to move again to finally simplify my life. ;-).

seniorwriter said...

Thanks, Barbara and Darlene. I hope I've finally learned. Actually, moving to a place with little storage is a great benefit for me. If I need to get rid of more "stuff," I will. Simplifying gives me a feeling of freedom.

Alice said...

I absolutely know you're right about getting rid of stuff, especially the formal black gown and the long grey taffeta skirt hanging in the spare bedroom closet as I write this. But how do you find the time to figure out what to do with this stuff? These represent, I suppose if I think about it, the idea that I finally "made it" into a segment of society that actually had an occasional need for "stuff" like that. But I WILL get rid of those and more, even though it will probably be when I'm forced to, since we have ample closet space at the moment. I hope the time is far enough away that I can donate them to a museum of some sort of "then and now" place where people can giggle about how we used to dress.

nissan auto parts said...

The Clare at Water Tower was great for my retirement it is located on a trapezoidal lot with the tower curving at the wide angle at Rush and Pearson. The southwestern facade features sawtooth indents. The building overlooks the Lewis Towers, Lake Michigan, Water Tower Park, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. A unique combination of learning opportunities and resort-style amenities is what one is going to get at the Clare at Water Tower building.

Enjoy your retired life in a marvelous setting! A completely hospitable service is what one is going to get here. The Clare at Water Tower will provide state-of-the-art facilities like housekeeping service, continental breakfast, concierge services, 24-hour security, banking and postal center, beauty salon, spa, indoor aquatic center, business center, rooftop terrace, social clubroom, library, computer center, and chapel. The building also features art gallery, formal, casual and private dining venues, arts studio, and fitness center.

Cheers,
Martha

seniorwriter said...

Martha: Who are you, and what's this? A plug for Nissan Auto Parts? I don't even know anyone who owns a Nissan. Anyway, I'm already sold on The Clare. Glad to share the building's press material.

One Woman's Journey said...

I agree on the freedom of downscaling. I have built homes and moved 3 times over the last 10 years. Each time getting smaller and giving things to children. Now in my smaller home, there is still too much. I still wanted a home and a small yard since I love to garden. I moved from a small town to the city to be near children and grandchildren. A big adjustment. Have been in this location for one year. In the future I may be in a retirement center, but not at the moment. I like all the comments and sharing.