Sunday, August 17, 2008


If you read my blog at all, you know that I know that I have too much stuff. Let me give you a brief summary. JD and I married late in life. We combined two entire households. When we first married we have 14 wooden spoons, 2 coffee pots, 2 toasters, 6 9x13 pans, 3 sets of silverware, 2 sets of dishes and pots and pans, three beds, 5 couches, etc. But we also bought a new big house together and it all fit. We got rid of some things but for the most part, we just found a place to put it all. We were married 4 years and through those years bought more, then we had a kid and it is difficult to measure the amount of "stuff" that comes with one of those. Then we moved from Las Vegas to Dallas. We didn't downsize but instead increased our living space by 1000 square feet. We were under the sickness of needing to fill that space too and instead of getting rid of anything we got more. Then we are called to CA where we had to downsize 2000 square feet. We had a huge~!!~ garage sale and I thought we got rid of a lot of stuff until we tried to "fit" into the little house in CA and I realized that no, we didn't have a lot of stuff, we instead had a ridiculous mountain of crap. Over a year we got rid of more and more in order to fit a car into the garage. We rented some storage and got things under control. Then we just moved and again, we arrived at the house, organized and found more things that didn't need. We were burdened with stuff so we had two different piles taken away by charity and had a garage sale and got rid of more. We are now down to a normal level of crap and the storage. I'm going to have another garage sale and get rid of it all. But in the end, I know we will still have a lot of stuff. 

Recently, a lot of people I know have moved, including us. One of my pals just moved into her brand new house and has commented on the amount of kitchen stuff she has and didn't realize she had and wondered where it all came from and is probably wondering where it all is going to go. Another friend just moved and her kitchen in the new place is significantly smaller where storage is concerned over her last place and is in the dilemma of what to do with the rest of the stuff. She and her husband are realizing that they have a lot of stuff as they are trying to reconfigure their lives into a new house. 

It's a common disease of Americans that I now call "Alottastuff". Everyone's got some of it. There are stages like cancer. There are also a lot of people who don't realize they have it but enjoy giving others a hard time about theirs. For example, when JD and I moved into the current house, our neighbors across the street were watching because that's what you do when new people arrive into your territory, you watch them to see how weird they're going to be. In a conversation with the husband of this couple he said to me, "Saw ya move in. You guys got a lotta stuff." Really!? I of course didn't say what I was thinking but said, "I know. We're learning to downsize but we've had to learn in stages. Came from Dallas...blah blah blah". He said, "Oh, yeah, we've lived here over 14 years." This is what I was thinking but didn't say, "You think I have Alottastuff? You're the pot calling the kettle black. Have you looked around your house lately? You, my friend are going to die from Alottastuff if you're not careful." I happen to be in the entryway of their house borrowing some baking soda for a cake I was making (the @**#% friendship bread). 

Then another neighbor who was doing a handyman job for me commented again. "Boy, you guys have a lot of stuff". Classic. This guy just had his first kid. He has no idea the "stuff" he's about to have in his life and house. Wanted to tell this guy, "You just wait pal. Just wait until you realize the stage of Alottastuff you have. Then we'll talk!

My point? Not really sure other than I'm tired of people telling me I have Alottastuff when they have no idea about their own. Take the plank out of your own eye before you comment on the speck in mine! We all got it. And if you think you don't, here's a criterion for you to measure your stage of Alottastuff. 

Just got out of college - stage 1
Just got married the first time - stage 2
Just got married the second time - stage 4
Just moved from an apartment to a house - stage 2
Just had your first kid - stage 3
Lived in a house more than one year - stage 2
Lived in a house more than 5 years - stage 3
Lived in a house more than 10 years - stage 4 (there is no stage 5)
If you're sentimental about your crap - stage 4
If you can't throw stuff out because "you might need it some day" - stage 4
If you redecorate often - stage 4
If you have off-site storage - stage 3 or 4 depending on the size of storage
If you have a garage but can't fit a car in - stage 4
If you work from home - stage 4
If you're a pile person - stage 4
If you spill from the master closet into the guest closet - stage 3 or 4
If you own more than 100 pair of shoes - stage 4
If you have a hobby - stage 3 or 4
If you live in over 500 sq ft - stage 2 or higher
If you have more than one vehicle in your family - stage 3 or 4
If you have more than one child - stage 3 or 4
If you have grandchildren - stage 4
If you can combine any of the above - stage 4

You got it. Admit it. You're plagued with the disease Alottastuff. Searching for a cure. Maybe I'll start a support group. In the meantime. Get rid of some stuff people. It feels good. If you don't know where to start, try moving. That'll reveal your stage of disease, I guarantee it. Hi, my name is Celeste Cunningham and I have Alottastuff.


Diane Davis said...

I came to your blogland to say hello and found this great post. I am: Guilty, guilty, guilty.

My friend Lisa P said something about stuff that stuck with me. She said it isn't just about the money, it's also about the energy every single item takes. Space in the home, the energy to clean it, the energy it takes because it takes up space, etc. I think about that before I buy something for the house now.

Oh, who am I kidding. I don't buy much because we don't have room, not because I'm concerned about energy. My name is Diane and I have Awholelottastuff.

Jennifer and Michael said...

Amen sister!!! A couple of months ago I got tired of picking up the tornado of toys that I was constantly picking up around the house. The disaster originated in their room and spilled over into the rest of my house. So, one day I decided to put EVERY SINGLE TOY in suitcases and put them under my bed. If the children didn't ask for it after a couple of weeks then I would give it to charity.

Well, needless to say, there has only been a handful of toys that they have asked for and the rest was given away. Funny thing, they play more with what they have and the mess is SO much more manageable.

After that, we did that through the entire house (me and Micahel too) and yet I am still amazed how much CRAP we still have. How did we EVER survive without all of it? It truly is a debilitating condition...this Awholelottastuff.

Kim and JD said...

Ok, I am a Stage 4 on SOOO many levels. Also, for the record I thought just the opposite, your house looked to crisp and clean, nothing piled, no drawers spilling over, empty closets a garage that you can fit a car and a motorcycle in. So I say good for you, I do not think you have TOO much stuff, you have done very well my friend. I decided that I wanted to get rid of stuff after helping Andi Simplify and pack, I am still working on it. Thanks again for letting us stay last week, it really meant alot to us and we had a great time. I hope you are recovering nicely and didnt get to many grey hairs from us :)

Kristi said...

Oh dear friend. You know how much stuff we had to get rid of to move into our brownstone (which is what we refer to our tiny condo as, since it is much more fun to act like we live in NY than a tiny condo in the OC) Anyway...after living in a hotel for 6 weeks, we came back and realized we didn't need have the stuff we have. So we are getting rid of more. I CAN'T wait. It feels so good. Sweet relief. So when is the next yard sale? Wives Gone Wild part deux? I'm in.

Andi and Michael said...

I'll be happy to join that Wives Gone Wild part deux garage sale! I still have awholelottastuff that I can part with. Believe it! I even moved across country in only a 26 foot truck and I still have more than I need. Better get busy going through my stuff!