In the modern era of too much stuff it’s difficult to imagine a time when people saved up for their furniture. They ate meals on a card table until a much-antipated paycheck allowed the considered purchase of a proper dining table. A table to last through the years, maybe even with an extendable piece for entertaining. Perhaps covered with a cloth to protect the polish on the wood. And placemats to protect the cloth. Crockery placed atop that would have been a wedding present, not a rash purchase in seasonal colours from Kmart.
Our great grandparents would turn in their grave at the notion of the cheap chipboard furniture we buy today. We put it out on the kerb after a couple of years of use, hoping someone else can squeeze a bit more life out of it. We needed the unit to house all the kids’ toys we accumulated in a fairly short space of time. They are mostly broken and discarded, replaced by the next fad.
Everything is cheap and disposable, and we have too much stuff.
Belongings were also once cherished, in the form of a ‘glory box’ where precious linen and keepsakes lived. They awaited their unboxing for many years until marriage. Bit creepy really, and it would never work today. Imagine thinking our whole life would peak at the point of marriage? Yipee! We can finally unveil the all-important shackles of domesticity. Also the colour palette used on tea towels a couple of decades ago would be an embarrassment in a modern kitchen. But I digress.
Things are more convenient now. Discount stores sell tea towels cheap enough that they are nearly disposable. One big lasagne spillage and it’s often easier to throw the stained towel away than try and get it clean.
Some people replace their computer printer every time it needs new ink, because it’s easier and cheaper than the refills.
Computer products alter their charging port every few years, forcing tangled drawers full of chargers into landfill. Which doesn’t really matter because the darned chargers seem to stop working two months after purchase anyway.
People spend their Saturdays at the plaza replacing those chargers. Buying the new season crockery. And another 20 tea towels.
Apart from the environmental problems of all this rampant production and consumerism, most of us just have too much stuff.
Too much stuff and counting
Being surrounded by belongings has a lot more cons than pros. it might seem handy to have 20 tea towels, but we still can’t find one when we need it. And can’t put new ones away because the cupboards are full.
Piles of laundry, toys and miscellaneous household items with nowhere to go find new places on benches and floors. Meanwhile we seem to lose autonomy over how we live. This can curtail creativity, clarity and freedom. Our house is meant to be a sanctuary where we go to recharge.
There is time and money wasted searching for and replacing items. There is difficulty keeping your house clean. And most importantly a sense of overwhelm with a messy house that controls you, rather than you controlling the house.
Hiring storage for all our stuff should be a last resort, reserved for situations like moving overseas for a spell or being in between houses. Otherwise it’s just another bill to pay. An out-of-sight-out-of-mind bandaid solution which you will have to deal with down the track. Or maybe not. Fun fact: in America punters can buy a dead person’s unclaimed and unopened storage unit.
It’s a lucky dip on a grand scale.