I realize that the problem of excessive stuff is a problem of privilege, but bear with me. I'm mid-move, so stuff has been very much on my mind.
We sold most of our bulky (and some not-so-bulky) stuff. We filled a small storage unit. We shipped more boxes than I care to mention to Kazakhstan. And we STILL will have to carry extra luggage on the plane! Frankly, I'm not sure looking back how we fit so much stuff into our small apartment in Virginia.
Every time I move, I wonder if it's possible to return to the level of stuff I had, say, as a college student. I'm not sure how that would work out, though. Adult life seems to generate stuff. Most of us want furniture of some variety to make our lives more comfortable. If I didn't have cookware, I'd have to mostly eat out. I could possibly reduce my cookware collection somewhat, but I've learned through experience that having too few pots or pans poses a serious inconvenience. At this point, I've also aged out of being able to wear jeans and a t-shirt for every occasion, although it took me awhile to admit this.
So what I'm wondering now is where to draw a realistic line. At what point do we cross the line from having clothing adequate for every function and occasion to outright having too much? How much cookware do we need? Do we need to use each piece every day, every week, or every month to justify the space it takes up? What about craft supplies? How many beads/skeins of yarn/pieces of fabric is too much? Should craftspeople have only enough supplies for their current project? Or is it okay to buy something to use some day in the undefined future? Some of my favorite things I've made have been from materials I purchased without a clear plan, but has it been worth it to lug the extra stuff around?
And when we inevitable have to get rid of things one way or another, how to decide what to keep? Should it be strictly based on the utility of an item? Or does sentimentality play a role? What if the item was a gift for some milestone occasion, like a wedding or a graduation? What if the gift was handmade? Or expensive?
I had to get these thoughts down while they were still fresh on my mind. I forget from move to move how dreadful dealing with STUFF really is. Right now, I'm not sure I want to purchase any more stuff ever again. I hope that by putting that in writing, I can keep my resolve for a little longer.