Stuff Multiplies by
(290 Stories)

Prompted By Stuff

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I just decided to get rid of shoes and purses I don’t use anymore. Although I pledged to stop buying purses, somehow, I managed to purchase a few over the past year or two in an effort to find that elusive perfect one. I also tried a few large wallets with loops attached hoping I could to reduce the amount of stuff I feel I have to have whenever I leave the house. Of course, none of those were just right either. I definitely have an issue with stuff magically multiplying.

I definitely have an issue with stuff magically multiplying.

Four years ago, we moved from our big, old house where we lived for 45 years to a condo. In the run-up to the move, we got rid of lots of stuff. So, how did piles of stuff come back to haunt me in such a short time? There are a few things we could have left behind in the move, but during a pandemic, with most of my shopping done online, why do I still have too much stuff?

I didn’t grow up with lots of stuff. We lived in a small house which always looked neat. Of course, there was not that much available for my family to add clutter and my mother was meticulous about her housekeeping. Toys were minimal. We had a landline, stereo, and TV, which were all of our electronics. My brothers shared a small bedroom, which always looked neat. We were trained to fold and put away clean clothing so we could re-wear it, as laundry was a big deal back then. Needless to say, my bedroom was also small and I was taught to keep my things in order. Maybe the answer is that we didn’t have very many possessions to worry about.

For my kids, on the other hand, even with few electronics (anyone remember Pong or the Apple II-C?) their toys took over the house. Despite our efforts to teach them to put their things away, we spent every evening picking up toys from our family room, and their clothes often lived on their bedroom floors until I finally picked them up. Getting them to put the clean clothes from their laundry baskets into their drawers was a fail. They mostly wore the things right out of the baskets. Unlike my mother, I had a job and housekeeping didn’t thrill me. With three kids, there was just too much stuff no matter how hard I tried.

My daughter’s kitchen


My other daughter’s living room

Don’t get me started about their kids, my grandkids. Their stuff “runneth over.” Everyone needs their own phone, iPad, electronic games — and this is on top of all of their toys and the clothes that carpet their bedroom floors. There is just too much out there for them to consume. I must confess that, when they were younger, I made a huge contribution to this overabundance of stuff. And I must also confess to accumulating too much stuff of my own.

So, back to today’s effort to reduce the chaos in my shoe and purse collection. In four short years, I had done it again. After accumulating a huge garbage bag for Goodwill and putting the things I actually wear or might use in order, I had a brilliant idea. If I just ordered a tote bag on Amazon, I could fit my large wallet in there, along with other stuff I need when I want to have a book or meds and cosmetics with me to go places (think the doctor’s waiting room). Sigh. More stuff.

Wait, this is my kitchen!

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: funny, moving, well written


  1. Evidently we (humans) get attached to stuff in ways that we are not fully aware of – kind of like an ‘irresistible impulse.’

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    I agree that the post-war generation didn’t have nearly as much stuff as our kids or grandkids (or we do). Some of that is due to the proliferation of electronics, as you point out. But some, I think, may be due to mentality. Our own parents grew up during the Great Depression, so were used to being frugal. None of us had an over-abundance of “stuff”, unlike what we see today, or even what we gave our kids. And we worked and our lives were busy, so clutter ensued. I think it is a difference in generational thinking, as well as in affluence and readily available “stuff” (so easy to order online, peer pressure, social media, etc).

    And yes, we women are always in pursuit of just the right handbag to carry the right stuff, plus we need different ones to match different levels of dressiness for different occasions.

  3. Jim Willis says:

    Loved your story, Laurie. Right from the start when you mentioned all your shoes. I’m still trying to figure out how I wound up with a dozen pairs of Hokas (about $2,000 worth, I’d guess) when I only wear two pairs with any regularity. And my wife has been exhibiting great patience, above and beyond the call of duty, over my mushrooming guitar collection!

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Wow — a dozen pairs of Hokas. I only have one pair, which I loved until I didn’t. Now, I feel better about my shoes. No shoes that look nice to wear anywhere, but that’s the fault of my aching feet.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    We have somewhat parallel stories of stuff accumulating over time—but yours had children to accelerate the process! You describe it so well, and the pictures are wonderful too. I offer much empathy.

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