My Beloved Stuff

Part 1 – “The Story of Stuff” Series

I was so impacted when I read the”Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard, both fascinated and horrified, I wrote a 7 part series about all it entails.  First materials are extracted to make the product, then it is produced, then marketed, then delivered, then it enters our homes taking a prominent position, then shifted around the house, and is eventually thrown into the garbage.  At least some of us change that trajectory a bit when we Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!    Here is the first article –

Seems I always call myself a minimalist but as I look around I realize, who do I think I am kidding?  My stuff is everywhere – tons of it!  We even have our “box room” where we store excess stuff, stuff we just might need someday. And it seems we are always busy taking care of our stuff.

I’m fortunate, since I have very few “wants”, I can more easily buy what I “need”.  My box room, closets and drawers are stuffed with stuff.  Although I imagine the assault of advertisers influences me more than I realize, I focus my spending on things I truly value – healthy food and travel.  I certainly don’t want more stuff to clean, sort, fix and shuffle around. It takes way too much time!

I still have my weaknesses.  When I feel crowded with stuff, I donate boxes of stuff to a worthy cause.  Once there, since it’s a good cause, I end up exploring and buying more stuff, stuff I don’t “need”.  Then when my closet feels crowded, I donate again.  Yeah, I have a revolving closet!  Don’t let my love of hoodies fool you – I have lots of clothes.

I recently read “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard and now see stuff in an entirely new way.  The author goes into great detail about the natural resources, energy and social costs associated with our stuff – Extraction, Production, Distribution, Consumption and Disposing – our Stuff’s Lifespan. Fortunately a lot of my stuff is second –hand so it isn’t made from virgin materials, but has become quite obvious, I’m still over-indulgent.

Annie Leonard wrote about the constant motion and expansion of “Jumbo” ships, many longer than three football fields, coming from China, India and other places in Asia.  These ships consume millions of tons of fuel per year spewing huge amounts of carbon.  In search of the buck, US businesses more frequently outsource manufacturing jobs overseas due to cheap labor costs, with minimal or no labor and environmental regulations. To add to the insult, many times US businesses ship components across the ocean to make gadgets that are then shipped back to us!  I’ve found if I’m not shopping at a small local store, almost all product labels say “Made in China”. Seems the advertisers cry to buy “Made in the USA” has dropped from their vocabulary.

How did we get so crowded with Stuff?  More to come.

The Story of Stuff Series

Part I – “My Beloved Stuff”

Part 2 – “The Costs of Stuff”

Part 3 – “Bring on the Stuff”

Part 4 – “Stuff Build-Up”

Part 5 – “Stuff Becomes Trash”

Part 6 – “Consumer Treadmill Pause”

Part 7 – “Healthier Consumer Practices”


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