In preparation for this new thread on stuff, I spent much of the day talking and thinking about it at the perfect venue for this sort of thing: a yard sale.
Friends of ours were having one and invited us to piggyback on theirs, so we had a “multi-family” purge on a sun-baked California street corner. My daughter was scotch-taping the signs up around the neighborhood (which is why they are knee-level for a tall adult), and then I hauled our crap, I mean stuff, onto that lawn. And people bought it.
It was cleansing. The families hung out and talked about this odd tyranny of stuff. The other family was getting dirty looks from the mom/mother-in-law, who is a bit of a hoarder and couldn’t quite believe what we were giving away. My friend was walking out with something or other, allegedly a thing of beauty, and his mother-in-law interrupted her phone conversation to raise her eyebrows and say: “That was a wedding present from [so-and-so], you know.”
He chortled. It was his dang wedding, and a fun one, and it’s his dang marriage, and a good one, so where is the law that says he must forever junk up his house with crap, I mean stuff, that he never wanted in the first place?
The ladies did, however, share how hard it often has been for them to part with their stuff. The other mom had already tried dumping the baby things once, and said she was overcome by a sort of “nausea” and had to stop. This time, fortunately, she was ready.