Too much stuff!

Like many reformed FIRE people, I have looked into the whole “minimalism” concept, and all the people who cheered for the idea. I can see how seductive it is, because many of us have reached a point where we can see that “stuff” doesn’t really buy happiness. Like a lot of you, my home is full of items I bought at one point in time, intending to use it a great deal, only to find that I rarely (if ever) used the item.

Mrs. 39 Months is much worse than I am. We have a bedroom which I have built shelving for and which holds nothing but box-after-box of her things (old clothes, papers from college, arts & crafts tools, etc.). I joke with her that she will end up on an episode of hoarders sometime.

At the same time, both of us frown on the whole “minimalist” movement, with folks living with “100 items” and competing with each other to see who can “out-minimal” each other. Life is to be enjoyed, and part of that is to have things that bring you joy. In addition, for those of us who live in areas that have major weather swings (100 degree humid months and 12 inch snow months) you need to have some items. We both have hobbies we enjoy (woodworking, knitting, music, etc.) so again – if the item brings you joy, don’t automatically toss it.

The one area that I can understand (and sometimes indulge in myself) are books. One of the “fun” things we do is go to Barnes & Noble, drink coffee and read – and typically buy books. Our home is choke-full of books, about 80% of them being hers. They lie all over the house, half-read and stacked on each other on any available flat surface. Still, it’s a relatively benign addiction, with the potential to provide years of comfort as we retire. Better than blowing it at the craps table!

As we approach FI and the potential of moving somewhere better for our retirement lifestyle (you just can’t retire in New Jersey, due to expenses) the thought of wading through these items and determining what stays and what goes fills both of us with dread. I figure I have one “move” left in Mrs.39 Months, so wherever we go, we will end up staying there. Of course that brings up the quest of where that “one point” is.

That is a topic for another time.


Mr. 39 Months

2 thoughts on “Stuff…”

  1. “You just can’t retire in NJ…” I smiled when i read that b/c my husband and I initially bought a weekend home in NJ that we thought could be a retirement home eventually till we realized the taxes and general cost of living would be ridiculous, hence selling our NJ place and buying into FL and Costa Rica. NJ, however, was where we amassed the most stuff — we had a large house there for the first time, after years of apartment living in NYC, and I love flea markets so we collected many things. When we sold our NJ place, we only had a NYC apartment, so we moved the extra things into storage, then a smaller storage, and then finally just a closet in FL. It took years and thousands of dollars of storage rent and junk removal costs. is really hard to get rid of your Stuff!

    1. I chuckled a bit when I read the comment, because its very true and mirrors our lives as well. It seems when you get a big house, you end up filling it with more “stuff”. We had a 1500 sf ranch house, and 15\2 years in, we added 1000sf to it by going up (making it 1-1/2 stories). Fast forward 10 years, and its full now. As I said in my story, we have a 4th bedroom just dedicated to shelves of boxes (stuff).

      I’m glad you were able to “kick the habit” and reduce. Its something that Mrs. 39 Months and I will be working on in about 2-3 years (once we hit FI).

      Nice website/blog. I’m going to add it to the blogroll

      Mr. 39 Months

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