stuff matters, whether you need a little or a lot

Yesterday, I caught this brief interaction on Twitter:

What gets to me is if stuff truly didn’t matter, even the minimalists would be able to get rid of all of it. But most of them talk about the value they still place on a few things. Leo loves his laptop. This woman hasn’t taken off her wedding band since the day her husband put it on her. Joshua still has favorite things.

When I talk about how much I love stuff, I’m not calling for hoarder-like obsession. I’m not interested in unchecked consumerism. I’m talking about the intimate relationship we feel with certain objects, about the positive associations and experiences we have with certain things. Far from feeling like a burden, for me, stuff makes me feel fulfilled.

But I think it’s important to acknowledge that we all have a different tolerance for the AMOUNT of stuff in our lives. I call this our stuff metabolism. Just like all of our bodies process food differently, so do all of us process stuff differently. For some people, a lot of stuff is overwhelming. For others, it’s exhilarating. (I’m addicted to the TV show American Pickers, and the high these guys get when they enter a barn filled with stuff is proof of this.)

Stuff DOES Matter isn’t about the quantity of stuff in our lives, it’s about the quality. Tara may not need a lot of stuff to live well, but you don’t have to be her best friend to see that stuff matters to her. You don’t start a website called Handmade in PA if you don’t think that things are important. Tara understands the role that stuff plays in her life, and she’s well on her way to figuring out her sweet spot, the amount of stuff that’s right for her life at this moment.

Just like I think minimalism isn’t a solution for everyone, I also understand that we all need a different amount of stuff in our lives. What I’m hoping for is that we can all acknowledge that the things we choose to surround ourselves with do have meaning and value, regardless of whether we have a little or a lot.

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