LESS IS MORE

MORE STUFF? STUFF THAT! WHILE I’M ALL FOR THE SPIRIT OF GIV­ING, WE NEED TO RE­THINK WHAT FORM IT TAKES

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - RACHAEL JANSEN

As far as Christ­mas goes this year, I have two words: stuff it, and no, I’m not talk­ing about the roast bird. More and more I find my­self pan­ick­ing at the thought of Christ­mas for one rea­son: stuff.

It’s the panic of a woman who needs to de­clut­ter be­fore the next wave ar­rives.

It’s the panic of a woman who doesn’t want to buy more stor­age to fit more stuff. Or buy a big­ger house be­cause we have so much stuff, be­cause that’s what hap­pens in our so­ci­ety – we ac­cu­mu­late stuff and sim­ply keep ex­pand­ing our homes and stor­age units in or­der to hang on to it.

A sur­vey by the Aus­tralia In­sti­tute found 40 per cent of Aus­tralians feel anx­ious, guilty or de­pressed about the clutter in their homes, so I know I’m not alone here.

The sur­vey also found that most peo­ple have also bought things, like vac­uum stor­age bags, in or­der to deal with or store the clutter, in­clud­ing hav­ing built a shed or garage for that spe­cific pur­pose. The prob­lem is, stuff is cheap. Toys are cheap, clothes are cheap, trin­kets are cheap. The throw­away so­ci­ety we now live in is a clutter-fest wait­ing to hap­pen.

Stuff wasn’t cheap be­fore. Grandma’s crys­tal vases were ac­tu­ally crys­tal and given as a wed­ding present. A TV lasted decades if you hap­pened to be for­tu­nate enough to have one. Clothes were stitched and re­paired, not ditched and re­placed.

Now we have fantastic plas­tic, mass pro­duc­tion and, in many cases, more dis­pos­able in­come than our par­ents or grand­par­ents could have imag­ined. Even with a low bud­get, there’s cheap stuff to meet it. At the shops, I am over­whelmed at the shelves and rows of stuff. Each year I won­der where all this stuff goes. Re­ally, who buys it all? Most of it will end up in land­fill and that’s de­press­ing.

I’ve taken to on­line shop­ping, mar­ket stall pur­chases from small busi­ness and adopt­ing a more prac­ti­cal ap­proach or the ex­pe­ri­ence an­gle with presents this year. I love giv­ing, I love be­ing gen­er­ous but I don’t want to con­trib­ute to clutter and land­fill. Nor do I want any more stuff in my house.

Say­ing that, I have two kids and clutter seems to stick to them like mag­nets. So be­fore Santa un­loads his sleigh again, I need to clear the shelves be­cause the only way I want to feel stuffed at Christ­mas is from too much pud­ding.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.