I have moved house twice in five months. I am not done with the second yet. Due to condition(s), it will take time. I am still picking up stuff from other places. Some are boxes with stuff that hasn't really been used for many years. You know, the sort of "Good-to-keep" stuff or "If I throw this away now I will surely need it next week" or "This is very nice looking stuff that are stored away but some day I will put it on the wall". Maybe it will look nice in 20 years time, but probably not. Then there is also "I will never need this but the children/grandchildren might some day". Yes, there is always "some day". Planning for the future. Or, rather storing for the future.

One of George Carlin's many great talks is about stuff. You can probably find it on the web.

Moving means one is forced to reconsider a lot of stuff. Some is crap:

"Hey, it is crap, but it is MY crap!"

Some can be useful to unknown others and donated to charities. Just be careful not to donate crap. One person's crap might be another person's utility. But there are folks that call charities to donate their old furniture that is really crap. But they avoid taking it to the dump themselves. Lazy assholes. As a side note, we do have a good system of recycling in Sweden, though I suspect not all electronic and chemical waste actually does not get dumped on places where they are not desired.

Another motivation for saving stuff might be that it is worth money. Some day in the future. Like that old ashtray, or a snorkel of unusual design. But why save it? Try sell it now or give it to a collector friend.

Then there are those things we associate with persons. Some of which are no more with us. I have some of those things. Some are furniture I love and I consider heirlooms. Not that they are valuable things from the 18th century or so. But they are valuable to me. And very useful. Some smaller things that I connect with past generations are not valuable (I doubt it) and not useful, but I still keep.

Easy-to-rid-oneself-of-stuff are things that we associate with persons we do not care for anymore. It can sometimes even be a catharsis of sorts.

It is amazing how one can find stuff one didn't know one had. Rich people with old castles probably experience that, and maybe we non-rich people in some weird twist of historical "progression" are mimicking that.

Storage. In the U.S.A. it seems storage facilities are used a lot. Maybe people over there have "more stuff!" (to quote Carlin), but I guess it is also caused by the higher spatial (but lesser social) mobility of the society. I myself have used storage for a while. It is only temporary. It is convenient. A necessary evil. Yes, I know "necessary" is personal, subjective and a trifle hoardish.

Moving house is fucking tiresome. It is even more tiresome when one is fatigued to start with. However, it is a forced opportunity to do some housecleaning, mental and otherwise.

I've even gotten rid of a few books. I like books, but I can't keep everyone of them. And I do not want to buy any more bookshelves.


  1. Two moves in five months is a lot – I’m not surprised you still have a lot of stuff to get through. We last moved almost a decade ago and we have boxes that have not yet been unpacked – I keep threatening to take the lot to the local tip, but probably never will.

    Keeping stuff for the grandchildren is something that had never occurred to me until the first time we went back to the UK after my first son was born. Suddenly my parents produced a mass of toy cars and Lego bricks that I’d last seen 30 years previously. I have to admit that it was a nicely nostalgic touch for me.

    That said, a lot of our kids’ stuff has been traded within the extended family – received from older cousins and then passed on to younger cousins.

    The reason I started writing this comment, though, was your line about getting rid of a few books. I also got rid of a number of books during a move. It wasn’t a deliberate decision on my part, but I did learn something: If you are going to use bin sacks to transport lots of books, always pay attention when someone tells you they are going to put the rubbish out.

    I shall have to search for the George Carlin talk later tonight.

  2. I am sorry to hear you lost books. 🙁

    Speaking of Lego, I am a keeper of that for my (adult) children. No grandchildren yet. Lego is quite fun for all ages. I (like many others) built a Raspberry Pi case from it. That was when there were no cases available yet. Lego is crazily expensive and easy to store, so it is a “natural” family heirloom. 🙂

    It is reusable, although the old plain bricks were more basic building blocks and the fantasy more in the mind and hands of the user. I recall having read that real lego nerds buy big sets of basic blocks.

  3. I was pretty annoyed when I realised what had happened to the books – not least because I had no-one to blame but myself. That said, though, many of the books were ones that I read once and never had any intention of reading again, so it’s not the end of the world.

    As for the Lego – I’m not sure whether I or the children enjoy playing with it more 😉

    It is fantastic stuff and I do agree that the simpler, basic blocks are a lot better than the more specialised pieces they keep selling these days. A brick is a brick and can be made into anything, and the more specialised pieces do lose that flexibility.

    I did see a photo of someone’s Lego collection on (I think) Boing Boing, it was truly massive and all of the thousands of bricks were carefully sorted by colour. It takes a lot of dedication to achieve a collection like that 😉

  4. We moved to this house 14 years ago because it was bigger. Now we have more stuff, and so we have no more room than we did in the smaller house.

    One of my favourites: “Stuff is junk we keep. Junk is stuff we throw away.”


    Inscius: Can you make your Atom/RSS feed give full posts? Right now it’s only giving the first paragraph, so I have to click through. Kinda defeats the purpose of a feed reader…

    • Bob,

      Stuff certainly seem to follow the gas laws inasmuch as they do fill whatever space is available.

      That quote is great. Somehow reminded me of “dirt is matter in the wrong place.”.

      I do not use feed readers (only Iceweasel), but now when I tested to put a few WP blogs into Akregator, I do see what you mean. Some show, some do not. I know little of it, but I will look into it. Suggestions welcome 🙂

      – Mikael

      • I use feed readers for everything 😉

        I think the first place you need for the posts/excerpt thing is is the Settings > Reading page on the WordPress dashboard.

        There is an option in there that says For each article in a feed, show… I have this set to Full Text.

        • Thank you, Paul, for the tip! It workssss. 🙂

          Thank you Bob, for pointing it out. 🙂

          I had no idea settings could affect what a feedreader shows. I just thought they somehow sucked up the whole site. But they do reed the feed (doh) provided by the site. Probably obvious to everybody but me 😳

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