The Perceived Value of Stuff

Where does it come from, this value that we place on stuff?

We have a junk drawer.  This is an improvement because at our last house there were two of them.  It’s good to have a convenience center that has scissors, a magnifying glass, a small plastic partitioned box holding screws, nails, tacks rubber bands, etc.   (This is not where we keep the power cords to lost, discarded or unknown electronic items.)   But the drawer has developed a strange and familiar magnetism.   It has collected several small unidentifiable pieces of metal, an opaque plastic circle, a knob to something and small piece of string in a teeny, tiny Ziploc bag that came with I-wish-I-knew-what.  It is beginning to overflow so I have chosen a drawer in the garage that houses the extra trim from the refrigerator, the unused cords from the installation of the drapes, etc.

RATIONALE:  I’m not sure where the extra items came from so I am afraid to throw them away.  Either my husband or I is sure to ask the next day, “Have you seen a little thingamabob…?”

There are four cartons in the deep freeze, which are covered with the frost of years:  a box of flaxseed frozen waffles, one box of waffles made with corn, a package of halibut patties and a carton of chicken sausage.  I also keep running into two bags of pheasant legs from when my husband went hunting four years ago.

RATIONALE:  It’s food!  People are starving!  One of the kids who has a gluten allergy may want to have waffles with everyone else.  I am ashamed not to have used the wild game.  The fish patties were awful and the chicken sausage was greasy, but would someone else like them?

I own a set of electric curlers, a sack of wire brush rollers, and a collection of plastic rollers for use in case any of my friends should ever again require a permanent wave and simultaneously trust me to apply it.  (No hair on my head is longer than two inches and I have convinced all of my friends that frizzy white hair is a bad look.)

RATIONALE:  It is so great to have the perfect item at the ready just when someone asks for it.  What if one of the granddaughters wants curls for their dance?  It HAS happened.

A corner of the garage is stacked with boxes waiting for the day I have time to sort them.  Two are labeled “household décor” and three are marked “collectibles”.

RATIONALE:  This is a big deal.  Back in the days when I was coveting the family heirlooms of friends, I haunted the garage sale circuit.  As I accumulated the Heisey ice cream dishes, the plates marked “Made in Occupied Japan”, and the crocheted doilies; I was sure that their value would increase astronomically.  I would probably be able to put my children through college with my astute shopping.  If I admit now that they are of no importance, am I admitting that my time was wasted?  Am I questioning my own judgment?  It is relinquishing a past dream of affluence.  I felt RICH when I discovered these treasures.

I can’t talk about it anymore.  Thinking of all of this “stuff” makes me tired.

To be continued…


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