Material Possessions - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Material Possessions

For the past couple of months I have been on a quest to reduce the amount of stuff I own. Not sure why or where it started, I think I was looking at all my things one night and though ďdamn, do I really need all this?Ē and it somehow went on from there.

As a previous hoarder I had a lot of things, near 300 films, about 200 music albums, a small library of books and entire rooms filled with junk and trinkets. In the end I had to ask myself if I was really going to watch those movies again, if I really needed the whole album if there was only one song I liked or would I really get around to reading those books that have been sat on the shelf gathering dust for the past five years?

The answer was always a resounding no and so began the exodus of my belongings. Some went on eBay, some were given to friends, some donated to charity and a lot was thrown away. I now sit here with just two tiny boxes, all my worldly possessions fit inside, 2 films, 1 music album, 4 books and some sentimental items that I will soon get rid of in the coming weeks and you know what? It feels great, so liberating.

If I had to move home tomorrow I could carry everything I have by hand (my clothes fit inside the second box) and make a totally fresh start. I have no television, no Xbox or games console, no three-piece suite and not even a toaster. Life has never felt so much better and it made me realise how much useless junk I had weighing me down. My possessions arenít going to dictate who I am anymore.

So I ask the rest of you about your material possessions; do you really need them? What could you live without? Have you ever tried getting rid of it all as well?
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 02:38 PM
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I could live without everything.
I'd really rather not, and hell no, I haven't tried getting rid of anything.
Are you kidding me? I have a near breakdown at the thought of getting rid of old clothes.

sugar sugar sugar

And I just can't keep living this way
So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage
I'm standing up, Imma face my demons
I'm manning up, Imma hold my ground
I've had enough, now I'm so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 02:45 PM
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I have thought a lot about this as well. I have generally kept my possessions few, but expensive, like tv, computer and so on. I have been thinking tho, that it all may be a waste of money. I will have more money soon, and have thought instead of spending it on things, instead id spend it on events or training of skills, things that i think only increase in value, not decrease. I wouldnt get rid of many of my possesions (i have clothes, a computer, tv , video game system, cell phone and a 4-wheeler, all of which i use daily) so im kinda on a good start. I do tho want to watch less tv, and do like i said-go out side and do and learn things.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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That is some good logic bobthebuilder

Focusing on things that can increase as opposed to decrease in value. Oddly enough the money I made from selling things has indeed gone on a few evening education courses and even better, booking a trip to the Himalayas which is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. The way I see it, when Iím on my death bed, I will rather have great memories and experiences rather than a house full of old junk that needs to be taken care of.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 03:54 PM
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i dont have much material possessions.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Observer View Post
So I ask the rest of you about your material possessions; do you really need them? What could you live without? Have you ever tried getting rid of it all as well?

There are things I have I could live without. I could live without the external monitor for my laptop, my kindle, or my pile of books, for instance. I don't really have a lot of stuff to begin with though. When I moved into my current apartment a few years ago I got rid of a lot of stuff I didn't need.

The things I have the most of are my books. I still re-read parts of them often, so I'm not so quick to give them away. I bought a kindle to make my pile of books more manageable and it has helped a lot.

Every so often I go through my apartment looking to see if there's anything I can get rid of. If I can't justify keeping it I donate it to Goodwill or toss it.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 04:39 PM
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Wow. I admire your dedication to the philosophy. But what about kitchen stuff and whatnot?

It amazes me how much stuff I own. I could easily live with much less. But I live alone in a big space, and it feels empty as it is.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 04:53 PM
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Life is definitely simpler with less "stuff"

I have been getting rid of things this year, ebaying and such. Theres just a whole bunch of crap around the house I just dont need.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 05:44 PM
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A lot of my stuff is important, just crammed into a small space of my bedroom, which I've sort of had to make into an office/bedroom/entertainment thingy. So it seems cluttered.

But I've got some useless junk. Little porcelain figurines (packed away in a box), a half-broken stereo I don't even use, old magazines, drugstore products I used once and didn't like (like my neti-pot, wtf).

One of my few triumphs was getting rid of my huge amount of burnt CDs, it was great to rip them to my external hard drive and put them all in recycling. Lots of space saved there.

I just hate seeing and thinking about clutter and mess, and even the thought of huge amounts of useless stuff packed away creeps me out.

I'm not interested in giving up things I actually use and enjoy though. We only live once, why not enjoy the laptop, the mp3 player, kindle, etc
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 06:21 PM
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Even though I have always kept possessions to a minimum, I have gone through throw-away sprees. Feels niiiice.
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 06:27 PM
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I like doing this every so often. I threw and gave away most of my stuff when I moved to the UK. It felt great. I did it again 10 years later. All that I have now fits into two suitcases.

and then, these bouts of purging are closely followed by possession foraging. it's during these periods that I find myself really needing stupid things like, I don't know, codpieces. electric dog polishers. salt cellars and cigarette holders.

Live Cage Free!!!! or, at least be wild caught.

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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 08:11 PM
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This is something I've been giving a lot of thought since I came back from my first super duper international road trip last year. I brought a bunch of stuff with me that I didn't end up using, but the fact that I was so worried about losing it made me think about what was necessary and what wasn't. I didn't feel like throwing anything away because I knew I and my things were going back home, where there was space to keep things.

It wasn't until I started planning my super duper international attempt to move to another city that I really started assessing the value of the things I owned. On my first road trip, I took a bunch of clothes and food with me and my car was almost full, but now I was actually moving fo' reals so I had to somehow figure out what I was going to come with me and what was staying. After figuring out what I could live without I gave away or sold a bunch of stuff, and the rest went on a 10,000 mile road trip with me.

Moving to another city didn't end up working out and I came back, but the trip was so stressful and I became so anxious about losing my stuff or having it stolen that I began to assess what was really important and necessary a little bit more carefully and I became a little bit less sentimental about my possessions.

While examining my possessions again I constantly wondered why I had kept so much crap. Loading and unloading my car, figuring out where to keep everything, and stressing out about the idea of losing or breaking anything made me so angry about the whole experience that I began seeing things a little bit more objectively and a lot of the stuff I kept lost a lot of its value.

Needless to say, it felt liberating. Maybe it was the anger, and maybe it was the desire for a change, but getting rid of bags full of stuff I kept because I thought I would use later made me feel much better. This is how I decided to be less emotional about getting rid of old things that didn't really have any sentimental value, and more careful about obtaining new things that were not really useful.

I don't want to worry about storing, organizing, and moving things. If I ever decide to move again, I want to move with freedom and without feeling like the things I own anchor me to a specific place. I don't want to feel the guilt associated with knowing there are things I own that I don't use or should be using. I want to move on and stop lamenting not being interested in old hobbies anymore despite owning many old hobby related possessions. More importantly, I don't want my physical possessions to be the source of my happiness or my well being. There might be things that I will always use, like a laptop or a music player, but I don't want to feel like not having certain things will cause my world to crash and burn.

The other thing that has made me feel less sentimental about certain things I feel kinda attached to? Valuing people and meaningful experiences over physical things. The crappy life I've lead due to SA related problems inspires me to disconnect myself from the hobbies I've always associated with a lonely lifestyle, and connect more with people and the positive experiences I've avoided due to fear and insecurities. I could talk more about this, but the post is obscenely long already.

Here are some awesome blogs that might be useful for whoever wants some help or inspiration about this topic:

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 08:18 PM
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I have tons of junk that I will never touch again. CDs that I haven't touched in 10 years, clothes I bought and never wore once, old computer parts and monitors, old video game systems, old textbooks that I never sold off. It's just all junk. Not worth selling, and I doubt the second hand store wants an 8 year old computer keyboard.

I want to just make a big fire and burn it all. That's good for the environment, right?
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 08:24 PM
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I recently got rid of a lot of stuffed animals that I could NOT part with. The child in me loves them.

My main reason for doing it was.... to make space for new ones.

GOD its so bad.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 08:49 PM
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I got rid of a ton of junk a few years ago and even more this past year. It felt nice getting rid of all the things I don't use.
I would not being willing to get rid of so much that I'm only left with two tiny boxes of stuff though.
I collect dvds and I have watched and plan to watch each a few times in my lifetime. I also have a large music collection, but it is all stored on my computer and external hardrive so it doesn't take up space. I could live without it all sure, but I enjoy listening to a variety of music and watching movies and I do it often so there'd be no point in getting rid of them.
I also like my surroundings to feel comfortable and look nice. I have furniture and I like to decorate with things like candles and wall art, but I don't really own that much and I don't like to spend a lot of money on material possessions.
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 08:54 PM
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Someone who has a driving need to rid stuff is the opposite of a hoarder, aka a "minimalist".

The nice thing about hanging onto only things you really need makes it easier to clean, organize, find things, and relocate if you have to.

All of my worldly possessions could easily fit into a studio apartment and still have some living space.

I hate "junk" with a passion and am always on the lookout to make sure it doesn't stay in the way too long.
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Itís certainly nice knowing that others feel the same, perhaps we could launch a sort of minimalist new world movement?

I should point out that I donít mean to attack those with televisions, mobile phones or masses of movies and music. If that is what you like then so be it, nothing to do with me, I only meant that I myself had no use for them. When I realised that I was only watching 30 to 40 minuets on television a week (and then it was mostly news that I could read on line) I decided to get rid of the television. Likewise if there was some article that I liked in an old magazine then I tore it out, why keep the whole thing if I only want a few pages? That was the drive behind my logic.

There is a problem though. Last weekend I went to a shopping mall (I guess you can call it a minimalistís nightmare) and felt quite disgusted by what I saw. People were all pushing and shoving each other just to grab the stuff off the shelves, kids were screaming for the most expensive new toys and parents, already weighed down with a load of shopping bags were only too quick to throw more money away. There is a massive problem with credit card debts here in the UK, with behaviour like that I can understand why.

Do people need all that stuff? Does it make them happy or merely patching up a broken hole? Perhaps it is not for me to judge, they are them and I am me, but the sight of people in supermarkets with their trolleys overflowing with copious amounts of food that they will never eat strikes a chord of sadness in my heart. Buying for the sake of buying, consuming for the sake of consuming, week after week the pattern repeats itself. At first I thought I could get rid of old stuff and replace them with new ones but I am finding that incredibly difficult.

As others have said this is certainly a cut-throat lifestyle, I have to seriously consider each purchase before I make it (apart from food and cleaning goods, the amount of purchases I have made in 2011 stands at: 0) and old dreams have to be killed off so that drum kit I never got around to learning was the first to go. The cool thing is that I am no longer the guy who never learned to play the drums, I am now the guy with the money and space to do something else.

Good luck to others who are considering, attempting or doing the same thing. ozkr posted some great links too, well worth checking out.
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 03:07 AM
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This is very much one of my philosophies. I'd be happy just camping out in a cave with a guitar and backpack.
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 06:46 PM
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Another thing I've been trying to deal with regarding owning things is this weird feeling I get when I've had something for a long time or when I've spent too much time with it, so it becomes harder to get rid of them even if I haven't used said thing for a very long time. It's as if some sort of commitment or loyalty to an object or a hobby kept me from accepting that I might have moved on and that I no longer that object or thing.

On a similar note, I'm trying to detach myself from idea that I have to keep certain things because of the potential nostalgic value they might have in a distant future. This idea originates from the experiences I've had where certain objects, sounds, or smells create a strong nostalgic feeling that causes me to revisit old memories in a very positive and vivid way.

Because some of the things that evoke such feelings and memories are so random, I can't foresee what is going to make me feel that way or when I'm going to feel that way, so I keep things that are not even that meaningful or don't evoke any emotions... yet. In a weird way it's like a collector's mentality, but instead of keeping things that could increase in monetary value in the future, I keep things that could increase in personal and nostalgic value.

But since I can't predict what is going to make me feel nostalgic, I've come to the conclusion that I'm basically forcing nostalgia to happen instead of letting it happen naturally and spontaneously as it did in the past. Maybe something will remind me of old times and good memories, and maybe it could be a picture, a song, a smell, a conversation. Whatever it is, I want it to happen without having to rely on things stored in boxes that clutter my space and currently make me stressed.

Who knows, maybe the key is to try to live a good life now and have new experiences instead of always living with a five year delay in which I'm always enjoying the past more than the present and I'm always thinking about how, in hindsight, things back then were not as bad as I thought.


Anyway... can anyone relate? Has anyone kept stuff for similar reasons?

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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 07:30 PM
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I can definitely relate to what you've said. Although, I did have to read your posts twice since you had so much to I have issues with hanging on to stuff and then wanting to be a minimalist because clutter drives me crazy.

Recently, I've become determined to get rid of everything I don't need. I plan on moving across the country. I don't know where yet, but I'm not staying here. And, I'm not moving anything that won't fit in my car. I will store anything I must keep, but everything else will be sold or given away. I've already given away a lot of stuff in the last few weeks, and it feels great .

I have moments of regret, though. I think that I will miss that item one day. Or, when throwing something out...I get sad like I'm hurting someone's feelings because they gave it to me. But, if I don't use it or need it, why keep it? I have kept every single card that has been given to me since I was very young. I threw a lot of those away. It has been really hard to get rid of this stuff. But, I never look at just follows me around in boxes.

And, yes, I always anticipate that I need to keep something because it will be something I will want to "remember" or feel nostalgic over. I've decided recently to break this habit.

Now that I've gotten rid of a bunch of stuff, and I'm even more organized, I don't want to buy anything, either...just what I really need.
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