Story of Stuff Book Giveaway!!!

by Katy on March 16, 2010 · 91 comments

Annie Leonard, creator of the “internet film sensation” The Story of Stuff has just come out with a accompanying book, which is titled, The Story of Stuff: How our Obsession With Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and our Health — And a Vision for Change.

Usually I won’t do a book giveaway unless it’s a book I’ve actually read. However, the generous folks over at Free Press have sent me two copies of this book (one for review, one for giveaway) and I’m going to break my own rule and offer it up before I even crack the spine of my personal copy. I love, love, love Leonard’s video, and I have trust in this book.

To enter to win your own hardback copy of The Story of Stuff, just write a little something about your own relationship with “stuff “in the comments section below. I will randomly pick a winner on Friday, March 19th at midnight PST. Only one entry per person, U.S. residents only.

Leonard is coming to Portland next week to do a reading at locally owned Powell’s City of Books on March 22nd at 7:30 P.M., which I will be attending.

Click here to read Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish’s recent interview with Annie Leonard.

Good luck! Remember — you can’t win if you don’t enter.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

jenniwaka March 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm

I have a really hard time getting rid of ‘stuff’, but moving to the other side of the world and then back again definitely helped me learn what I do and don’t need. Hubby and I also love to use technology to preserve our memories without taking up space–we take digital photos of items and scan papers that are meaningful or useful to us.

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Cate March 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I would love to win this!

My relationship with “stuff” has really changed over the past year or so. I went from being fairly materialistic, seduced by cute clothes and baby outfits and sleek gadgets to not really caring much. I still like “stuff,” but I’m choosier about it.

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Glenn English March 16, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I love Annie Leonard’s video animation. I’m working to be more an more conscious about my relationship to stuff, and the Nonconsumer Advocate has actually been very helpful in my quest to be more aware. So often, just being conscious enough to ask yourself the question, “do I really need this?” is enough to make a difference.

Writing about this actually brings the film from 1985, called The Stuff, to mind. It was a great satirical commentary about consumerism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stuff

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toomuchstuff March 16, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I am looking for any info I can get on how to deal with the problem of too much stuff. How do you go about getting rid of the excess? Where do you begin?

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Katy March 16, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Check out http://unclutterer.com

Katy

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Klara Le Vine March 20, 2010 at 9:31 pm

even that felt overwhelming for me – does she have an entry for basic beginning steps?

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Random Thoughts of a Jersey Mom March 16, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I’ve never been one who likes clutter. But over the years, we have accumulated a lot of stuff. Within the past two years, we have donated, given away, and threw out a lot of things that we do not need. We are more conscious of what we buy now more than ever before. I am very interested in reading this book & learning something from it!

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Lorie March 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm

“Stuff”. Even saying the word makes me start to feel sort of bogged down. It represents all of the things that we collect but hesitate to list because, I believe for a lot of us, it would just take too long! A few months ago, a good friend of mine and I decided that we would work on using and buying less “stuff” so that we could save for a cross-country road trip. It has been interesting just taking account of all that we had accumulated over the years in our last apartment: books, blankets, bags, pots, pans, CDs, DVDs, unused cooking “gadgets”…the list could go on forever. Fortunately, we were able to give away or sell most of the stuff that we weren’t using–which was actually most of our stuff! Now, people who want to actually use it can enjoy what was once collecting dust, and we are a lot less bogged down. Ah, the sweet feeling of realizing that you don’t need much to live well and be happy!

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WilliamB March 16, 2010 at 5:16 pm

There’s something ironic about this particular give away…

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kim March 16, 2010 at 5:17 pm

i’m excited for this book – on my quest to get rid of “stuff” i will do my own giveaway of the book if i win. i’m in a spring cleaning mode :)

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Lydia March 16, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I have a love-hate relationship with stuff. I’m able to keep myself from buying most things, but clothing is my weakness. I also have a hard time saying no in an thrift or antique store. Reading your blog about letting things go has really help as has Annie’s great film.

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Gena March 16, 2010 at 5:33 pm

We hate ‘stuff’ so much we included the video on our wedding website in the Registry section! We had a lovely piece about asking for our guests’ presence, but understood some people enjoy giving as much as we do [we had stuff about the charities we support above this]. Then we wrote a bit about our support of worker’s rights and being anti-consumer and pro-local…then the video. We got SO much positive feedback from our friends and families…and so little ‘stuff’! :)

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Saving Her Life March 16, 2010 at 5:36 pm

“Stuff” has always been around me – and I am doing everything in my power to have a very minimal relationship with “stuff.” I’m reminded of George Carlin’s skit on “stuff” and how we buy bigger houses to hoard all of our “stuff.” “Stuff” sucks. :o)

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WilliamB March 16, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Stuff may suck but the Carlin routine is great. And not entirely worksafe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac Favorite line: “Have you noticed that their stuff is sh*t and your sh*t is stuff?” (Sorry about the language). It’s so true!

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Klara Le Vine March 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm

that was hysterical – did you know that line about after you put your stuff away, you’ve got to go get more stuff was actually used by Rubbermaid!!! if they had contests for funny ads, I would choose that one

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Sherry March 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Over the past year I have absouletly changed the way I veiw what is a “want” and a “need”. I chose to down size and change jobs to a less stressful but lower paying job, then my husband lost his job.When I think about all the money I’ve wasted on needless items I cringe. we made it through a very difficult time and have come out having more time and freedom to enjoy what is really important. Besides, who wants to clean all that stuff?

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kafi March 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm

My relationship with stuff is changing. I am becoming much more particular about the stuff I allow in my life. I now see (in a very real way) the connection between cluttered mind/spirit and cluttered surroundings and am working diligently at reducing the amount of stuff. I also want to spend less time cleaning and organizing, so having less stuff is imperative. The challenge is doing the hard self-work of figuring out what I value and love so that I can keep that and share the rest.

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~~Melissa March 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm

My Life Stages with Stuff (thus far):
1. hoarder -> 2. extreme minimalist ->3. obsessive thrift shopper ->
4. epiphany: don’t have to own it to appreciate it -> 5. non-shopper, separating wants from needs (ten years strong). I’d rather be hiking. ;-D

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Aly R. March 17, 2010 at 3:42 am

Ha! I will reluctantly say that you have summarized the evolution with a great sense of humor!

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Aly R. March 17, 2010 at 3:48 am

What I meant to say (whoops!) was that you have summarized the evolution with a great sense of humor… the reluctance part applies to my reluctance to admit that the stages apply to me. Of course we can all *wish* that we were born as clutter-free zen masters! :p

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Mary C March 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm

I am stuff challenged. I have way too much stuff and I am working on breaking up my love affair with stuff. I am in the process of de-stuffifying. I loved the story of stuff video, it really spoke to me.

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Hiptobeme March 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I need more canadian giveaway friends :(

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Sierra Black March 16, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Oh, me and Stuff. I just wrote a long essay for Babble about my sneaky habit of throwing my kids’ toys away because we just have Too Much Stuff. I’ve grown very unattached to Stuff in the past year since I’ve been doing the Compact. But since we’re Compacting, I can’t figure out where all the Stuff comes from. How does it keep getting into our house when I don’t buy it?

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Lisa P. March 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Hmm, I still like useful, functional & entertaining stuff but I’ve given up on trendy items and gadgets- gotta start somewhere.

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Catherine Chandler March 16, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Stuff stuff stuff…I’m a sentimental person and have a lot of family history and historical belongings. I’m currently trying to “simplify” my life so I’m finding that a lot of these belongings will have to go to other family members. Dividing them up is a bit challenging but is going to be good in the end. I’m only keeping those things that I can a. use or b. display in my home. Also out the door are books I’ll never read twice (which is the majority of my books because I rarely read anything twice–there are too many new ones to read!), clothing I don’t fit into and probably won’t wear again, and any other “things” that are generally not useful and not in use. It’s a looong process, between myself and my hubby.

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Jaryd March 16, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Where to begin … I’m constantly in purge mode for one reason or the other, but always have trouble resisting my gadget lust! I’m always talking about how people need to buy less things, but I’m drawn to the newest tech toy time after time. I think I’ve settled on owning fewer things that are higher quality, more expensive, etc …

I will hopefully still be spending less, while retaining only high quality items that I can use for years. A lot less turnover this way.

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Barbara March 17, 2010 at 2:15 am

My house is pretty small, and even though I am not buying new “stuff” anymore, I still find myself bringing home lots of “stuff” from thrift stores or yard sales. My house is cluttered at the moment and I notice that I feel anxious and stressed, unable to relax. When the “stuff” is cleared out, I have a sense of calm.

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Aly R. March 17, 2010 at 3:38 am

Ah, “stuff.” Over the past year or so I have increasingly recognized my dysfunctional relationship to “stuff.” I dream of living with a lot less stuff and am working towards that but I still have only made a small dent of progress in my overall large backlog of stuff. Seeing Annie’s video was one of the catalysts for the change that has happened so far in my way of thinking. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for extra motivation to simplify their life. I wanted to simplify before I saw it, but the video just gave me that many more reasons to do so. I no longer want to be a prisoner to the endless cycle of buying!

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Emily March 17, 2010 at 3:41 am

Our church youth group holds a big rummage sale as a fundraiser every June. I LOVE going through the house and finding carloads of stuff to donate. I think this year I’ll only have outgrown toys, though – I’ve already gotten rid of most of the other unnecessary stuff!

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Molly On Money March 17, 2010 at 3:45 am

Ever my husband and I have committed to our new budget we’ve found ourselves spending more time considering our purchases. Take our phone for instance, which is slowly dying. When you press the buttons to dial they don’t always work which can make for some interesting new connections. In the past I wouldn’t have waited for my phone to become completely defective to replace it. The moment it started getting shabby I would have run right out and gotten a new one. Now I’m putting all my friends on speed dial so I won’t have to press the buttons as often. When I’m at the store and I look at the prices of a new phone I cringe. Not so much for the price they are asking but because I can think of so many other places I would like that money to go first!

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Jessica March 17, 2010 at 4:07 am

I live in a small house that I love so I am usually very reluctant to bring home anything. (We lived for three years with only a couch, TV and coffee table in our living room and absolutely nothing else.) I tend to like empty spaces. Of course since the arrival of my daughters, things have become much more cluttered with toys.

I love Annie’s video – so excited to read the book!

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Jennifer Lorenzetti March 17, 2010 at 4:30 am

I am always balancing among “wanting stuff,” “wanting less stuff,” and “wanting the stuff I have to be used properly.” Right now, I find that “reusing” actually gives me the same satisfcation that shopping has, so I’ve been focusing on altering discarded clothes into usable items. I also make sure my crafting efforts generate usable, needed items, so I am not just making another thing to hang on the wall.

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HeatherS March 17, 2010 at 4:38 am

Stuff – I have a love/hate relationship with stuff. I’m extremely tempted to buy it but then can’t figure out where to put it. I’ve gotten much better at resisting the temptation by forcing myself to think of where I would put it before I can buy it. Most of the time I end up not buying it for that reason. The problem I have is kids’ stuff! It comes from grandparents, friends, school and I think it multiplies overnight. And the kids hate to part with it. Sometimes I find myself throwing it away behind their backs (they never notice) but I know that way is not training them on how to properly deal with themselves.

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Bellen March 17, 2010 at 4:47 am

6 years ago when we moved to FL, we got rid of 90% of our stuff. We have since added some stuff that is truly not necessary. We are back to paring down to the just necessary. Husband’s health issues requires it. My new motto is – if it isn’t used in a year, we don’t need it. Being realistic, I do not want to deal with a ton of stuff if health issues have a negative impact on our lives.

A few exceptions – generator, water storage containers – things we know we will need in case of a weather emergency, hurricane in our area, and since we’ve been thru a major one, we do know what is needed.

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Lisa Under the Redwoods March 17, 2010 at 5:30 am

I am nearing 50 and I have had a really great life (I hope to have another 30 to 40 years of great life, too). When I am gone, and when my children and grandchildren are gone, and all the people who have any memory of me are gone, I don’t want the last thing I leave on this planet to be a pile of garbage somewhere. I figure that just about everything I buy is garbage, or will be in a few years time. So I try to buy as little as possible while still keeping that great life going.

Last summer I painted the word “Enough” on the riser of my front porch stairs. I have made it my goal to have enough–not too little and not too much. It’s a hard goal to master as stuff keeps creeping in to the house, but I still keep plugging away at it. There’s always too much stuff and never enough hugs, and laughter. Those are things I am trying to bring into the house more.

If, by chance, I win this book, my plan is to read it and then pass it on to a local teacher for her library. Her students are becoming very aware of the environment and it is a great thing to see.

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Karen March 17, 2010 at 5:37 am

We moved to our new home in September and I have been slowly going through boxes and pitching left and right. I figure if I haven’t used it this long, I probably don’t need it. My husband and I are trying not only to not buy stuff but also to become debt-free so we even parted with his prized Harley Davidson motorcycle last night!

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sherri March 17, 2010 at 5:39 am

I still struggle with “STUFF”, mostly paper and clothing. I have two girls and I constantly deal with outgrown clothing. But we are planning a big yard sale, and all the stuff that doesn’t sale is going to Goodwill. I am a work in progress. LOL

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Linda March 17, 2010 at 5:51 am

I just cleaned out my closet this past weekend and gave away at least half of what was in there. I could still probably give away half again. On the other hand, there is a lot of stuff I don’t have that I feel I should have to be “normal”. Okay, I’m confused about stuff.

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Beth C. March 17, 2010 at 6:20 am

I have really pared down on purchasing “stuff.” Shopping used to be a form of recreation for me-not any more. I try to plan our meals using what is on hand, try to sell things on Ebay, and look to add only things that I actually need to my wardrobe. The older I get, the more I find that experiences (particularly inexpensive travel, which is something I should probably blog about) mean a lot more than “stuff.”
I love your blog-particularly your stories about finding it hard to get going in the morning :)

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Linda H. March 17, 2010 at 6:21 am

Hate stuff. Hate shopping. Do enjoy a good thrift shop now and then though. I have really become quite a minimalist. I have no “collections” anymore and have gotten rid of a TON of stuff over the last several years. It feels wonderful! The lightbulb finally went on that the more stuff I have the more stuff I have to clean, store, take care of, worry about, etc…It’s pretty bad when I need new clothes/shoes because I don’t even like to shop for them anymore. I work for a library. If I win the book, I will donate it to the libary to be put into the system after I have read it.

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Kate March 17, 2010 at 6:25 am

I’m trying to keep the amount of stuff in my life to a minimum. I want to be happy, not feel guilty for having stuff I don’t use and not feel guilty for wanting stuff that I may or may not need or event want. I try to make do, or do without, but sometimes that makes me feel guilty too. It’s a complicated relationship all over.

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Rebecca March 17, 2010 at 6:38 am

my husb is a hoarder and I’m a purger. We have a mixed marriage. but he has so much random stuff he swears he will use and then forgets about for years that I can give it away and he doesn’t know.

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Marianne March 17, 2010 at 9:22 am

My husband is a hoarder, and I am a purger, too — any other tips on handling the differences? My husband loves music and has lots of CD’s — all on his iPod– but won’t give up any of the CD’s either.

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JillP March 17, 2010 at 6:53 am

I’m in the process of reducing the amount of stuff I have. It seems the more I get rid of the less “stuffy” I feel :) I can actually breathe better. And I don’t want keep things I don’t use when somebody else could use them. I enjoy the things I use and the few decorations around me that I like to look at but I no longer feel attached to it. I love a clean uncluttered house (almost there!:)) I also find myself considering the social and environmental impact of each new purchase I make instead of mindlessly buying like I have in the past. It feels so much better!

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Kayla K March 17, 2010 at 7:10 am

My relationship with “stuff” has weakened, as I am doing the Compact this year! Although now I’ve found that I really, really like the “stuff” that I already have, and take better care of it, because I can’t run out and buy new.
After watching “the Story of Stuff” as well as Planet Green’s new show “Blood, Sweat, and T-shirts,” it’s hard to imagine my shopping habits to ever return to “normal.”

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carol March 17, 2010 at 7:23 am

I took 2 car loads of STUFF to Goodwill last week and my trunk is packed with bags of clothes to go to Salvation army today. I still have a way to go but my home feel soooooo much nicer already! I have stopped shopping except for food items and even that I have cut down on. Making sure nothing goes to waste.

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Mrs. B March 17, 2010 at 8:02 am

I loved her online video “The story of Stuff”. I have a problem with to much stuff. I am gaining on it though. We have two places and between the two I am trying not to duplicate stuff. We have our small two bedroom apt outside Seattle and a “Farm” outside of Spokane (we are going to retire there in around 5 years). It is hard to keep from buying stuff you think you need for one place and not the other. I am going to start listing stuff on Ebay, Craigslist and freecycle. It is sad / hard to have to deal with stuff. My hope is that my kids are never burdened with to much stuff. Thanks for keeping your blog going….some of us really need it.

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Jean March 17, 2010 at 9:02 am

A few weeks ago, I would have said I didn’t have a lot of extra “stuff”, then took on a Lenten challenge to rid myself of 40 bags in 40 days–anything counts, and it is amazing how many recycling bags there will be in my count as I shred tax returns from 30 years ago, etc. I am forcing myself to go through my basement, file cabinet, etc. and there are bags going to the DAV, Friends of the Library Book Sale, household and craft items to people who will use them, have a few items to try and post on Craigslist that will go to a charity if they don’t sell–I wondered in the beginning if I could come up with 40 bags, now I think it might be hard to stop at 40!

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Christy March 17, 2010 at 9:41 am

Great idea! I might have to do this for the month of April- 30 days, 30 bags.

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Marianne March 17, 2010 at 9:19 am

I think doing laundry over the winter put me over the edge with too much “stuff”. It is just DH and me, yet I was doing loads and loads of laundry every weekend, consuming my time. How can 2 people need so much? Plus, we were always “losing” things — now where did that red sweater go? I finally figured that if we had so many clothes they we couldn’t keep track, it was time for a change. We have about 4 big bags of clothes ready to go to Goodwill.

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Eleanor March 17, 2010 at 9:34 am

My entire relationship with my “stuff” changed when my Mother passed away and my two brothers and I had to clean out her home. All three of us were AMAZED at how much of her stuff was just that – stuff. Stuff that we tossed and tossed- too late we realized it would have been easier to have rented a dumpster. There was actually very little worth keeping or even donating to a charitable organization.
One brother summed it up when he stated: I have a new goal in life- to die owning only my Bible and my gi (his martial art uniform). Though I am only in my mid 40’s I am now aware that every time I buy something non perishable, SOMEONE is going to have to make a decision about what to do with it later on. It’s just simpler, when possible, not to buy it in the first place.

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Christy March 17, 2010 at 9:45 am

I have tried to stop collecting “stuff” but it still seems to sneak in. It has gotten better but I need to be strict and at least force myself to get rid of something old if new “stuff” comes home to roost.

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Elizabeth March 17, 2010 at 9:52 am

I have lots of stuff and it is winning the battle…I’m afraid. Made a pledge to myself to do better and your blog is helping! Keep up the good work!

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Sharron March 17, 2010 at 10:46 am

My daughter and I just completed a move from North Dakota to Tennessee in which we reduced our belongings from filling a 2600 sq. ft. parsonage to two cars and a few boxes mailed ahead. It was quite the journey! I’ve blogged about it at http://www.stewardshipoflifeinstitute@wordpress.com. Thanks for all you’re doing, Katy!

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Queen Lucia March 17, 2010 at 11:40 am

My relationship with stuff is changing as I purge. I’ve gotten rid of most of the obvious clutter and now I’m getting to the sentimental/valuable layer – and it’s getting harder! De-cluttering has definitely slowed as I try to deal both the emotional and practical elements of items I’ve never considered getting rid of before – but am excited to do so. Needless to say, this makes me MUCH more mindful of what I’m bringing into the house.

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wendy March 17, 2010 at 11:47 am

The following poem sums up my relationship with stuff. Enjoy!

Shopping
by Faith Shearin

My husband and I stood together in the new mall
which was clean and white and full of possibility.
We were poor so we liked to walk through the stores
since this was like walking through our dreams.
In one we admired coffee makers, blue pottery
bowls, toaster ovens as big as televisions. In another,

we eased into a leather couch and imagined
cocktails in a room overlooking the sea. When we
sniffed scented candles we saw our future faces,
softly lit, over a dinner of pasta and wine. When
we touched thick bathrobes we saw midnight

swims and bathtubs so vast they might be
mistaken for lakes. My husband’s glasses hurt
his face and his shoes were full of holes.
There was a space in our living room where
a couch should have been. We longed for

fancy shower curtains, flannel sheets,
shiny silverware, expensive winter coats.
Sometimes, at night, we sat up and made lists.
We pressed our heads together and wrote
our wants all over torn notebook pages.
Nearly everyone we loved was alive and we

were in love but we liked wanting. Nothing
was ever as nice when we brought it home.
The objects in stores looked best in stores.
The stores were possible futures and, young
and poor, we went shopping. It was nice
then: we didn’t know we already had everything.

“Shopping” by Faith Shearin, from The Owl Question. © Utah State University Press, 2002.

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TraciFree March 17, 2010 at 12:13 pm

My folks are very “stuff” oriented. In fact, my relationship with my mother is centered around “stuff”, mainly her offering me some new neat-o gadget or gizmo she bought and me turning her down. My lack of desire for stuff completely baffles her. Because I am not interested in “stuff” she feels she does not know me. Its kind of sad.

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Alia Young March 17, 2010 at 12:15 pm

My 9 year old son LOVES the Story of Stuff movie. Watching this movie over and over together makes it easier for him to wear thrift shop clothes and receive secondhand Christmas and birthday gifts. Because he has internalized some of Annie Leonard’s values, he doesn’t ask for many things from the stores. He understands my aversion to cheap, plasticky toys and why I get stressed out when there is too much STUFF in our house.

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Lisa March 17, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I’ve heard it said that we humans spend the first half of our lives accumulating stuff and the second half trying to get rid of it. If that is truly the case, I’m on a fast downhill slide!!! :-)

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Lindsay March 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Having a relatively small home helps me keep stuff accumulation in check. I just don’t have room to keep everything or buy everything I might otherwise.

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Donna Korzun March 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm

My former love affair with clutter/stuff is history! Through a spring I cleaning challenge I have begun the purging of stuff. It did not start overnight and will not end overnight! It seems I have emptied half the house, but more appears. It (stuff) shows up now in the basement, shed, a long forgotten box etc. My stuff did not accumulate overnight, it will not be shed overnight, but I will not be deterred. I want the simple life.

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Michelle March 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm

My stuff runneth over. :( I am trying to keep up with my son’s outgrown stuff, current stuff, and will-be-useful-in-the-future stuff… and my husband and I didn’t have a great Stuff Management program going on around here even before we became parents. On one hand, we have too much stuff (and/or what we have is not well organized); on the other hand, I keep finding out about BETTER stuff and buying it. *sigh*

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Rhonda S March 17, 2010 at 3:46 pm

How appropriate and also the story of us! We thought the American dream meant always trading up to the bigger house, which needs more stuff, to the bigger car.. to the latest and greatest and new and improved. Last year we joined the Compact, we’ve been shedding ourselves of all of our crap. We hope to be able to sell our house next year and downsize to something small,no formal diningroom, that suits our new mentality. We want time with kids, slow time, fun time and we discovered that the American dream, as it was, is not going to give us what we want.

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A. Marie March 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm

As usual, I’m getting much good advice from the other commenters. I particularly appreciated Eleanor’s remarks on learning from her cleanout of her mother’s place, and Queen Lucia’s observations on getting past the first layer of obvious clutter and being confronted with the hard decisions. Having had to do both mother and mother-in-law cleanouts in the last 5 years, I have those experiences constantly before me–and since I’m in my 50s and childless, I don’t have the luxury of assuming that my kids will take up the slack. So I’m trying. On the other hand, I’m a lifelong thrift shopper and don’t seem capable of driving past my local Salvation Army store without stopping in. At least I managed to drop off three boxes of books and not buy anything this afternoon!

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Becky March 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I love stuff. I can’t help it. I do try to curb my desire to acquire stuff; but stuff I have, nonetheless. A lot of my stuff falls into the “I could use this/may need this someday”-lofty-thinking category. Another category of stuff I have is “I worked hard on this, it shows how smart I am, & thus I should keep it”-stuff; ie. college papers, textbooks, teaching materials, etc. My earliest recollection of “stuff” is saving the wrappers from Starburst candy for MONTHS in a pencil box on my dresser as a child. Lord help me! :)

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Joy March 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I saw Annie Leonard on Colbert, and really want to read her book. My relationship with stuff is a constant battle.

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Sandy March 17, 2010 at 7:07 pm

My main “stuff” is clothes and books… while I have a hard time getting rid of books, I’m starting to get rid of the clothes. I have three, yes three, closets of clothes. I live in a small house, my bedroom doesn’t have a built in closet, but I bought an armoire to put my clothes in, it’s full. I have a closet in my front room for coats that is full of my clothes and I have a spare bedroom that is full of my clothes. I started slowly, going through each closet and getting rid of stuff that I knew I’d never wear again (out of style, too small, whatever.) Then a few months later, I went through the closets again and got rid of stuff that I hadn’t worn in over a year – I know a few things survived this test though. So now my goal is to go through these closets yet again and get rid of more items that I don’t wear on a regular basis or don’t think I will wear again. Slowly I am wittling down the clothes that I own. Hopefully some day I’ll be able to start with the books, books are much more important and harder to get rid of so this is definitely going to be an interesting challenge!!

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Laurie March 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I used to have lots of stuff as a teenager – mostly knick knacks and gifts from friends, cutesy stuff, things that defined me as me. When I got married and got my own house, I needed stuff to make things a home. But my stuff has always been organized. The last few years, I’m realizing how little stuff I actually need to make me happy. Lately, I’m choosing to spend my money on experiences, not things. I’ve paired down our stuff to the point that my husband suggested I become a professional organizer – so I did! My philosophy – the world outside is so chaotic. When I come home and close the door to that world, I want to see and feel peaceful. And most of the time I do.

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Nay March 17, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I have spent the last week going through 24 filled storage boxes kept in an unused bedroom. It is an overwhelming and long overdue task, but I am determined to convert the room from its present status as a huge closet into a study.

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missie March 18, 2010 at 3:12 am

I have to say that over the last couple of years I have scaled WAY back, way down and out! Lots going to Amvets or Goodwill. Years back my mom and I would frequent the flea markets……all sorts of goodies would come home! Now, a husband, two kids and a home later I’m getting rid of instead of bringing in. I don’t buy anything unless I have to – from anywhere. I could be better in a lot of ways, but I’m way better now than I used to be!! The book sounds just wonderful!

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Nancy March 18, 2010 at 5:44 am

I’ve struggled all my life with stuff. Even as a child I was collecting all kinds of stuff. My mother would bribe me with a week of camp so that she could throw away all my good stuff. She also worked hard making pretty curtains and bedspreads, but I couldn’t enjoy them because all my stuff was gone. The last time I went to camp, she had to bribe me with a watch to get me to go since I knew what she was going to do while I was away.
Today I still have stuff, but at least am trying to get rid of it all. Flylady.net helped. I just listed my house for sale two days ago. Now I really have to dump the stuff. No one wants to walk through an overflowing house, and I plan on downsizing, so I won’t have room at my new home for all this. Priorities have changed, but habits are difficult to break, especially since my grandmother lived through the depression and taught me not to throw away anything I might someday need.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t rely on God enough to supply my needs if I keep so much stuff around me. I want to try to use my stuff to bless others.

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Carie T March 18, 2010 at 6:20 am

This book will not be more STUFF that I accumulate! I would love to read the book, then pass it on. Otherwise I am going to have to go rent it at the library-because I don’t have STUFF anymore-unless you count my husband.

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This Thrifted Life March 18, 2010 at 7:12 am

Her video is so wonderful–I would love to win the book!

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Andrea March 18, 2010 at 7:37 am

I’m conflicted about stuff. I have way too much of it–my house is clutter central. But so much was not of my choosing–furniture and artwork that were handed down or cast off, toys gifted to my kids, my husband’s junk—that I feel opressed by it. Yet I want more stuff–nice, beautiful stuff, handmade wonderful crafty arty things, or lovely antiques. I really shouldn’t get this book (I have so many already), but I really want to read it and it’s not available at my library.

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Deb March 18, 2010 at 9:39 am

Over the past 2 years I have been seriously weeding through my stuff. As a former sufferer of “stuffitis” (and boy was there was a lot of stuff!) I have had 3 yard sales, taken more loads to Goodwill than I can count, given items away to friends & family who expressed a liking, re-gifting items, and selling some on Craig’s List. I want to have a final yard sale this June, and while I was going through the house finding things last weekend, my daughter said “what have you got left to get rid of!?!” The answer is, not much, but I’m not quite where I want to be yet. As the load of stuff in my life has lightened, so has my spirit.

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Judy March 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I have been an accumulator of “stuff” – the American Dream to see what we can acquire. In the meantime, we have become a society of excess consumers. We would rather buy cheap throw aways instead of things that last and/or can be repaired. We have polluted our landfills with these excess purchases.

In the last year, I have become better at getting rid of what I don’t need by donating or passing on to family and friends(only if they want it). I evaluate what I purchase and try to get rid of one thing if I bring home something “new” – this can be new or gently used – into the house. I shop thrift stores before buying new. I use my library more. I have been challenging myself to get rid of 100 items a month and have done better than that. I have considerably downsized my belongings but I still have a lot more to do.

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Elisa Wells March 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I have a love/hate relationship with stuff. I love haning on to stuff, since many things can be used for other purposes. For instance, I just used the remains of a sheet I originally got at Goodwill to make my daughter a costume to make cat nip balls for the animals at the humane society. Had I thrown out the remains of the sheet, I would have had to get more fabric for the next thing. But, too much stuff is definitely an issue in our house. So, I’m focusing a lot on trying to not bring in new stuff.

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Rachel March 18, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I was amused to read the comment above from the woman who kept Starburst wrappers as a child because I did the same thing! The two of us were strange children, it seems.

This year my husband and I embarked on a year not buying anything (with a few exceptions, like food). It has been a healing time for me, to say the least. If I had to sum my experience up in one phrase I would say, “We define ourselves as consumers but the truth is that we are the ones being consumed.”

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Susanne G March 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Tightwad Gazette indeed influenced me to change almost everything; she was WAY ahead of her time, although she was accused of being BEHIND the times!!

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Pam G. March 18, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Throughout my life I have saved so much stuff that was given to me by the people I loved. I have moved and cleaned and stored these things SO many times for so long. But it seemed impossible for me to turn loose of these things. As I get older, I find it is getting a little easier to let go of things. One day I realized that these people (some long gone…dead) will always be in my heart…and finally I am starting to turn loose.

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Kelly March 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I’ve started to see “stuff” in a whole new way these last few years. I’m trying to find the balance between useful/meaningful stuff vs. all that other stuff. I love reading blogs like yours that help me keep focused.

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Mary Kate March 19, 2010 at 2:56 pm

We try to keep “stuff” coming into the house at a minimum. I like to say that our house is on a diet, this year we are really committed to getting rid of stuff. I’ve even made special trips to Good will to donate trunkfuls of stuff.

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Valerie Heck March 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm

In August my husband and I bought our first house and I have vowed to keep it uncluttered. The attic is empty, so is the storage area in the basement, and the garage is pretty good. We’ve seen both of our parents become overwhelmed by all the crap they store in those three rooms. If things are piled on top of each other I won’t use them and I ask myself do I really need that.
I’ve donated quite a bit this year, no clutter means a clear mind for me. : )

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Nancy March 19, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I’d love to win this book…then give it away. I was downsized from a job and a house 6 years ago so I was forced to sell a lot of things I thought I had to have to be happy. I don’t miss any of it. I read books from the library and check out movies too. I also make bags out of bicycle inner tubes. I love keeping a few things out of the landfill. I buy very little now out of lack of funds but I’m fine with that. I’m still working on the clutter though. I still have boxes unopened from 2 moves ago. Yikes. Love your blog!

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Marissa March 19, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Hi, the video was great. So true. I would love to read her book & share it with a few people.

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namastemama March 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm

The desk my computer is sitting on came out of a dumpster at my hubby’s work YEARS ago. The drawer sticks from time to time and one leg is crooked. I want a new one. I have shopped a new one time and time again. but The Story of Stuff haunts me. I don’t NEED a new one. This one works great. It’s really big. The printer fits on it nicely and the file cabinet underneath. I can even go to a local office supply reuse store to get a hutch if I like. I even made my 8 year old watch and take notes. It’s that important.

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marge mckoen March 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

We have my 83 year old mother with us with alzheimers and really had to pitch junk and de-clutter ,so she does’nt drop anything and get hurt and it really has helped us get rid of junk we didnt need anyways.

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heather y March 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Thanks for the great giveaway!

My stuff story is simple. I have very little of it. Each time I move I purge and donate old furniture, clothes, etc. My boyfriend is a pack rat. We have a one car garage that neither of us can park in because it contains his extra fridge, washer and dryer and two dishwashers. EXTRA! Maybe I can read this book to him in his sleep to make him change, lol!

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Molly Capel March 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I definately like stuff! lol Although I ‘m trying to get rid of some of the things I’ve accumulated.

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