Musings on Stuff and a Winner of “The Story of Stuff”

by Katy on March 19, 2010 · 2 comments

Congratulations to Jessica, whose comment on her relationship with stuff won her a copy of Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff: How our Obsession With Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and our Health — And a Vision for Change.

Thank you to everyone who entered to win. Here’s a small sample of some of the entries. Click here to read all the comments.


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!

Rhonda S:

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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


“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!


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’! :)

Aly R.

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!

Kayla K:

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.”

Alia Young:

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.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa March 20, 2010 at 9:36 am

Congratulations, Jessica!


Tracy Balazy March 25, 2010 at 8:17 am

I packed up the contents of our extra bedroom, which I use as my sitting room where I like to read, so we could paint. And I find that I like the room way better without all the knickknacks and gewgaws that filled the room. The lack of clutter and the newly sunny yellow walls make it a very attractive room to me now. I think a lot of the knickknacks will end up donated to the Council of the Blind Thrift Store.


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