Stuff as an Umbilical Cord

“The house is not merely a possession or a structure of unfeeling walls. It is an extension of my physical body and my sense of self that reflects who I was, am, and want to be.”
Karen Loller

If you’ve ever tried to clean out your closet or garage, you know getting rid of stuff isn’t easy, even if you never use it. Here’s what leads us to get so attached to stuff, and how that makes it hard to let go. From childhood, we form a connection with the things around us, especially those we personally own. This video from TED explains three reasons why we get attached.

Endowment Effect: You value something more once you own it. For example, if you value two items equally, but own one and are given the option of trading it for the other, you put a higher value on the item you already own and don’t want to trade it.

The Sense of Self: Often times, we include our things as part of our identity and sense of self. You probably have a favourite shirt or mug, and you favour it over similar items because you subconsciously view it as part of who you are.

I am not sure how old I was when Teddy came into my life, but I am guessing that he is at least 65 years old. He is a very old companion and I am not giving him away.

Ownership Connection: We imbibe our things with an essence that we believe is unique to the items we own. They’re special to us because we own them and when presented with a copy of the item, prefer the original. This extends to items owned by our family (heirlooms), celebrities or other notable people. We ascribe a higher value to those items because of who owned them, even though the items themselves often aren’t that unique. (from Lifehacker).

Unlike the simplicity, clearing clutter pages that abound on the net, this exercise is not about getting rid of stuff. This page is about identifying the stuff that you are attached to and exploring the source of this attachment.

What are the things you cannot let go of? What item, that you have a close attachment to, would you be prepared to offer to the muses in return for a cup of the elixir of creativity? What is something you just cannot relinquish?


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