Here’s a major project right now: cleaning my room. I just moved out of the bigger bedroom in our house into the smaller one.
I’m generally not this messy. Really. I promise. My friend and I were having a conversation about stuff (it’s evident from this picture that I have quite a bit of stuff). We were talking about how it accumulates over time. I may not even be out of my teenage-hood but my perception of stuff has changed drastically. I used to always want to have things I never had. I suppose in some respects I still want things I don’t have; however, it has less to do with stuff and more to do with experiences. When I was younger I would want to have what all the other kids had, like better clothes, a DS, a Playstation, etc. I would go to my friends’ houses and they would all have more things than me. I of course thought I didn’t own that much. Ha. Now I just feel buried in stuff.
It is rather discouraging to think about all the stuff I have to deal with. I am tired of spending so much time dealing with my stuff. I feel like I’m constantly moving it from one storage spot to another or it just collects dust. I would like to just throw it all out sometimes but then I start going through things and think that I’ll need it later. I know this is not a unique problem. I like to do projects so I save supplies for all the different kind of projects I have done at one point in my life. Unfortunately this takes up a lot of space. I have decided that if I ever have my own place that I will work on keeping it simple and minimal. I don’t need to hold onto so much just because it has sentimental value.
A lot of stuff I have is not stuff I bought but rather stuff given to me as gifts. My friend and I decided that a way to solve this problem of too much stuff is to have experiences replace tangible stuff. Memories are much easier to hold onto. Sure, you may not be able to remember what restaurant you went to for you X-number birthday, but you probably don’t remember all the gifts you got for your X-number birthday either. The great thing about memories of experiences is that you don’t have to worry about storage space in your house. Even if the memory isn’t a “good” one it may turn into something you can laugh about one day. I would much rather spend a day with a friend for my birthday than get a bunch of nicknacks. It also saves me the frustration of having to make room for the gifts.
My friend and I continued to talk, and she said that it’s harder to think of experiences than just buying a gift. I think it’s harder to choose a gift that’s useful and something they will like and don’t have yet. I generally like to create something as a gift like drawing or some sort of food. There’s also the easy choice of giving money. There are obvious advantages to this, but at the same time it can feel impersonal or unoriginal. Generally, I think the gift giver tends to feel this way more than the gift receiver. Personally I like receiving money because usually the things I want are expensive (a laptop, a computer, an iPod, a trip somewhere). Perhaps you are tired of giving money and want to do something that’s fun. I can think of so many different experiences that I would thoroughly enjoy doing for a birthday. So here’s a brief list of my own personal liking but be creative. You’ll end up giving a gift that can’t be replaced.
Take your friend to a restaurant.
Give the gift of a massage or a manicure.
Have an adventure! Like going to an amusement park, going paint balling, going zip-lining, etc.
Try something new. For me this might be something like getting my ears pierced. My friend was going to pay for my ears to be pierced…but I wasn’t old enough at the time.
Take your friend to a show, performance, play, musical, concert, movie etc.
Go do something that you both enjoy doing.
Sure some of these are starting to sound like dates. They are in a sense. You are creating memories with a friend and celebrating them. What more could they ask for? Hopefully your friends will start giving you experiences and memories instead of stuff as well.
It’s funny how I got from talking about stuff to buying experiences instead. This idea of replacing stuff with memories and experiences can help you to reduce the amount of stuff you have. I’m trying to be more conscious of what I actually purchase. I try to only buy things that I need or that are useful. Today I spent a good deal of money on my first DSLR camera, but I bought it because it will help me to document my adventures in this coming year. It is something that I will use for years to come. I enjoy saving money, and then spending it on an experience for myself. This year I am working and saving as much as I can so that I can experience living in other countries. I hope that I don’t have to spend too much more on stuff this year, after all I am trying to get rid of more stuff not accumulate it.