We love stuff, and it’s stressing us out

AUSSIES love stuff.

We love collecting stuff, having stuff, looking at stuff – we love it all.

We’re not quite a nation of hoarders, but we’re heading in that direction – and half the time it’s because we hate waste.


For instance, I’m willing to bet that you or someone you know has one or more of the following in your home right now: small glass jars (often without lids); containers full of bread ties on top of the microwave; stacks of newspapers that can be dated back to 2007; every cork that’s ever been popped from a bottle of bubbly; ice cream buckets that were rinsed out long ago.

We keep all of these things because “one day they might come in handy”.

The thing is, they’re not all that handy to keep around.

My dad is a shocker in this way; he can justify keeping just about everything. Coming from a family of 11 children, I guess his tendency to hoard comes from him genuinely knowing what it was like to go without!

When I first moved out and got my own place, I realised it wasn’t just my dad who liked collecting. Before I knew it, my house was filling up with clutter.

It’s not that I’m not putting things away – I try, I really do. But with children and toys and clothes and life detritus on every given surface, it can be hard to create order where chaos reigns supreme.

It’s a relief to know that I’m part of the majority. According to SpaceWays, 53 per cent of Australians feel we don’t have enough storage space for all our stuff, and it’s stressing us out. One in five couples have arguments about clutter (guilty) and most of us feel like we’d be less stressed if we had less stuff and/or more storage.

Interestingly, like my dad, Aussies are holding on to things because we think we may need them again, not because they’re sentimental.

We hold onto those ice cream buckets because they’re great for soaking our socks, or old egg cartons because one of these days we’ll grow that herb garden.

But, really, at the end of the day – it’s clutter, and it’s draining.

The solution to my problem is simple: Vinnies. I could just bag up all the clothes I don’t wear and the toys the kids have grown out of, and give them to my local St. Vincent De Paul’s.

And the gazillion Tupperware containers with no lids? They really need to have a date with my recycling bin.

Then I ponder all of their potential uses – like make-shift paint trays! – and I think, well, what’s the harm in keeping them for a few more months, “just in case” they come in handy…

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