Stuff! Why do we have so much of it? Where does it come from? Well, it's obvious where almost any particular piece comes from, but you know, stuff in general? Or rather, why can't we get rid of it?
There's a well-established infrastructure of thrift shops and consignment and charity efforts for secondhand clothes and used bookstores and libraries for secondhand books, but what about secondhand coffee mugs or iPods? When the battery died, I was using the iPod more for recording interviews than for listening to music, so instead of getting a new battery I just replaced the whole thing with a voice recorder, so the iPod is practically useless. Yard sales, maybe? Hah. Instead of sorting, boxing and moving stuff I don't want once, from my apartment to the garbage or used book store or whatever, I would wind up sorting, boxing and moving each piece of stuff an average of 2.9 times - once to the attic to await the yard sale for another few months or years until there's a good day to hold a yard sale and a critical mass of stuff, a second time from the attic to the site of the yard sale, and about nine-tenths of another move, because I assume that's about the amount of stuff that wouldn't sell and would have to go back into the attic. Yard sales are great for community spirit, and they're great for fun if you like that kind of thing, but they aren't great for saving energy or getting rid of stuff.
So why not just throw stuff away - but are you kidding? Why be so wasteful? Sure, I can't use that now, but maybe I'll need it in a month, or 10 years. Even if I can't use it, maybe somebody else can. And all they'll have to do is get it out of my parent's attic.
This is on my mind because I've just moved to a new home. Last week I lived in an apartment I was renting on my own which was unfurnished when I got there, in the same town as my parent's home. Today I have three roommates at the moment, the house is fully furnished but my room wasn't, and it's a 10-hour drive home. I think this will be fun.