I Don't Need More Stuff.... - Penny Lane Blog at Allrecipes.com - 242569

Penny Lane

I Don't Need More Stuff.... 
Jul. 7, 2011 5:51 pm 
Updated: Sep. 6, 2011 11:08 pm
I have a house full of "stuff" - I don't need more "stuff".  For my birthday I asked my kids to give me time - not stuff.  "Come spend the day in the garden with me.  Bring your clippers and let's play in the dirt." 
I recall a friend of mine, just after Christmas several years ago, crying that her mother was rude and didn't like her Christmas present.  Her parents had asked for their kids to buy a goat or a couple of chickens for a family in a third world nation in lieu of a Christmas present.  Apparently my friend did so and then also gave her mother a set of white CorningWare French White bakeware.  As 'mom' left she said something to the effect - "I really don't need any more stuff."  My friend was crushed.
I don't need more stuff - I need to get rid of some of the stuff I have and don't use.  I just gave away a beautiful set of dishes to a friend who is starting over.  They were beautiful.  So why did I give them away?  Because she needed them and I didn't.  I loved them and so will she.  I still have plenty of dishes - I don't need any more.  Maybe she needs a couple of platters too.  I should ask - I have a boat load of those.
I don't need fancy gadgets.  No Baking Papa is a gadget guy.  He keeps trying to buy me a new electric can opener - I don't want one.  I have two great can openers and they don't have to sit on my counter.  I want less "stuff" on my counters - not more.  He wanted to buy me a new steamer - I just gave two away.  How about new mixing bowls - "No thanks, I have great stainless steel mixing bowls that will last me the rest of my life."
He thinks I am a party pooper.  Honestly, I only need one grater and I have one.  I have pyrex coming out my ears.  Do you need some? 
I used to have a huge collection of vases.  Slowly but surely I have made flower arrangements from my garden and left them on friends porches or given them to my grand kids to take to their teachers.  
My grand children love 'stuff' and are busy collecting 'stuff'.  Unfortunately they like to share their stuff with me...how do you tell a child that you don't need 'stuff' - I can't - so I accept it graciously and then find another purpose for it.  I think I will offer them some of my 'stuff'.   
Now, I might sound ungrateful - I am sorry if it comes across that way.   I am actually very thankful. 
I am thankful for my family - for my grand daughters who still want to come and bake bread and make cheese. 
I am thankful for the good memories of trooping through the nursery with my son to pick out the perfect tree & then coming home to plant it.  When the time comes to move from this house, I am going to hate to leave that tree behind.
I am really thankful for the mini tiller and compost bin my hubby bought me.  That compost bin went against the grain for him - it didn't plug in and it didn't make noise - but he bought it anyway and I love it.  I love him for buying it for me even though it isn't the kind of gift he would want to receive.
I am very thankful for the great memories of trips to the beach and the time camping and riding bikes through the camp grounds.  I am thankful that my grand children all know what a garden ripe tomato and peach taste like. 
The thing I am most thankful for is the memories and the time spent with those I love so much. 
So you see - I really don't need 'stuff'.
Jul. 7, 2011 6:32 pm
I completely understand where you are coming from. I have been getting rid of as much stuff as I can. There comes a time in life when you realize you don't need so much stuff. It really is just more responsibilty and more to take care of. More to dust or find room for. I surely don't need any more of that in my life.
Jul. 7, 2011 6:44 pm
I want less stuff too! AMEN!
Jul. 7, 2011 6:53 pm
My son and daughter were here with their families last weekend. My daughter had to find something from years past. When she came back to the room she asked, "Where did you get all that stuff"? She then proceeded to tell about the lack of closet space, cupboard space and storage space in each part of the house. Our son was bobbing in agreement. Then, they became quieter when they began to realize they (and their kids) were the ones that had bought most of it for us. Now that subject has been broached by them, my wife and I feel safe about donating most of it to The Salvation Army.
Jul. 7, 2011 7:11 pm
Baking Nana you do not sound ungrateful at all. You wrote a beautiful, heartfelt blog. I know exactly where you are coming from. My husband and I are in our late 40's with no grandkids and we already feel like you do. I have way too much stuff in our house. I am slowly going through and finding new homes for items. I also try to keep that in mind when I give a birthday gift. What is something that can be used up? An arrangement of flowers, golf certificates, savings bonds, ball game tickets, big box of cinnamon rolls, etc. For Christmas the last four years all adults put in $20 each and wrote a charity of their choice on a ticket. One of the kids pull out a ticket and the money is donated to the winning tickets charity. We've benefited the diabeties foundation, Rileys Children Hospital, breast cancer foundation, and scholarship fund for a family from my school that lost their mother to an accident in Sept. leaving behind 5 children under the age of 12. I think it is a blessed feeling knowing that you don't need any more stuff.
Jul. 7, 2011 7:30 pm
Your blog was very poignant and very timely. I've been cleaning out things lately and have given many things away. When I stop to think how many more THINGS I will need in my life, I really have to consider. I'm getting close to 70, so how much do I NEED and how much do I WANT? I DO want some things to make me happy to see something new---you know, the renewal thing. But those are little things. A new plant. A new artsy thing. In my recent case, a new coat of paint. It's a dilemma, for sure.
Jul. 7, 2011 7:39 pm
Amen - more things to dust!!! I really wish that unless it is a real "need" my kids wouldn't waste more $$$ on more "stuff".
Jul. 7, 2011 7:42 pm
FF5 - when I stop and think about it - there are very few 'things' I need - what I do need is less chaos that "stuff" creates.
Jul. 7, 2011 7:44 pm
I appreciate your blog entry. I haven't accumulated as much stuff as many others have, as I am still younger and childless, but I keep tabs on what I have and what I think I need... being mindful of gifts and purchases is HUGE. My parents have a bit of "stuff" and I try to do gifts of time and service, instead of things, as I know they don't need it. Thanks for the blog. A great reminder for all of us! And a great way to share ideas... MOLLY, I love that idea of drawing for a charity to give to!!
Jul. 7, 2011 7:45 pm
Mike - see that is part of my problem - I have a GREAT memory - I can remember who gave me what - when and what for. Because it came from someone I care about - I find it difficult to part with it. Hmmmm...I need to pass these treasures on and de-clutter my own life.
Jul. 7, 2011 7:58 pm
Molly - I love the idea of giving to a charity - I don't know if I could sell that in this family but I do really like that idea. I would prefer birthdays and Christmas with no presents but have everyone give with their presence. The pressure would be off and everyone could just enjoy each other.
Jul. 7, 2011 8:00 pm
I love this blog! A few years ago I decided to stop buying my parents "stuff" for christmas. Instead I got them fruit of the month club for 6 months. They so appreciate a beautiful box of fresh fruit once a month. And, I know they'll use it.
Jul. 7, 2011 8:02 pm
Marianne - I too like a "fresh" look - a clean start so to speak. Actually - that ties right into needing less and appreciating the things I have more. Boy - it is so hard to cull through the 'stuff' and decide what really has to go.
Jul. 7, 2011 8:05 pm
FNChef - being mindful of what a person can use verses what YOU WANT to give them is truly a give of love. My friend and her mom were on the 'outs' for months after that Christmas - sad really - maybe my friend wanted that bakeware herself and assumed her mother would therefore love it too.
Jul. 7, 2011 8:06 pm
I've seen pictures of your bountiful yard so I get the "spend time with me in the garden". My Mom had the same complaint, "too much stuff". I tried to be creative and give her "disposable" usable gifts like time or foods she wouldn't buy for herself. It is lovely to have such a kind, caring and generous family but after awhile where can you put all the stuff? Darn, I wish I lived closer. I could use some platters and I love getting floral arrangements in vases. I've broken 4 vases in the last year and could use some more of them. Providing my garden gives me some flowers to put in them :)
Jul. 7, 2011 8:07 pm
Christine - that is a gift that keeps on giving! I love it. Thoughtful and useful. A real treat. You - my dear - are a thoughtful daughter.
Jul. 7, 2011 8:15 pm
Cat - my garden is ALWAYS in need of work - in Southern California everything grows year round. My birthday is in March - which is a perfect time to receive a pony pack of plants for the garden along with a couple of helpful people to help dig and plant. I love those gifts. 4 years ago my daughter gave me some 'annuals' and they are still going strong. I think of her every morning as I check out the garden.
Jul. 7, 2011 8:19 pm
Oh Cat - I tried to leave a platter at a friends house - nope she returned it! :) Next time I will have to leave it anonymously. Kind of like the vases of flowers.
Jul. 7, 2011 8:48 pm
Baking Nana, I too remember who gave me what and have trouble parting with it. It is especially hard when it is someone that is no longer living.I have always felt like I was betraying the person that gave it to me. This year I finally have been able to part with lots of that stuff. I have memories and I try to remind myself that the people I love would not want me to feel burdened. I am in my forties. I think the older you get, the more you realize that stuff is not important.
Jul. 7, 2011 9:04 pm
Oh iceemama - my mother died when I was 11 - I have very few of her things and they are precious. My father was a "Goodwill" collector, he lived to be 88 and those things he collected aren't so precious. They could be of value but to me, honestly, they aren't of any value. Time for me to "clean house".
Jul. 7, 2011 9:33 pm
You just made me cry Nana..I wrote a blog not too long ago about my Mom's cookbooks. I finally went through them and kept a few prescious ones that held a memory or two. The rest went out as just "stuff". I hold the memory of her in my heart and not the material things to hold in my hand. That is more valueable to me than anything in the world. Thank you dear girl, reading this made me feel so good..
Jul. 7, 2011 9:55 pm
I think I love you, or something like that. Great blog Nana
Jul. 7, 2011 10:15 pm
Great blog BN!!! Now, does anyone need my address to send me their stuff? Lol!!! I seem to have multiples of some things, but lack quite a few other things. My ex really cleaned me out. At least I have learned to be quite creative- it is amazing what one can learn to manage without :) But I understand- my parents had tons of stuff (unfortunately they did a huge clean out before my situation arose lol), and now my brother and I do things for them that are consumable rather than space hogs. The one exception is books- we all love books, and we pass them around so we can all enjoy them, and then donate them (unless they are too good to part with)!
Jul. 8, 2011 3:32 am
great blog ...but at the end of the day it's just stuff...10 years ago i cleaned house...got down to just what i needed...it's unreal how easy it is to clean now that all the stuff is gone,some thing i just took pic's of and the pasted the thing on to someone who needed it...so i can still look at the stuff but it takes no space now & the memory is still there...Judy
Jul. 8, 2011 3:48 am
What a great blog! I, too, have lots of stuff - and I love gadgets so it's mainly my fault. But, the best gifts of all are the ones of time spent with loved ones. My kids are at the point in their lives (1 a newlywed and 1 a college kid) where money is scarce. Gifts from them are wonderful right now - plenty of time spent doing things together and making memories. It's amazing to hear my kids talk about past vacations and camping trips. The ones we took on the tightest budgets seem to be the ones they remember most and enjoyed the most. I could use a few of your platters - mine seem to always break... LOL
Jul. 8, 2011 3:49 am
Great blog! As my folks got older, they didn't need more stuff either. Gifts consisted of gift certificates to the restaurant that I know they always went to, circle word books & westerns for Dad. He never opened the pkg. because he knew what was in there, only opened it when he was out of circle word books. My sister always bought and planted Mom's flowers for Mother's Day. My Dad's favorite present to my Mom was always a fresh fruit box that he went to the store himself to pick out. When he could no longer go himself, I was the DFP (designated fruit picker)and I had to pick out the the most romantic, sappiest card I could find (the ones at the top of the card rack), because that was the kind he would have chosen.
Jul. 8, 2011 4:09 am
Glad to know that there are other people out there that feel the same way! I got rid of most of my stuff this past spring. My house feels lighter and tidier for doing so. We have travelled a lot as a family and I cherish the time we still spend together. My birthday is next week, and I know that there will be no cards or gifts, but I will have spent time with my family celebrating getting together (not necessarily a birthday). People that love to accumulate stuff get upset when I tell them I don't get gifts for birthdays or Christmas. They must think I have the cheapest family, however I don't think they understand that isn't what is important, you can't take the stuff with you in the end, but you sure can remember the joy you had of family. Baking Nana, you have touched on a very interesting topic, perhaps it is because we are a little older and wiser, but I appreciated reading your blog this morning, now I am off to a great day!
Jul. 8, 2011 4:14 am
Stuff takes up space! We need time to enjoy our friends and family, not the time it takes to take care of so much stuff! My family knows that I want time with them, and they give me that! I love the phone calls and pics that mean so much!
Jul. 8, 2011 5:32 am
Boy, did I love this blog. My kids finally understand and now gift us with play or concert tickets. Sparse is beautiful!
Jul. 8, 2011 7:20 am
Thank you for taking the TIME to write this blog. I enjoyed it so much and as a parent of a teenage daughter and an almost teenage son I am feeling the need to spend as much time with them as they will allow....stuff I don't need....making memories from simple time spent together is the best gift...Thanks to you Baking Nana.
Jul. 8, 2011 8:16 am
Wow - lots of great comments. I have joined FreeCycle and any 'stuff' that my kids don't want I am listing on FreeCycle. The truth is - I am too lazy to do a garage sale.
Jul. 8, 2011 8:17 am
One more thing - you know those guys that say "I can't believe my mom got rid of all my baseball cards!" I can totally relate to those moms. I may become one of them!
Jul. 8, 2011 8:21 am
Thank you for this wonderful blog. I agree with you so much! The most memorable times of my life were spent when I had the least amount of "stuff". Some friends and I travelled around the world on a backpack for almost a year and didn't feel like we lacked anything. After that year, I started to rethink about "stuff" I "need" and realized that it is not things that make you happy. Experiences are what gives you most joy and happiness and which last a lifetime... Those, I will devote more energy and $$ to instead of things that will spoil/break/rust...
Jul. 8, 2011 8:46 am
I have enough stuff too, but I will accept a perennial anytime someone feels they need to give me more stuff. Our family was never big on kitchen items as gifts, my MIL hated the idea and passed it on to her boys. RN Grampa has now passed the rule onto our boys, so my future DIL's may not get kitchen stuff either. Time spent, memories made and laughter until your cheeks hurt and your stomach feels like it will split open is all Good Stuff, keep it coming, I will take that new stuff daily:)
Jul. 8, 2011 9:44 am
I have to re-qualify what stuff is. It is only that which clutters or bog down a house. In the workshop, there is no such thing as "stuff" It all has a useful and practical purpose. .................sometime.
Jul. 8, 2011 10:07 am
I just LOVE this blog BN! My husband and I had this conversation about a year ago.... it went something like this: "We spend our productive work years accumulating things we want, feel we need or (wrongly) assume we can't live without. After we attain those things, we must store, clean, maintain, protect and insure them. After time passes and we get older, we quit using those things, no longer have the inclination or energy to clean and maintain them, can't afford to insure them, just plain lose interest in them or have 10 of them...all exactly the same. So, what do we do? We start parceling them out to friends, kids, charities, etc." Interesting life phenomenon. Get, then GET rid of. I spent all of 2010 cleaning out EVERYTHING... from the house to the garage to the attic. I've never had a garage sale in my life. Last year, we had Three Family Garage Sales. I got rid of 50 years of STUFF! Here's the side note. I don't miss any of it!!! Great, great, great blog! BTW, I love my monthly Fruit Box!
Jul. 8, 2011 10:12 am
LOL - Mike - Last weekend hubby and went through half of the garage - defining "stuff" was an interesting process. Notice we only did half of the garage - that was all we could tolerate for the day. :)
Jul. 8, 2011 10:12 am
MB, Christine's Mother's Day gift to me this year is (I say is because I haven't spent it yet) to the Garden Nursery. I love that you did similar things for you folks.
Jul. 8, 2011 10:15 am
RNG - When I get together with my brothers and we start telling stories and laughing - it is never about 'stuff' we had as kids - it is almost always about the things we did. The memories we made together will last a lifetime.
Jul. 8, 2011 10:17 am
Candice - well said. Oh - and a trip to garden center is a perfect gift. :)
Jul. 8, 2011 10:30 am
merlion - you have a great point - amazing that you can fit what you "need" for a year in a back pack. I am sure the memories of that year are priceless.
Jul. 8, 2011 1:13 pm
Great blog, B'Nana. I'm in "clearance" mode myself right now. We sold a huge stack of albums (for you younger readers, that's those are the CD's from the dark ages)at a second hand shop and donated a stack of 45's to my friend for use in her high school art class (she does a really cool sculpture project with them.) I nearly had a heart attack when hubby (pack rat or collector? Depends on which of us you ask:) voluntarily sold extra rolls of Kennedy half dollars at the same second hand shop! We're are going to use the money for something we actually need: a new bathtub for the bathroom remodel later this month. My personal rule of thumb is if it hasn't been worn, used, or seen in the last year--it goes to the Salvation Army store! Unfortunately, that's not as easy as it sounds (sigh!). "Stuff" should always end in "ing" and only come from a turkey:P
Jul. 8, 2011 2:58 pm
Mangel - "Clearance" mode is a good description. I should contact a 2nd hand store - I have plenty to pass along. I have already donated a lot of things to the schools in the area. We had tons of books on Astronomy that were gathering dust here. Now if I could hubby to part with the telescope that he never uses - that would be a triumph.
Jul. 8, 2011 3:41 pm
Almost 20 years ago my DH got ill and we made the very hard decision to sell our large home (we had 5 kids) and move to a co-op apartment. This meant going from 14 rooms down to 6 rooms. I agonized at the time over the things I needed to purge. But I discovered the joy of seeing things I had used nad loved being used and appreciated by my adult kids or people in need. I have been freecycling since it started and I have to say I find it liberating.
Jul. 8, 2011 4:05 pm
BSM - Thank you! Isn't FreeCycle great? I am hoping to be free of my "stuff" by the end of summer - or at least before the stuffing goes in the turkey! :)
Jul. 8, 2011 7:39 pm
LOL! My next big adventure will be getting hubby to part with thousands of baseball cards taking up valuable space on a closet shelf. I see some e-bay selling in my future:)
Jul. 9, 2011 12:16 am
Great blog! Don't forget, silver, gold, etc. are pretty valuable. a reputable buyer will fairly assess and pay well. 2 guys bought a watch for $25 at auction, sold it for $250+ to gold buyer. Christmas gifts are items of clothing, etc., (we are asked). Your trash is someone else's treasure. I used to be a treasure hunter...love antiques, old, interesting things...Now rule is if I can't daily use, or display, I don't buy it. I serve grands fruit, desserts,in old footed desserts. We use fun Red Lobster glasses, (stored from the 70's) as our daily and casual glasses. Blender is from the 60's, mixer is a great old one, canisters are (auction) copper toned metal. Haven't bought major new furniture since we got married, except for 2 couches and recliners, and large appliances. We sleep on family/vintage beds. Most people "love" my homes. My next step is to learn to e-bay the treasures I no longer "need". (Oh, yes, I tossed baseball cards when we moved in late 70's. Big mistake!) Donating to charities is good. A cheap yard sale helps those in need buy with dignity. (Set up 10, 25, 50cents, $1 tables, areas, and a "free" space.) School nurses know families in need. I had a big inside "Tag Sale", between renters. Set up nice things, attractively displayed, and sold pricier antiques, collectibles, better items. (Ad sale date, & phone#) making over $2,500. Had $1.00 and under on porch for browsers, too. Served coffee, etc. Plans: we will make one more move, then its out with whatever we can't put to use! Thanks, again! Great topic.
Jul. 9, 2011 12:22 am
Oh, yes. Don't forget the local museums, and public libraries. Their archives appreciate donations - historical ephemera, magazines etc. Call or take things over and ask if they could use them.
Jul. 9, 2011 5:30 am
AMEN! Most of my "stuff" is stuff that other people couldn't bear to throw out or "give away". I get the "Here, I bet you could use this"! or (my personal fave as of late) "This was my _____ and I am sure you would love to have have it". What the heck. Now I get to add guilt to the baggage they bestow on me. We have had to clean out my mom's and my MIL's houses, at the same time mind you, so there was plenty of "stuff" to be dealt with. I was NOT going down Guilt Drive with anybody this time! I took whatever "stuff" I was "given" or asked to "hold on to" that I could and donated it to our local women's shelter. I then turned my eyes on to my own "stuff" and did the same. I must have done a pretty good job cuz the Hubs now teases me by clutching to his chest whatever is nearby when I walk in the room! LOL (grin) He just better hope HE'S not next! {evil grin} hahahaha!
Jul. 9, 2011 6:07 am
Mamaw & WFDM? - A lot of my 'stuff' came from my father - he was a "Salvation Army" collector and he would pass along his treasures. Along with an entire box of postcards he collected through his travels. Sigh.... I really don't have it in me to have a garage sale in 100 degree weather so donating this "stuff" is the plan. Once the "stuff" has been cleared my goal is to avoid collecting more "stuff" Now if I can keep hubs from ordering junk from "As Seen on TV" I will consider myself blessed!
Jul. 9, 2011 7:38 am
Baking Nana, you might want to cash in on some of your dad's treasures. Vintage postcards, etc. might do well on e-bay. Check out Kovel's website (antique & collectable specialists) Most reputable antique dealers will tell you, if asked, what is of value and sells, and what is not of value. Some will take good things, which are like-kind to what they mainly deal in, and sell on consignment. It amazes me what is marketable. You could make a few phone calls or drop by. Check with the library, nearby university archives, etc., also. Point in case: My son was going to toss a box of Life and Post mags. from 60-70-80's era. Local museum happily took them to share with library. A box of personal records (of 40-60's era) from deceased local farm couple were gladly taken by the local museum. Included was a purchase log, w/ prices. etc. letters, tax records, (Snapshot of life in our county). A neighbor collector regularly scours sales for resale on e-bay. He bought a vase for under $1 at GS, and sold it online for over $200 (can't remember exact). This heat is very uncomfortable. AC is good to sort. Look inside everything! Cash has been found in crazy places. Good Luck, and happy clean-up!
Jul. 9, 2011 11:22 am
my DH is a "stuffer" and I am the "anti-stuffer" he collects it and I get rid of it. We have a good laugh about it. He once told the kids if they stood still to long I'd throw them away.
Jul. 9, 2011 11:40 am
Mamaw - Thank you for that information. I will follow through.
Jul. 9, 2011 11:44 am
RLOGAN01 - That is funny! You two ae a good pair. My daughter is married to a "stuffer" - she can't keep up with him. My other daughter is a saver - she saves EVERYTHING - this is not good as her hubby is also a saver. My eldest son is a tosser - if his wife is missing something she checks the trash first. Funny how three people raised in the same home are all so different.
Jul. 9, 2011 1:26 pm
I understand! I'm still starting my "adult" home so there are still things I need, but my mother (bless her heart) will get me a christmas gift I told her I genuinely need & then get me a stocking full of "stuff"!! Eventually I told her, I'd rather you fill my stocking with fruit & the $10 you spent on lip gloss I'll never use all of, and it will still mean just as much!
Jul. 9, 2011 2:46 pm
I love reading your blog, BN! What great advice has been given about getting rid of "things". I believe I have now been given the push to start sorting through old boxes in our basement and either give away or donate things we haven't looked at for a few years. I know our children will one day really appreciate our efforts. As has been said, you really can't things with you. Looking forward to your future blogs!
Jul. 9, 2011 9:23 pm
Katherine - I started off each of my children with left over "things" - I didn't expect them to keep them all or feel obligated to hang on to them because "Mom, gave this to me." As for the stocking stuffers - well - I was a stocking stuffer until recently. Now I know none of us needs more "stuff". :) Thanks for stopping in.
Jul. 9, 2011 9:28 pm
BakingGramma - Sort threw those boxes! I hit the garage today and got rid of sooooo much. My son came to get his "stuff" a lot of which he tossed - that is OK with me. His choice! Give it away - Donate- sell it! It is taking up space! Free yourself from the boxes! :)
Jul. 9, 2011 10:29 pm
I am 28 and agree with you - already I have too much. I am a teacher and am always given knick knacks and photo albums with love from my students, which I appreciate... but I would much rather have a gift card to a teacher store or Office Max... or just a thank you note!
Jul. 9, 2011 10:38 pm
Erin - Point taken - teachers are so sweet but what do you do with 1,005 "apples" - a gift card to Office Max, Staples or Target would really 'pay it forward". Thanks for chiming in!
Jul. 9, 2011 11:15 pm
I hear you, BN. I just had a garage sale to get rid of all my excess kitchen stuff. It was all very nice stuff, but we just didn't need the clutter. Not to mention when fiance and I moved in together we had to combine two kitchens. Lots of stuff to get rid of!
Jul. 10, 2011 6:25 am
I agree, most of us have to much stuff. I'm 28, I don't like things sitting on my counter tops and it's my goal NOT to accmulate to much stuff. I also appreciate what Molly said and try to practice it myself... I try to find gifts that can be used up. On Father's Day, I made my Dad a special meal and wrote him a heart felt letter. He liked it better than stuff. He can buy his own stuff (if he needs it). My family abolished the gift giving policy at Christmas. We now play "Dirty Santa", which is more about the interaction with one another, spending time togher, and it is often funny. Plus, it greatly reduces the stress and cost of "holiday shopping and finding the gift for the person with everything". One year, my uncle, who is a diesel mechanie ended up with some bath and body works wall flowers... he liked them because they smelled good. LOL!
Jul. 10, 2011 9:39 am
What timing for such a blog, BN. I am in the middle of "cleaning" my kitchen of the unwanted/unused things accumulated over the years, and I'm surprised by the number of those items. How on earth did I end up with 3 blenders!?!? My sister in law was happy to take a couple of appliances off my hands, and I'm hoping she'll be as interested in some of the pans and such! And my Christmas gift request this year?? A gift card to my local garden store which will come in quite handy when it's time to start my garden again next year. That kind of gift will always be used by me. I love to garden and nothing beats the taste of fresh produce that you've just harvested from your own garden. Oh, and I loved your comment on the can opener! I have never owned an electric can opener. My easy-to-fit-in-a-drawer manual one works just fine for me! Love the blog.
Jul. 10, 2011 9:52 am
You are preaching to the choir Baking Nana. As you know, I got rid of an entire lifetime of possessions (stuff) when we moved from the mainland to Maui. When we moved from Maui back to the mainland, I was so grateful that I had already purged. I did pick up a few things, like my koa surfboard, on Maui, but I left some of my stuff on Maui too. I know you are going to love this life change. Our life change has been the best thing we ever did.....cept maybe the son we made LOL He's a keeper :)
Jul. 10, 2011 11:12 am
Our treasures here on earth are temporary, we need to focus on our eternal treasure.
Jul. 10, 2011 8:36 pm
I have made pretty good strides this weekend - spurred on by all the positive responses. Now to tackle my "office" YIKES! Wish me luck! Anyone need some vintage 1980's material? I have a bolt of it!
Jul. 11, 2011 8:27 am
Great blog B.Nana! I have too much stuff and very little space. However, I don't think I am ready to part with some of my stuff. lol.
Jul. 11, 2011 9:20 am
I loved my Dad's definition of junk. It's something useful you've kept for years and never used, so you get rid of it - the day before you need it! LOL I've been trying to get rid of a lot of stuff lately, and my DH has finally agreed "it's time". The great part of this is that my DSD has just bought a lake cottage. She looks forward to my "could you use_______" phone calls and it has really improved our relationship. Anything she doesn't want is given to where it will do the most good, and I'm feeling sooo liberated from the burden of all that "stuff"!
Jul. 11, 2011 11:23 am
About 5 years before retirement I started to clean out my house as I planned on moving into a retirement community. I never realized how much I had till I started throwing it out. I had extra load in the garbage each week, I went to drop a load each month at Salvation army. I gave all kinds of stuff away. Each newlywed got a full set of cookbooks. Anyone moving away from home got any kind of furniture I could unload on them. I posted on Freecycle. When I finally moved, I thought this would be the easiest move ever. It wasn't. I had become a master at finding places for things. I still had about 1500 books, 1000 videos, three closets of clothes and furniture for a large house. I had to still get rid of much more. It looked sparse at the old house but there wasn't a spot open in the new house. It's been about 3 years since and I'm down to 500 books, 250 videos, and 3 rooms of furniture. Now it's time to buy new stuff.
Jul. 11, 2011 4:02 pm
Wow - bunnyhugger! I better get busy. My closets scare me! I am putting hubs in charge of the videos - if it were up to me they would all be gone.
Jul. 11, 2011 4:03 pm
JBott - I totally understand your dad's idea of junk. Just as soon as something is gone for good - I will probably need it!
Jul. 11, 2011 4:04 pm
lovecakes - sigh - it is so hard to part with some "stuff" - but I am being brutal with myself. I need to clear the decks!
Jul. 11, 2011 4:07 pm
My youngest grandchild is turning 3 - so today went the high chair, Pack and Play and swing. All my dressy shoes (which I can't wear because of a bunion) went, I even found a couple of goodies that I thought were missing in action. :) Now for the knick knacks! Holy Cow!
Jul. 11, 2011 6:27 pm
Bravo! Not usually my thing (to blog that is), but you spoke to my heart, as well as many others, so I had to pipe in. I recently married my man of many years and we are having a celebration soon. Our invitations specified "please no gifts, your presence is our present". We already have more than enough stuff and for some it will cost them to attend. You have given me some great ideas for passing on our abundance without sore feelings. Thank you! P.S. I wore a necklace I found still in the gift box, remembering my sister had given it to me, when I pointed it out, she had no memory of it. I know I am guilty of the same, gifting to be gifting, but its time for a change; NO MORE STUFF, please. Thanks for the reminder!
Jul. 11, 2011 6:36 pm
AMEN~ I am so sick of stuff! I love the stuff I have now and have problems getting rid of it but I don't need more new stuff! I always try to talk friends and family into a NO GIFT Christmas. It never works but wouldn't it be nice if we could all enjoy the holidays without running around trying to figure out what stuff to buy for people who really don't need it, either? Great Blog!
Jul. 11, 2011 7:17 pm
Annabae: I love the "please no gifts, your presence is our present". But you will still get gifts - people hate showing up empty handed. My hubs would say - "What is we are the ONLY ones that show up without a gift? You better buy them a gift card or give them cash!" So be prepared! Congratulations to you and your man. :)
Jul. 11, 2011 7:27 pm
Shanon - I have tried the Christmas with no gifts - sigh - it didn't work. Half of the family were on board and the other half didn't buy it. So we have gone the the $20. or less / generic gifts - people select - steal and we have fun. Still each year I think - "It is just 'stuff" - do we really need this?" My Christmas gift to my family is a beautiful traditional Christmas dinner.
Jul. 11, 2011 8:08 pm
When I was much younger, my Grandma once told me, in response to what she wanted for Christmas, 'nothing I have to dust'. I didn't get it then...but I do now!
Jul. 11, 2011 8:20 pm
Thisni - I get it too! You have to love Grandma's wisdom! When I am asked that same question my general response is "Peace of Earth, Goodwill toward all siblings."
Jul. 12, 2011 3:40 am
BN, you have really started interesting conversations and confessions!! This is a great topic. Adding to the gifting subject: Before "Granny" died, she went all-out for Christmas. Later,(efore he passed), my FIL (10 kids) gave each adult child $5. His lady friend gave loaves of homemade bread she'd baked ahead and frozen. We still get together. Some adults bring Christmas ornaments (on sale the prior year), for each brother or sister. Others bring home-made cookies, etc. We have a generic gift time for the kids under 18, wrapping inexpensive gifts, candy, liter sodas, art supplies, $2 bills, gold coins, Christmas hats with glitter names for each, etc. One sister and hubby bring a pinata containing money envelopes with each great or grand's name. The kids love this. When I stuff stockings (yes, they still expect this), I personalize for each adult or child with hair supplies, hunting items, favorite candy, fruit, something funny (this year cans of "flarp") a Christmas ornament, etc.
Jul. 12, 2011 3:44 am
(before he passed)...When I stuff stockings for our own 2/spouses and grands... (Darned computer)
Jul. 12, 2011 4:49 am
Great blog! We've been clearing out 30 years of accumulation in anticipation of downsizing in a few years. It's very freeing and such a blessing to see others enjoy/appreciate some of the stuff that's gone out. I saw someone with a t-shirt on that summed up your sentiments pretty well: "Tired of collecting stuff? Try collecting experiences instead." :)
Jul. 12, 2011 6:41 am
Great blog! I understand what you mean about not needing more stuff (I hear this from my mom all the time!), but I'm 30, and still building my "collection" over from a divorce when I was 25 and left EVERYTHING (except my son obviously, and a quilt my grandma made) behind...I still look around my kitchen, and think "I NEED a blender, or food processor" or whatever the case may be, but we get by just fine chopping and mixing things by hand! :) As a "child" who lives close to both my parents and my BF's parents, we spend quite a bit of time with both, but it is VERY DIFFICULT to think of things to get them for holidays. I usually go with a dinner out or homecooked meal in, but I just told my mom that this Thanksgiving or Christmas I may be absent for part of it b/c I want my son to learn what it is like for others out there, and I want us both to volunteer at a soup kitchen. I think the best thing you can "give" someone, is your time! Thanks again for a great blog!
Jul. 12, 2011 7:56 am
Brooke129, I know this is not my blog, but I wanted to jump in to congratulate you on being so wise at such a young age. You are absolutely right. Giving time is the most precious gift of all. Kudos Kid!
Jul. 12, 2011 8:35 am
Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. ~Elise Boulding Great Blog...thanks for posting.
Jul. 12, 2011 9:58 am
Thanks mauigirl! And thanks for saying 30 is young! ;)
Jul. 12, 2011 2:25 pm
Very well said, BN; and you don't sound ungrateful at all. Some elderly friends from long ago told their long-distance family "If we can't eat it or spend it, don't send it." I try to remember that when gifting. After inheriting a lot of stuff from my parents and grandparents, and with no children or grandchildren to leave any of it to, I came to the realization long ago that it really is just "stuff." A gift of time and company is much more precious than any material object.
Jul. 12, 2011 2:52 pm
Thank you for your blog. I am in total agreement.
Jul. 12, 2011 8:26 pm
Wow - so much good feed back here. Thank you!
Jul. 12, 2011 8:39 pm
Brooke - yes 30 is YOUNG!!!! I am 55 and 35 seems like yesterday. How can that be? - my eldest son turned 35 this year! What happened to the last 20 years? I have decided to not be tied to things - but to moments.....memories and living life to the fullest. For me - this means less "stuff" and appreciating the 'real stuff' in my life.
Jul. 12, 2011 8:53 pm
PointerSister - "stuff" cannot replace people and experiences. I would rather give an experience, a memory than anything else.
Jul. 12, 2011 9:05 pm
Sherri - when traveling through the Middle East, when I was 17, I met an old man, he had 'nothing' (nothing worldly) yet he was HAPPY - he had family and friends, he was loved, cherished.....indeed - he had EVERYTHING. He was happy - it took me a long time to understand this concept. That 'old man' understood the true meaning of happiness, yet he 'owned' nothing. So you see, now I understand, "stuff" is just fluff = happiness comes from within - not from what a person owns.
Jul. 13, 2011 4:57 am
I have moved twice in ten years after living in my first house for 30 years. Lots of stuff, way too much. Each move I par down. This house is the biggest of all and I do not want more stuff. Each holiday I give some decorations away. I keep my favorites. I want no clutter in my home. Some of my friends still bring gifts. I have quite buying and hope they do the same. I say let's go to lunch or dinner or a hike instead. So I am still working on that!!
Jul. 13, 2011 10:31 am
mimi--Your comment was the best and most truthful, yet no one recognized it! So I wanted to say "thank you" for reminding us that we will leave all this behind when we die. As for sounding ungrateful, the truest relationships are much deeper than the "stuff" we give each other.
Jul. 13, 2011 12:39 pm
This is so true. My own mother is afraid her upstairs will collapse on top of her because she is a pack rat. I have tried to go the other way. She doesn't like to buy gifts for me because she is afraid I will get rid of them. One day a friend came to my house and asked, "Where's all of your stuff?" I have 7 children and if I kept stuff I would have no room for people. I find it a great joy to have an empty shelf or drawer! I have no curtains and few pictures. I am a plain Jane and I love it that way. Now if I could get my children to take their stuff, I would be glad.
Jul. 14, 2011 4:28 am
Thanks Nana. I will curb my accumulating stuff. It is tempting to keep adding.
Jul. 14, 2011 8:35 am
I completely understand and loved the blog. For Fathers Day I gave my husband a large bag of shelled hazel nuts, his favorite nut. He loved it. For Mothers Day my son washed my car and for my birthday I am trying to get my BJ's Warehouse renewed. These things mean more than another dish or gadget.
Jul. 14, 2011 11:30 am
After reading EAKE's blog this morning - it makes "stuff" even less important. Investing in those we love is so much more importand that anything we can collect. http://allrecipes.com/cook/1449418/blogentry.aspx?postid=243314
Jul. 14, 2011 5:17 pm
I loved reading this. Several years ago I decided to stop buying Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day gifts. It's difficult enough to think of what to give my parents for Christmas and their birthdays. I decided that I would choose a weekend and take them on an outing instead. As they are aging, they are less adventurous than they used to be and my boyfriend and I have taken them to places they'd never been to before, even though they were just local day trips. My parents and my boyfriend have gotten to know each other better for the shared experiences and we all share the memories and photos. I am confident that they do not miss additional tangible gift items. I have started doing the same thing for my brother's birthday. And I am quite confident that I will never buy my boyfriend anything better than the gift certificate that gave him the opportunity to drive on a nascar track. He had the time of his life. Too often we feel that we'll never have the opportunity to do the things and see the sights we dream of, but if people would stop and rethink their choices, we'd realize that there are great opportunities to live life and enjoy time together. I'd rather do stuff than get stuff. Thank you for this post!
Jul. 14, 2011 8:07 pm
Alice - Giving and making memories is the ideal gift. Time spent enjoying each other is precious. Thank you for posting.
Jul. 14, 2011 9:26 pm
WOW!! All of these comments really hit home with me. I don't usually pay much attention to blogs, but the title caught my attention. I am a self proclaimed "kitchen gadget fanatic". I have so many things that belonged to my mom or my grandmothers and can't seem to part with it. Just today i found an old commercial type baking sheet that mom had in the storage shed and as i was bringing it in my hubby told me "we don't need it", yet as i type it sits in my kitchen just waiting for the next batch of cookies or scones...lol My stepmom has made it her duty to be my personal supplier of "stuff". This past weekend i decided to relieve myself of some of my kitchen stuff but the only things i found myself willing to part with was a few pans, a plastic collander and a set of cheap flatware, so i just gave up on the idea. I think I need a support group, maybe pack rats anonymous??? Thanks so much for all of the ideas on how to politely dispose of stuff, i think freecycle sounds very promising.
Jul. 15, 2011 1:54 am
GJsLady - Good luck letting go of the "stuff". FreeCycle is great. I hope that you are able to sort through your treasures and be able to discern what stays and what goes. Thanks for posting.
Jul. 15, 2011 10:22 am
Great blog, Baking Nana! I'm with you-a great experience with people you love is better then knick-knacks and things that get tucked away in boxes. Besides, people can really only have so much 'stuff' before they become a packrat! I'm only 30 and I'm finding out very quickly that stuff adds up fast, and I haven't even had kids yet! When I do, I'll be just like you-I'll want to do something enjoyable together. Memories are the best of 'stuff' to hang on to, and they take up such little space!
Jul. 15, 2011 10:33 am
That was beautiful....and true. So much stuff.
Jul. 15, 2011 9:38 pm
I like and understand your "don't need more stuff"...to me its just what you have swhat you need. No more no less..I am happy and can do with what I have..need no more. You put it so in the end! As, myself I have and need no more, whether it's a cup, spoon, bowl..new gadget of making samdwiches..I have my spoon, my pan and bowl..I will do just fine..we love and appreciate but no need for extras, in anything.
Jul. 16, 2011 6:28 am
Since I last commented, I biked with a friend who is godmother to a 14 y.o girl. Her father was murdered 2 years ago. The kind of man who helped haul people out of ditches. Unfortunately, he stopped to help two people who had just stolen a vehicle (taxicab). They beat him til he died. This woman stopped giving her presents and now goes places with her doing a lot of adventurous things.
Jul. 16, 2011 10:52 pm
Great blog, BN! Right now I am practically paralyzed by a garage and an upstairs bedroom full of "stuff", rendering them both useless for their intended purpose. It is just so overwhelming for me to deal with going through it. I love how we park the $30,000 car in the driveway while we fill the garage full of stuff! My MIL is a major offender, I don't know why she doesn't get it-- is she purposely trying to sabotage me? Your comments here will hopefully help me to get moving on clearing my stuff. I'm so tired of looking at it all and dealing with it. So dumb and stressful! Good luck, fellow packrats, we can overcome!
Jul. 19, 2011 6:47 am
We decided several years ago that we don't need anymore stuff so our daughters (my step-daughters) give a generous contribution to our church building fund and we give a generous donation to the American Cancer Society in memory of their mother. We can hardly get one car into our two-car garage as it so full of stuff. As soon as it cool off, we are going to have the mother of a garage sale and the rest is going to the Salvation Army.
Aug. 6, 2011 11:07 am
I "get" what you're talking about - I, too, have too much stuff!! Enjoyed your bio!!
Aug. 13, 2011 1:20 pm
BN, I read your blog with tears in my eyes. I lost my mom fifteen years ago this month, and she fretted so over "stuff." She started giving it away before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and then worried that my sisters and I would fight over her "stuff" when she was gone. I have already started getting rid of "stuff" but realize how much money I wasted on it when I was young. BN, you and I are the same age, and when I was in my 20's, I worked in Northen California for Atari. I thought I was HOT STUFF---and spent outrageous amounts of money on designer clothes, blah, blah...The pressure to "keep up" was unreal!! My wake up call was when my boss had a heart attack and died at age 42...I left high tech for low tech and never looked back. It probably saved my life. But then I inherited tons of "stuff" when my 94 year old grandmother died---AFTER she buried her daughter(my mom). What to do?? I tell my kids I want for NOTHING---please do not buy me anything...although I do have to admit, my son's gift of spices was welcome!! I think we focus too much on the material things when we are younger, and don't really start to figure it out until we begin to lose people we love...one of my girlfriends died at age 45, buried a man who I loved like my brother last year. I think the perspective of what is important becomes crystal clear---and it sure isn't THE STUFF. Wish I had figured that out a long time ago!!I think Maya Angelou is credited for a quote that I will butcher, but something to the effect of "People won't remember what you gave them or said to them, they will remember how you made them FEEL." amen to that.
Sep. 6, 2011 11:08 pm
Aunt Zibba - I don't fully agree with your conclusion that we focus on material items simply because, or only when, we're young and haven't dealt with great loss. I think one's level of "pack-rat-ness" depends largely on one's personality, which is a genetic toss up, as Baking Nana illustrated when she described the differing personalities of her three children. I'm nearing my mid-twenties, chose the smallest room in the house as my bedroom (because I don't need any more space), and furnished it with only four things: a twin bed, a reading bench, a small book light, and a picture on the wall. The rest of the house, while adequately furnished, is equally empty because I regularly go on decluttering crusades. In fact, some of my close friends were making fun of me again this past weekend because I've lived here for two years and the house still has empty nooks and walls - I consider all decorations to be mere dust collectors. Though I've never had to deal with the loss of a loved one, I still choose to spend any extra money on fun trips or quality cooking ingredients so that I can make tasty meals for my family, friends, and coworkers...many of those recipes are from this site. Thanks, AR users! It's all a question of priorities and I don't think those that are young are unaware of their priorities nor are they/we incapable of acting according to those beliefs simply because we haven't yet experienced all of the highs and lows of life. With a quarter of a lifetime full of great memories and amazing life experiences under my belt, I don't miss any of the "stuff."
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Baking Nana

Member Since
Aug. 2009

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Healthy, Quick & Easy

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About Me
Every morning my granddaughter calls and says, "Good morning Nana. Whatcha doing? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my name, Baking Nana. I love to bake bread and never get tired of it. Yeast is additive!
My favorite things to cook
I go through phases, Asian for a while then Italian then on to something else. I love experimenting with new flavors and different spices. Some times my husband will ask if we will ever have "ordinary" food again. Once in a while I have to toss him a burger just to keep quite! Actually, he is a good sport and my favorite taste tester.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In our family if it is your birthday you get to choose the menu. We have had some really interesting meals. In March we have 5 birthdays so we do one big party - what a crazy menu that is! Christmas dinner is very traditional. Sausage rolls, Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, Green beans with bacon, Mashed Potatoes (the really fattening kind) and trifle for dessert. If I were to dare to omit any of those items I would be lynched.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering really great bread is probably my biggest triumph. I am always so pleased when I create a perfect Asian dish.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few but none so horrible that I can't laugh about them now.
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