Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Is Your Home Just a Place to Store Stuff…While You’re Getting More Stuff?

In this lecture, philosopher George Carlin expounds on such topics as the meaning of life (A: finding a place to put our stuff) and the nature of residential architecture (A: creating a place to put our stuff). He even makes the bold declaration that if we didn’t have so much [expletive] stuff, we wouldn’t need homes. We “could just walk around all the time.”

In this it’s-funny-because-it’s-true riff, Carlin highlights how our lives are often centered around the stuff we accumulate, begging the question: what would your life look like without so much stuff? If you had less stuff, could you have a smaller, more manageable, less expensive home? With that less expensive home, might you be able to choose the type of work you want rather than the type needed to afford the house and all its stuff? Might you have more savings and free time? As Tyler Durden from “Fight Club” puts it, might the stuff that you own, own you?

What do you think?

This post originally was originally published in March 2012.

  • I agree completely with you and your website and enjoy reading the emails I get from you. Love your website, in fact. I’m trying desperately to get rid of crap and for years have tried to buy only furniture that collapses for easier moving and storage. 

    But what you’re advocating flies directly in the face of American edicts from on high about constantly increasing consumption. Could you address this, please?

    • lifeedited

      hi barbara,
      thanks your comment. indeed, what we’re advocating flies in the face of current cultural norms in terms of consumption, but i think it’s important to note that culture is mutable–that cultural conversations are constantly changing what we think is normal.my personal experience is that there’s a growing population of people like you, who are questioning the status quo and suspect that ‘editing’ out what’s unimportant will result in simpler, happier lives. with enough people promoting this way of life, i believe we can affect a shift in the cultural zeitgeist. it’s got to start somewhere!david

    • di

      Start with a list of what you do want. Then discard the remainder. It’s easier than fussing over individual items.

  • I do feel that I am owned by my stuff,
    but I find myself overwhelmed thinking about the best ways to get rid of it all
    with the limited free time I have.

    Some things I just donate, but other
    things I’d like to get some money for. I guess making a habit of putting a few
    things at a time on Craig’s List, or eBay, would help. Are there any other methods
    worth trying out there?

    Thanks!

    • lifeedited

      the “valuable stuff” is definitely a big issue. depending on what it is, oftentimes, the thing to do is bite the bullet and acknowledge that even though something is worth something, it’s worth more to not have it. in other words, there’s a mental and physical expense (i.e. storage) for holding on to things, and though it seems like we’re losing money by just donating valuable stuff, there is a return of investment. 

      other than that, i know there are people who professionally sell stuff on ebay, though i have no personal experience with these services (interesting story idea however)

      • Great points! Thank you!

      • di

        Donations to others are wonderful things.

    • Another thing to consider is that just because something may be valuable (to whomever) doesn’t mean someone’s going to knock the door down to buy it, especially if it’s a common item easily had. You could be hanging onto these “valuables” for years, to where eventually your next of kin ends up doing what you should have done in the first place: give it to Goodwill /Salvation or toss it in the dumpster.

    • di

      It’s rare to get a decent return. Selling requires time that could have been spent working.

      Best not to buy. Find creative alternatives or go without.

  • Jen

    I make my living selling online, so I have to have the “stuff”. What I need is a good way to utilize the space to store it all, and a DIY plan like the Murphy bed would be great for that. Any plans out there for me and others like me? 

  • lifeedited

    a simple google search will yield lots of murphy beds. we like “resource furniture” as their quality and design is top notch, though might be rich for some people’s blood. 
    on the bottom end, check out this diy murphy bed  http://www.lifeedited.com/2012/05/build-your-own-murphy-bed-for-275/

  • MJ

    It is a process. Being a military family we move more than the average people so we are lean by most standards but I do a need for us to streamline even more.

  • Pingback: George Carlin: Too Much Stuff!()

  • AJ

    I keep editing and editing; however, I have some things that I don’t want, but am required to keep. It’s a continuing frustration for me.