Did you ever think you would hear that from an expert in personal property? It is an occupational hazard, being in estates all week long and handling the countless items I valuate, handle, and advise on. I love my job, but let’s face facts — we all have way too much stuff! It’s not hard to figure out — we buy, inherit, collect, and acquire things as gifts. Over the course of a lifetime, that really adds up.
A client I met with yesterday was a breath of fresh air. When I asked which pieces she would be keeping from the estate, she simply said, “Oh no, this stuff can’t come home with me. I’ll admire, but won’t acquire. My girlfriends and I are constantly reminding each other not to clutter up our homes.” And that’s exactly the trap we all get stuck in, but this woman was disciplined!
In my public speeches, I share my theory of why we seem to collect so much, and keep doing it even though we know we already have enough. Long ago from our early human ancestors, I believe we still have buried deep in our DNA the need to collect and hunt. Back then, it was for survival. Here in the 21st century, we just whip out the plastic and buy whatever strikes our fancy. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, but there is something wrong if we continually do it, causing debt issues and marital strife, because the house is getting too full and the wallet is too empty.
I fall prey to temptation myself, especially on Ebay, if I see a pretty piece I would like to have. I sit there and have a conversation with myself. “Do you really need this, Julie? No, you don’t. Yes, it is nice, but you don’t really need it. Save your money for something really special.” Lately, I have found that I am doing this more and more, and it does work. Not only that, but I am purging my own home, sending some items to auction and other items for a yard sale with friends in the fall.
In the next week or so, I will blog a little more on downsizing and the trends we are seeing in the industry.
© 2012 Julie Hall