Do you have too much stuff? MP Dunleavy writes a provocative article about the cost of too much stuff. It certainly makes one think. I've asked people who are hard-core coupon shoppers, if it's worth coupon shopping to fill your house, where you have rooms of stuff and enough to fill a store, versus downsizing and using the saved downsized money to not coupon? Their answer? No. They don't see the price of their extra stuff.
But is it really worth having a large space to fill? I wonder that now sitting in my home of 1800 sq ft. We used to live happily in 540 sq ft. We never coupon shopped or stockpiled because it would mean moving to larger space and we saved more by living in a 1 bedroom. But then we bought a place 3x the size and I feel have managed to fill it to the brim. Granted part of it is having a roommate, so we only doubled in size. But still I feel extremely luxurious living with so much space.
And now I am a person who fills it with stockpiled toilet paper, body wash etc. Not to a huge extent, but some. Plus we added another dog to the mix and hopefully we'll add a kid while here. But was it worth it?
I'm not sure, so I can see the writers point. The more space you have the more you spend to fill it. And sometimes you start to forget stuff you already have and keep filling it with more identical stuff. That you find you bought a duplicate item you already have. Or you buy something you never use.
Unfortunately I think this starts to happen even worse for people who stay in their final home for 30 years like my parents. I come from a long line of packrats and I sent the article in an email to my mother. I hope she decides to start cleaning her house, which by the way last time I visited, I had to sleep on the couch because she had filled my old room to the brim (no walking space and on top of the bed) full of stuff. And my brother's rooms were the same. This is a 4500 sq ft house for 2 people and there is no guest room because my mom filled it full of stuff.
So what's the cost of too much stuff? Larger heating/cooling bills, more to clean (pay a housekeeper), more to maintain. But how do you get rid of all this stuff? I figure that I'll dump everything into a dumpster when my dad dies and my mom is forced to downsize. She won't be able to afford the house on her only pension/investments. And no way will she live in a house the same size so it'll all go into the trash finally.
I wonder if other 20-somethings with boomer parents are facing the same thing? The massive amount of collected garbage? How are people letting go and downsizing?