View Full Version : Possessions.

5th Aug 2010, 00:32
Most people have surrounded themselves with 'possessions' - some more than others.
The recent discussions about downsizing houses (as family leave home) highlights the 'quart into a pint pot' situation, where those moving have reduced space for the possessions that they have acquired over many years.

Are we really defined by our possessions?

One thing is certain, none of us can take anything with us when we go (there are no pockets in shrouds). So how much space do we need in which to live?

And how much money must we have to cover the essentials?

Imagine that you lose everything (as, indeed, have some of those affected by the floods in Pakistan) and you are required to start from scratch. Assume that someone will provide you with whatever you want - but you have to argue that you really need it - what would you ask for?

5th Aug 2010, 01:18
I'd need my lipstick and mascara....:)
And my purse. I got everything but the kitchen sink in there.
All other stuff is just that - stuff. I enjoy it but do not need it.

Metro man
5th Aug 2010, 01:33
Most of us have far too much junk, I'm looking forward to retiring in a smaller place with just what I need and traveling around light.

Decent laptop ESSENTIAL
Small amount of suitable good quality clothing and footwear.
Comfortable bed
Washing machine
Sports car

Loose rivets
5th Aug 2010, 03:37
We spent hours in our storage unit while at home. 7, or even 8 hours. Not fair on 'er indoors, cos she doesn't want any of it.

I want it all. Thousands of little things that I collected over a lifetime. Nice things, crap things, they're all there. Well, all but the ones I sold.

Thousands spent in storing the stuff. Time going by. Living with, and even on, borrowed furniture and Goodwill store things. If I could turn back the clock and get it over here on day one. Too late now. Kids will give it away and not have a clue of its value. There's a sideboard that is 7'6" long and takes four men to lift it. And me desk. Three men for that. For the first time in 7 years I managed to reach the draws of the sideboard. The things I was looking for weren't in there. :ugh:

I have a box of plugs. Electrical ones. Some are wood, and turned on a lathe before the insertion of the brass bits. Some are brass, and used to tickle when live. Some just go Clang when they're switched.;) Some of the switches are perfectly silent. They were sold as silent switches. In those days, things had to do what it said on the box. Well, all those things not sold by post-war spivs.

Chairs are nice. Big. Walnut, I think. Mum recovered them when she was a lass. Can't replace those. Things. Just lots and lots of things.

I opened the desk draw and took out a pen that I used when I was a young pilot. I refused to throw it away just cos it had tape on the join.

A fender. Fine, with brass leaves - all needing a polish - but nice. Never have a big fireplace now. Big brass lamp. It goes up or down, and runs on paraffin. Good in the Blitz. I drilled two holes in the bowl and put wires in when I was 12. I soldered them up with a little plate of copper when I was 30. We used it in the 70's power cuts. Worked well.

I brought the CureAll machine back for my son this last trip. He wanted to show it to his students. Big wooden box with lots of glass thingies that light up with . . . gasp, electricity. There's even a pair of things to clap on yer eyeballs. F:mad:k that!!!!!!! Never tried that one. It worked last time I powered it up.

They'd put a box of tools I couldn't lift on top of a 400 year old coffer. Oh, my. Good job it was old. F:mad:k 'em, I paid 30 for them to repack me stuff after one of the sort outs.

There was a box of meter movements. It seems they're for the AVO Valve tester 163. One bloke paid 300 for one including the restoration. The movement, not the complete bit of kit. It seems, unbeknown to me, I'd purchased the world's stock of replacement units. New in the wrappers. 70 of them. I only found about 15 of them, and I just have a bad feeling about the rest. Almost pulled me desk to destruction looking for them.

Still, not as bad as SIL's house. The stone one. She used it to store her life's possessions. That's the one that was blown to pieces with one lightning strike. Nothing left at all.

47 boxes of stuff. Just stuff. I've proved I don't need it. Not need, need . . . but something my grandmother polished and gave to my mother, isn't just something. It feels different. It just sits there waiting. Upside down on an ormolu encrusted cabinet. Nobody cares that the glass is not modern float. Nobody cares that . . .

5th Aug 2010, 04:16
A) Life and limb.
B) Family members and pets.
C) Irreplaceable family photos.
Oh, and every vital financial document that I could scavenge, e.g., insurance info, once A, B, and C were safe and accounted for.

P.S., The shirt on my back and anything else time allowed for, probably including computers and back-up CDs. And books... Have some I wouldn't wish to part with.

5th Aug 2010, 04:24
My logbook.

It's the only artifact that records the best days of my life.

And the worst.

5th Aug 2010, 05:01
I'd add a couple of little luxuries to Metro Man's comprehensive list:

Decent laptop ESSENTIAL
Small amount of suitable good quality clothing and footwear.
Comfortable bed
Washing machine
Sports car

Decent watch and pen. Maybe in a perfect world I'd ditch the watch.

I'd also take Loose Rivet's post on this to reread - I thought that was a really good piece of writing. It would remind me of the feeling of owning 'stuff' even if I didn't own any! :ok:

Gas Bags
5th Aug 2010, 06:42

Nuff Said!

Wetbehindear, you dont 'loose' something you lose it. You set something 'loose'. i.e. a bird.


Gas Bags
5th Aug 2010, 07:19

Apresiated. (Pot/kettle - sorry, couldn't resist it! JB Mods)

Oh by the way you think along the lines 'of' something....You let somebody 'off' something. i.e. a wrongly accused person.


5th Aug 2010, 09:28
The fundamental problem is obvious. It's not really junk, but then again, it has little or no value to anyone else. You can't just chuck the stuff, you certainly can't sell it, what do you do? I bet I threw out $10,000 in kitchen gadgets helping in an estate cleanout once. It was all packaged, all new, and nobody in a hundred miles wanted any of it.

I get rid of unwanted bicycles by abandoning them in racks at the local college.
Sooner or later, someone FINALLY steals the silly thing.

tony draper
5th Aug 2010, 09:38
Reminds me of that story where someone won a new fridge freezer, the one it replaced was not very old and worked perfectly well so he put it outside on the pavement with a note taped to saying "working freezer free to a good home" hoping some needy person would take it,it was still there a week later,so he taped a new note saying "Good freezer, thirty dollars, apply within", it was stolen half an hour later.

5th Aug 2010, 10:06
I am fairly certain that it's in one of the Alan Bennett monologues "Talking Heads" that Thora Hird speaks of how she had started off with nothing as a baby. Then over her life had acquired estates from deceased husbands to becoming extremely wealthy. Now she was a resident in an old peoples home and everything she owned fitted into a small bedside cabinet beside the bed she was sitting on. She spoke so eloquently of the mansions and gardens she had owned with all their associated material possessions, both by quantity and value.

Now as I find myself gradually downsizing Thora Hird comes often to mind. The classical guitar that I will never play again - osteoarthritis in my left hand, beautiful clothes that will never fit again - like my favourite suede jacket, the cut-glass whisky decanter - drink very little alcohol these days, etc.

Will I still retain the memories after the memory-prompts have gone? Hard to say - probably not. But then again perhaps memories hold one back from moving forward with one's life. Older people, and at 66 I don't classify myself as such, do seem to spend huge slabs of their time engrossed in their memories. So disposing of the memory-prompts may not be such bad thing after all. I need to generate new memories, instead of getting lost in the old ones.

tony draper
5th Aug 2010, 10:17
One of the rules of the universe being if you have a item that has been unused for year and are sick of tripping over,if you throw it out, within a week you will have desperate need for that item.
This of course applies more to items one would find in in sheds and junk rooms rather than indoors furniture and such.
This rule also applies to a lesser extent to item out on loan,frinstance one has a set of ladders that have been chained up unused for near a years,bloke knocks on door asks to borrow same,next day another neighbor knocks on door asking to borrow them, one has to tell him they are already out on loan,two days later one needs them oneself to put new bulb in security light,this is the way the universe works.

Ancient Observer
5th Aug 2010, 10:44
Prof Drapes is correct, as ever.

Some time ago I asked a thread on here what to do about the clutter in my garage. Lots of helpful advice was received.
I decided to do some modest clearing out. (To make room for more clutter, of course. Why else?)
One of the cleared items was a set of car ramps which I used to assist when I maintained cars. As modern cars are too clever for me, they could go.
OK, it wasn't the day after I'd got rid of them that I needed them - it was the week after.

Worrals in the wilds
5th Aug 2010, 11:22
what would you ask for?

I've noticed that people who lose everything in floods, fires or whatever usually mention family photographs as the thing they either regretted losing or were glad to save. Fortunately, these days digital storage makes it much easier to save copies.

For all that, though, when you see poor sods on the news that lost everything to fire or flood, they almost always say they were glad everyone escaped safely. To a lesser extent, the same goes for pets.

As a person with far too much Stuff I'd hate to lose any of it, but fundamentally posessions are replaceable and people aren't. I think the value of Stuff is the memories it generates rather than the items themselves, which often have little material value to anyone else. Even if they have a large material value, I don't think that is always proportional to the personal value.

I have some items that belonged to my dear departed aunt, who I still miss. I can't bring myself to get rid of them (even though they are no use to me) because it feels like getting rid of her, of her memory. So I find room for her 1950s childrens' books, her tacky trinket boxes and jewellry I will never wear, because to let them go smacks of disloyalty.
Silly really:sad:.

5th Aug 2010, 11:32
these days digital storage makes it much easier to save copies.
Maybe, but how long will digital storage last? Will those who 'find' CDs (or whatever) appreciate what they contain? If you find a box of prints you can sort through them and decide what interest they contain, but digital media can contain many more images (and it requires equipment to view it).
I suspect that the 100-year-old box of photographs will always win over a handful of CDs or SD memory cards.

5th Aug 2010, 11:33
"none of us can take anything with us when we go"

In that case I'm not going.

Torque Tonight
5th Aug 2010, 12:00
"The things you own end up owning you."

as a great philosopher once said. (Lollipop to the first with the correct name.)

5th Aug 2010, 13:46
none of us can take anything with us when we go

A local old radio announcer (no, not a DJ, they weren't around then) who was a regular joke-cracker, used to come out with... "They reckon you can't take it with it you. Well, I'm going to try. I've just had a new, fireproof, money belt, made..." :suspect:

Possessions are the things we use to establish our position in society, to assist our ego, and as physical representation to hold fast to memories that we find enjoyable.

Unfortunately, we Westerners rate physical possessions too highly. You truly recognise the things of real value, when you've lost all your possessions, as in a fire.
You realise that the most important things in life are... good health... a few good friends... good family... and the people who stay with you and support you, even after you've lost everything.

How many times have we seen people die, trying to save possessions? No possession is worth your life... but many people aren't aware of this.
Nearly all possessions can be replaced. Those that can't, you just have to live with the memory of them.
Photos are definitely things that many people suffer grief over, when lost. The sensible thing is to make duplicates of the important ones and keep them in a safe place.

Gas Bags
5th Aug 2010, 16:30
I was hoping someone out there would appresiate the wry humour!

5th Aug 2010, 16:42
I like books and rarely get rid of one. I recently acquired a new complete matched hard-back set of Nevil Shute's novels, and chucked out all the tatty old paperback versions I had acquired, some of them over 40 years ago. What a mistake! The books are the same (well the words are) and look very posh, but I really miss the tatty old copies that I'd had most of my life.

Possessions arent essential, but they can mean a lot, irrespective of their monetary value.

5th Aug 2010, 17:00
A colleagues house burned down last weekend - nothing but the shell left. Fortunately the neighbour (who lived upstairs and also lost everything managed to save the dog (no one was home).

The poor guy found himself shopping for a toothbrush and underwear... it's nice to have gadgets and stuff, but I think given the choice him and his family would take the dog being saved anyday over other possesions

Loose rivets
5th Aug 2010, 17:14
People losing their homes to fire is frighteningly common here. The houses disappear in about 20 minutes. I just don't understand the American resistance to Autoclaved blocks. (Celcon type.) Almost everyone I talk to about building, has no idea what I'm talking about. (and that's the ones that speak English.):}

5th Aug 2010, 20:09
"The things you own end up owning you."

as a great philosopher once said. (Lollipop to the first with the correct name.)

It was used in the film "Fight Club" by Brad Pitts character and is also a title of a song by the band Stray From The Path..do i get two lollipops?

Chuck Palahniuk used it also in his book but seeing as the film above is the adaptation of his book then asking for 3 lollipops is probably pushing it!:}

5th Aug 2010, 20:09
The obvious priorities; family and pets of course....and pictures as well.

My two prized possessions though.

1. A note my Father wrote to me a number of years back. It's the first time he ever wrote the words 'I love you" to me.

2. A personally type written and hand signed note on Official Letterhead from United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy to my Grandmother (same last name as mine), thanking her for her thoughts and well wishes and that he was looking forward to meeting her on his upcoming visit to Los Angeles. It was dated May 29, 1968. :sad:

5th Aug 2010, 20:20
Decent laptop ESSENTIAL

Interesting comment. Had a spell at work today when the computers broke down for about 10 minutes-had an experience with a patient I've not had for a long time..... a decent conversation.

Come to think of it, I've had the best times with friends, the ginge, and kids, when I've been in a situation with least possessions-CAMPING:}

So, after the usual list of wife, kids and Max, I'd say a tent:)

Loose rivets
6th Aug 2010, 05:44
What about that fine shed??!!

6th Aug 2010, 08:21
Was thinking of the shed, but just remembered that sprog number 2 was made in a tent, so perhaps there's one more thing I should take. (Ok 2 omre things if it was for a fortnight).