Too Much Stuff Isn’t Sexy.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Nov 27, 2010
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Stuff will suffocate the love in your life.

I’ve moved half of my house out of my house over the past week…it’s not fun. There’s drawers full of random things, and dirt and dust and mouse poop…and clothes and books I didn’t know I had.

But, then, moving in my new roommate/lover’s things, that’s fun. New furniture, new taste, fresh air.

It’s like what Trungpa Rinpoche talks about, with the cocoon. Clearing out old life and karma is hard. Bringing in new is a lot of work, but fun and new and fresh.

It’s a cliche, of course, but cliches are often repeated again and again because they strike a chord; because they’re true: stuff doesn’t make me happy. Stuff doesn’t make you happy. Things don’t equal contentment. Possessions possess their owner.

What makes us happy? Things of quality and taste that we need. And…little else.

old tee shirts I love but never wear become napkins:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


13 Responses to “Too Much Stuff Isn’t Sexy.”

  1. Jason Gan says:

    Getting rid of stuff is the most challenging thing. The older a person gets, the more stuff s/he hoards, cluttering up everything, especially cluttering up the mind. Having an excessive collection of stuff represents clinging onto either past or future, which, on a deeper level, reflects the anxious state of a dynamic mind, in a world of uncertainty. The way to achieve happiness, is to renunciate earthly pleasures (represented by stuff), and end the neverending state of worry.

    When we stop to think about all of the stuff, we realise that a lot of it is unnecessary. Why do we keep stuff? We hoard because we want to remember a past, or in case we need something for a possible future. Sadly, the stuff ends up not getting used at all, as we forget all about living in our present moment (fulfilling present needs). As time moves on, things change, people change, needs change. Your stuff stays the same but you don't need your stuff any more.

  2. Cara says:

    @Jason – I'm older(63 to be exact), and I find that as I get on, I want LESS stuff, not more. But I do agree about not needing the stuff any more, save for what is meaningful and useful to us. Our home is peaceful and beautiful. My husband and I have been on a simplification path for more than 25 years and loving every minute of it. There's not a thing that we got rid of that we miss, at ALL. Less stuff = more time to do as one wishes and be open to amazing life experiences, IMO.

  3. Randall Smith says:

    extremely timely. Moved back home about a year ago after a layoff, and didn't intend to stay. Living with my da to save $$$ and helping him weed through 40+ years of family history and acquisitions. It's working. He wants to downsize and move into a smaller place. I've been living out of a room in a house and several motels while traveling for work. Sometimes it's hard because I like to tinker on stuff which requires a fairly large complement of tools and a work surface, so in that regard I don't need storebought shiny objects, but I like to polish up stuff that would otherwise get buried in a mountain of trash. less truly is more. experience.

  4. yogi tobye says:

    I emmigrated to east valley arizona last year… 2 bags, 2 guitars and my yoga stuff. Came home to Ireland 6 weeks later, moved back into my old newly decorated house and seriously didn't notice a lack of stuff.

    I got more stuff since then, but it's good to know exactly what I can get down to that matters! (probably one bag, one guitar and a yoga mat.)

  5. Steve says:

    Very timely. Just helped my pending ex move her stuff. A year ago we moved from our short-sold home of 3000 sq. ft. to a tiny rental house. Thought we were able to jettison much stuff then. Now, two rental truckloads later and she still has gobs of stuff to go. I wish her and her stuff well. Me, I am looking forward to more lightness.

  6. elephantjournal says:

    This summer I got rid of everything that didn't fit in my car. It was one of the best gifts I ever gave myself. ~ Angela R.

  7. Enjoyed this, Waylon. Part of my Yoga these days is definitely having less and less stuff, rather than more and more. I even find Kindle to be liberating in that regard, although I still love regular books, too.

    Bob W.

  8. ajBombach says:

    The more ya know the less you need! High five!

  9. jcmeyer10 says:

    No it ain't. As I look around my room, I know I could do a little decluttering myself. Thanks for the extra motivation.

  10. Claudia says:

    Yes cliches do resonate because they have truth in them, a couple of years ago when the job and the car and the house went away from my life because of, well, 2009, that was one of the unexpected surprises for me, giving it all up and keeping only what was truly wanted and needed was the best life lesson threw my way! Thanks for the reminder especially around this time

  11. Priscilla says:

    Thanks for encouraging me to let go. My mother is in her 10th year of living with Alzheimers, and I've been hanging on to a lot of material reminders that she led a full, vibrant life. But it is time for me to know her in another way. And I've got my own stuff to toss as well…

  12. Lynn Hasselberger says:

    Absolutely true! We cleaned out our garage and now call it our zen garden. It could use a fountain and plants, but it feels so good to get rid of STUFF. Next stop, junk drawer.