Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

By , on March 28, 2010

Miscellaneous Comment


Tony Woody discusses the problems associated with personal possessions, what he describes as stuff. I enjoyed reading his work. See Active Simplicity.

Try as we might, most of us have bought too much, not enough or the wrong things, perhaps often but at least occasionally. I am guilty. I always thought buying tools was justified, so I did – a lot. After all, tools generally save money on the first use compared with hiring someone to do the work. What I neglected to consider was the time much of this stuff requires to keep running, especially the engine-driven variety like chain saws, generators, roto-tillers, and weed wackers. Nor did I consider the space requirements. For example, our garden shed was only 64 square feet a few years ago, obviously too small. We tripled its size to 16 by 12, sure that that would give us a spacious shed. It is full, and we must move things to get to other things. Admittedly, my wife began beekeeping, something I did not anticipate when we planned the expansion. See www.honeybeesuite.com.

Like many of you, we can afford most tools we need but cannot afford to hire mechanics and tradespeople much. The result is constant pressure on storage space, a lot of maintenance time (including vacation time) for the house, the grounds, the vehicles and the tools we have.

I sometimes try to imagine being wealthy and hiring folks much more than I do. And I cannot make the scheme work. Don’t we end up swapping changing the spark plugs and the oil on our gear to writing checks, doing accounting, supervising, and making sure the right things are done the right way? Then we would trek to the gym to exercise, because all we would do is sit at work and at home and on the drive between.

It appears the life of leisure will continue to elude me; I suppose that’s a good thing.



1 Comment to “Our Stuff”

  1. Tony Woody says:

    Great post. Its a constant battle of getting rid of the things you no longer need/want/use. My wife and I have been accumulating a lot of new stuff for our 7 month old son, and its tough to be choosy about what you buy and what you get rid – I’m finding it to be especially hard with a young child.

    Thanks for mentioning my blog also.
    -TW

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