The Most Important Things in Life Fit in a Shoe Box

Reblogger Kathy Streib
Home Stager with Room Service Home Staging

This was a post written by Michael George of Arizona Mortgage and Phoenix Home Loans.  It touched me on two levels: 1 it shows that we really don't need all of the THINGS we all hang on to in our homes... think clutter. and 2. it was the first post I've read here at ActiveRain that brought a tear to my eye.  Can't imagine why?  Do I get choked up about clutter?  Read on about what he ended up keeping.

Karen GeorgeGeorge Carlin once opined that all Americans are concerned about is getting "more stuff"...about how our lives are consumed with getting "more stuff" at every possible moment. 

About a year ago, I moved out of my home. I was moving to a smaller place, so much of my house had to be boxed up and put into storage.

Realizing that I was going to have to part with a lot of my "stuff", I started organizing my life in order of that which was most important to me.

I organized my stuff into three piles:

1. Stuff that I can take or leave: my KitchenAid mixer, lots of unfinished hobby projects, power tools

2. Stuff that I really need to keep: business files, computer, my bed

3. Stuff that I absolutely cannot live without.

Makes sense, right?

The biggest problem was sorting piles 1 and 2.

Pile three was another story. This was for stuff I just couldn't live without. Pile three was my pry-it-out-of-my-dead-hands pile. No matter what, pile 3 items will stay with me at all times, for the rest of my life. Do you get it?

Pile three is non-negotiable.

Like many of you reading this, I thought pile three would be the hardest, but turned out to be the easiest.

You see, I had originally given myself one large U-Haul box to hold all of my most precious things. You know, the boxes that stand about 3 feet tall and about 2 feet wide? Come Hell or high water, I was going to get all of my most important stuff from a 2500 square foot house into that one box. It would be tough, but I was determined to figure it out.

It turned out to be much easier than I thought. In fact, I learned a valuable life lesson that day.

This is what I ended up saving in my "can't live without" pile. In order of importance:

1. My dearly departed wife's ashes. Not the whole urn, but a pocket-sized version for easy totability.

2. The cards she gave me on every one of our wedding anniversaries-- seven cards total.

3. My favorite picture of her, which is actually attached to this post.

4. My grandmother's Crucifix and St. Christopher's medal. A Catholic powerhouse combination.

5. My wedding certificate, my U.S. passport, my college degrees, and my birth certificate. Also in order of importance.

That's it. That's the whole list. It turns out that I never needed a big box. I didn't even need a backpack. The most important things in my life, that which I absolutely COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT, based on my own requirements for pile number three-- all fit into one tiny shoebox, with some room to spare.

Think about that the next time you get into a fender-bender or one of your kids knocks over a vase. It's just stuff. 


And when it all comes down to it, I bet you could fit your most beloved things into a shoebox as well.


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Comments 13 New Comment

Sharon Tara
New Hampshire Home Stager
Sharon Tara Transformations

There's a new documentary movie coming out called "I Am" and Oprah was talking about it the other day.  It's exactly about this subject.  It really got me thinking.  The writer said that humans are the only life forms that take more than they need.  What a world we could have if we all just took what we need instead of always taking more, more, and more.

April 26, 2011 09:49 AM
Kathy Streib
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
Room Service Home Staging

VB- I think it's a cultural thing; my husband accuses my family of being that way, but I happen to remember throwing away hundreds of Psychology Today magazines from his mom's place when we moved her!  LOL

Kristine- I tell myself when I clean out my closet that there are others who could really make good use of my clothing.  It's a motivating thing. 

Donna- that's a good idea.  I've known of some neighborhoods who have block garage sales.

Roy- We should focus on your beautiful flowers!  I think it's not until we're older that we realize the "stuff" in our lives just isn't that important.

Rob- Michael in his post really pared it down to what meant the most to him.

Toni- weren't you just moved by his  post..... hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did.

Sharon- I'm going to have to look for that documentary.  You're right... we take and take regardless of whether or not we need it.  We eat huge proportions of food because we feel like we're getting our money's worth; we take because we can.  Yes, it would be a different world if we only took what we needed.



April 26, 2011 10:32 AM
Janice Ankrett
Burlington Ont. Accredited Staging Professional
Janice Ankrett Home Staging

Great re-blog Kathy! It brought a tear to my eye ;). I dread the work involve if we ever downsize ... Whew!

April 26, 2011 11:37 AM
Kathy Streib
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
Room Service Home Staging

Janice- I think it's something just about everyone has to face.  I do have some friends that are good about getting rid of stuff.... invite a friend over like that and have them help you.


April 26, 2011 11:42 AM
Janet Jones
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC

Kathy--what a great reblog.  My husband and I downsized to a house less than half the size of the last home and lots of stuff got donated and given away.  I have never felt better and still wonder what is the "stuff" we still have in this house . . . .

April 28, 2011 07:21 PM

Kathy Streib

Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
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