Gift to Myself + “Stuff Realization”

by JT McGee

At the end of the year I give myself a Christmas gift.

It’s more like a year-end bonus, but whatever you name it, I buy myself something around this time every year. Long story short, this year I bought an apartment.

I guess that’s a new take on the gift that keeps giving.

Anyway, the last couple days have been filled with moving stuff into the new place and I’ve come to a realization about “stuff.” I simply own too much of it.

”I’ll use it eventually”

I’d like to introduce you to my favorite phrase, “I’ll use it eventually.” It’s pretty much the reason why I keep anything – even if it won’t be used for another 50 years. I don’t really spend all that much money, so what I do own is, for the most part, odds and ends.

Looking at my desk now I have several old eyeglass cases but use only one. Computer components are everywhere – there’s some RAM just hanging out in anti-static sleeves on the other side of my desk. In between is a graveyard of odds and ends – handles to my dresser, keys to a golf cart (I don’t own one, but like all good things this has a story or ten), batteries, stamps, piles of ink replacements, Chapstick, etc.

The funny thing is that my girlfriend has way more stuff than me. As we were moving in I compared our stuff piles and she’s definitely winning in terms of weight and sheer volume. It’s 10:1; there is no contest.

And yet, she thinks I have too much stuff. And I do. But then it must be realized that if I have too much, then she has 10 times the amount that can be considered too much. If I have the common cold, then she has the black plague.

Moving Plus Trash

Given that I have lived in an area no larger than 10×10 for most of my life, there is no excuse for the number of garbage bags that left my room as I prepared to move out. I really had and still have too much junk.

Trashing things has been particularly liberating. I’ve adopted a new phrase which essentially exists to counterbalance the first: “but can I buy one of these in the future?” Bam!

Once I started throwing things away that could be repurchased in the future, my throwaway pile became ten times bigger. I know that’s a really miserable qualifier for how to sort through things, but to borrow another phrase from the land of PF “it’s what works for me.”

Yeah – that phrase works. I’ve been throwing away things like mad.

Starting with a clean slate is awesome. No more junk. No more things to stumble over. No more “experiments” with half-dead electronics hiding in the corner of the room next to late night business plans scribbled on a dry-erase board.

Plus, I’m accountable now because my other half’s desire for 100% cleanliness and organization will trump my natural favor for disorganization.

Tl;dr: Throw stuff away? Feels good, man.

Photo by: Tim Patterson

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

20's Finances December 12, 2011 at 08:02

Sounds like a nice Christmas present! Yes, moving will make you feel like you have way too much stuff. Maybe that is why people don’t move very often – they don’t want to realize how much stuff they have…?


JT McGee December 13, 2011 at 09:49

My girlfriend’s dad made a similar comment about stuff and moving, saying that it’s good to move every once in awhile just to get rid of some stuff. I joked about having too much stuff, but he had me beat when he said “just wait until you own the same home for 15 years.” I can’t imagine how much stuff I’d surely accumulate if I had a house to fill myself and 15 years to do it.


Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity December 12, 2011 at 14:55

Congrats bro. Is that where the shower curtains now reside? The best part for me was starting from scratch. I took my clothes, and my computer stuff, and that was it. Luckily I don’t like “stuff” so it was easy to just toss everything I didn’t take


JT McGee December 13, 2011 at 09:47

Yeah I don’t really like stuff as much as I like to collect it. Very little of what I own has any real value to me or my life so it’s one of those things where I keep things just for the sake of keeping things.


LaTisha @YoungAdultFinances December 12, 2011 at 17:43

I was immediately drawn to the first line because I do the same. But when you say you bought an apartment, did you buy the entire building? Cause I’m sure you could and you’ve talked about RE investing before.
That would be so flippin sweet lol


JT McGee December 13, 2011 at 09:46

Whoops – no, I didn’t buy a whole apartment building LOL. I’m a renter. I didn’t think about that line as much as I probably should have, but no – even if I could borrow enough cash to buy an apartment building I probably wouldn’t. I still don’t know where I’ll be a year from now, let alone 5-10 years that I’d need to justify an RE investment.


LaTisha December 13, 2011 at 15:30

Yeah but think about how much fun it would be to be a landlord lol


JT McGee December 13, 2011 at 21:05

Hmm, I like investments that don’t call me at midnight about broken toilets and leaky faucets. 😛


Funancials December 13, 2011 at 08:08

I’m so confused at what point in life you’re at. One day I swear you’re in a dorm room and then I’m corrected. The next day you own your own place. Then I think you’re taking bowling classes, while at the same time running some successful business. You sound more knowledgable about macroeconomic theory than my former professors, often sound like a computer whiz, but appear to be no older than doogie houser….I know there was a past yakezie thread revealing each members real job, but for my sake can you do a “get to know jt McGee” post?
Sorry – tangent there….each January once I begin playing with my toys, I take multiple loads of clothes and “stuff” to goodwill. Feels amazing each year..


JT McGee December 13, 2011 at 09:55

Hmm, I’ll make that Wednesday’s post. Maybe that will clarify a few things for others, and for myself. I really don’t know where I am in life either, so it’ll be a good open book “conversation” of sorts.


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