Too Much Potential

I try to simplify my life,
But when it comes to stuff,
I find it hard to throw things out.
Why must be it be so tough?

It’s not like I’m emotionally
Attached to everything,
But almost anything I feel
Has purpose it can bring.

Is it a fear or practical?
It is not clear to me,
But there’s a reason things were made
And that is what I see.

94 thoughts on “Too Much Potential

  1. Great piece Cubby, we all find it easy to hang on to things……bad habits is another…..I like the questions you raise, great discussion points.

    1. Hehe so glad it can serve a purpose! πŸ˜‰

  2. αΌ‡RVβ„Žβ„°β„° October 23, 2013 — 4:43 am

    Great thoughts for me to ponder on tonight. Brilliant piece. I love it. (0=

    1. You are too kind. I’m happy you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

  3. Perhaps simplifying one’s life has nothing to do with throwing things out? Perhaps seeing the value in things that others wouldn’t is who you are?

    1. Those are two very good “perhaps” questions. I’ll throw in another: Perhaps thinking too much overcomplicates things. πŸ™‚

  4. stuff, stuff and more stuff

  5. i can relate! I HATE clutter…yet, when I want to thin out a closet, it’s…oh, that’s the one I got from so-and-so, or that one is still good and fits, and maybe I’ll wear it. THINGS I keep are largely because of who gave it to me or where I got it, but sometimes I envision projects (that I never start or don’t finish) that would make “a cute Christmas present.” ‘sigh’

    1. Clutter around me makes my mind feel cluttered, which I dislike. Maybe it is more a matter of organizing the clutter into easily visible categories that will give me peace of mind. It sounds like you are a resourceful person. πŸ™‚

  6. awesome piece there. everything indeed has a purpose. only try and get that which is in line with your purpose.

    1. Thank you for your lovely thoughts. I totally agree with “only try and get that which is in line with your purpose”. πŸ™‚

  7. know the feeling..each time I’m about to clear out drawers or even my hard disk…a little voice says…but what if tomorrow…and so I hesitate to throw things out. like your meditation. purrr.

    1. Exactly. You never know! πŸ™‚

  8. Aren’t we all do this? Stuff! I have a garage full of them with the hope that one day I might need them. Beautiful as always…

    1. Some people are really good at getting rid of their stuff, but they can usually afford to buy new things easily. πŸ™‚

  9. Yes. I understand. I’m trying to de-clutter, too πŸ™‚

    1. I’m going to try again today…or maybe tomorrow. πŸ™‚

      1. I was given some news, today, that is going to help me simplify and minimize. I’ll be writing about it, later. 😦

        1. I am so sorry to hear that. It sounds like bad news. 😦

  10. Yes, I do have that ‘top junk drawer’ for all the stuff I’ll use ‘someday’. Haha, but even worse is my Mom… The things I do get the courage to throw away, she’s kept.

    1. Lol I think there may be a genetic factor for not being able to throw stuff out. As long as it doesn’t get out of hand, I think it’s okay. πŸ™‚

  11. This is not one of my problems. Or, if it is, I haven’t noticed:) It’s easy for me to get rid of most stuff. Your poem is a wake-up call to all of us. Your point of view is universal. It’s great.

    1. Thankfully I do not buy a lot of stuff. πŸ™‚

  12. Love the poem Letting go is rarely an easy thing. Peace and Blessings

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! So true about letting go. πŸ™‚

  13. So whimsical! πŸ™‚

    1. I’m glad you think so! πŸ™‚

  14. Ah Cubby my boys would certainly agree with you there as they board the attic today to accommodate our excess stuff πŸ™‚

    1. They may need it one day! Practical boys you have there. πŸ™‚

  15. Allow me to offer my insight to your poem’s thinking. I see that you find practicality in most things you have, but you sense some disquiet with your stuff perhaps wanting to experiment with simplifying your life because you sense that there might be some benefit to it. Those who are prone to the material stuff of life may not see the big picture in terms of the effect on the planet’s resources of over production, but they may see the short term benefit to the economy through the provision of jobs and incomes. It depends on where your values lie. It’s possible to do other things with money besides buying more stuff. I’ll let you think about that. I am a minimalist in that I try to avoid over purchasing of stuff. Not only does it simplify my life, but it eases my conscience and it warms my heart. I love planet earth. Hope this helps. Sandra.

    1. “It’s possible to do other things with money besides buying more stuff. I’ll let you think about that.” I never once suggested that I buy a lot of stuff, although I can understand why it might be assumed. The reality is that I rarely buy anything that is not immediately necessary, but I end up with a lot of nonessentials over many years of things being passed down. This poem is about throwing away things that may still serve a purpose, not about overconsumption. I am glad to hear your lifestyle is in alignment with your values, and I hope that most people also try to live their lives in such a way.

      1. Yes, I was wrong to suggest that you buy a lot of stuff, but I also sense your inner struggle with thoughts surrounding simplifying your life and your perception that you have too much stuff, whether or not you bought it yourself. I think that trying to resolve matters of value and policy can be extremely difficult for all of us. I note that you seem to opt for defending your stuff and that you did not relate to the environmental issues in your response. I understand. You are not ready to simplify your life through fewer “essentials”. These conversations can be awkward, but when we make our values public we should expect some discussion. On a positive note, you may have come away from it feeling more clarified about where you stand. Regards, Sandra.

  16. memories, everything you do has reason, it’s you, it’s you…so getting rid of you things, well, if you don’t enjoy yourself what are you going to enjoy…amen

    1. That is a very interesting view. I’ve never looked at it that way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. πŸ™‚

  17. Reblogged this on Brenda The Writer and commented:
    I am pretty well known in my family for being the keeper of memories. Part of that, because I have multiple sclerosis and with it various memory problems,is that I have a lot of things. One of the ways I manage my memory problems is by having cues. They are similar to the prompts that a actor might use if they were doing a play that did not have a set script.

    So for example, I have many items in my home from my grandparents on my mother’s side. Each one of these items reminds me of many different memories, ways to do things, and mental images. This is in addition to helping me keep the memory of that person alive in my brain. The disadvantage to this, with a very small house, is that I am frequently accused of having a lot of clutter.

    This poem spoke to be especially because all summer we have been working on adding storage to this house, and unpacking my belongings. Most of these have been in storage for almost 2 years well I went from apartment to hospital to living with my daughter and eventually settling down with my fiance. Each individual box has hundreds of memories, tools, books, and other items and I have to literally think through each item. I consider not only what it does for me and wether it will fit into the house but also if it is important enough to live in my spare room (which is really just a storage unit down the street). With 15 kids (even though some are ex-steps and some ex- foster kids) there is also a strong desire to hang onto things that, like my mother’s Noritake China set, I especially want to hand down to each of them. Fortunately I am not that young, and almost all of my kids are adults. My biological son Charlie, and my biological daughter Katrina both have apartments here in New Hampshire and have already taken a good amount of of their things. my adopted daughter Janel, and my ex step Nicole are both getting ready to move in the next year and once they do more items will find their way to new homes.

    In the end, I struggle with the same thing as in this poem: the fact that nearly everything in those boxes has at least one purpose and it least one cue which makes it difficult to decide what to keep and what to send off into the world like a chick being pushed out of a nest. along the way, I’m more and more have to put my face in people with me like my family, or in my written words to safeguard that the memories contained in the objects are not lost to the ravages of disease and time. It is yet another teaching moment for me, as God slowly and patiently guides me in the decision of what to keep and what to give away.

    Thank you for bringing words to the silent struggle I, and so many others, engage in!

  18. I love decluttering. I am a child of a total pack rat, though. I am now the polar opposite.

    Great piece. Loved it!!! πŸ™‚ xxxx

    1. I love the idea of decluttering, but I have problems with the execution of it. πŸ™‚

  19. Another excellent little read Cubby

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

  20. I call it the war gene. I’m sure it’s a legacy from when people had to do without so held on to stuff, knowing they would be able to recycle it as something else. I think I inherited that gene. I always think I’m going to ‘need’ something. Or can see how it may be used for something else. Or it has sentimental value. Decluttering is a difficult task. ;)x

    1. I like the war gene theory. It makes sense to me. We are survivors! πŸ™‚

      1. It’s the only reason I can think of for feeling compelled not to waste stuff. I was recycling before it was fashionable! I might just have been born in the wrong era I feel. :)x

        1. You might be right about being born into the wrong era. I have often felt that way about my poetry. πŸ™‚

          1. I am not a natural consumer in that, like yourself, I don’t seek to buy a lot of stuff. But, I do not see the point in wasting perfectly good things that can be put to another use. So, over the years, I have made my kids Hallowe’en costumes from ‘stuff’ I may have thrown away. They have had loads of non-commercial dress-up clothes from things I have not thrown out but allowed them to use. They’ve learned how to cut and sew and knit and imagine play through using things I may otherwise have thrown out.
            I am happy to accept items from others who have no use for things that I can use just as I’m equally happy to part with items I know I won’t use.
            I would like less clutter, yes. But, it is all part of who I am and what I am capable of doing with ‘stuff’. Helping the environment by not buying but by recycling and allowing imagination free reign.
            Over consumption is a problem. Waste is a bigger problem. I see no need to throw out what may prove to be useful
            I’ll let you in on a secret. I have a few items of clothing that belonged to my mum as a young woman that I wear. They are still lovely. Why would I throw these away?
            I still have my wedding dress. My graduation gown. My old school ties. Some of my old school notepads! I am sentimental. But I’m also practical.
            Sorry, Cubby, for going off on one a bit. But there are many reasons why we hold on to things.
            I see environmental challenges everywhere and I think we may do our bit for that in using what we have. The ‘war gene’. πŸ™‚
            I think you made that clear in your poem. Practicality wins out over waste any day of the week. And twice if you can use it again and again.
            When I have to start shovelling it out then I’ll consider there may be a problem. Maybe we’ve got things we can swap! πŸ™‚ get your claws into some other goodies. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ x

            1. I heartily agree with everything you say and especially the way you have said it. I love that you have a sentimental practicality and can see both sides of the picture. I regretted asking for your opinion as it felt rather rude and I tried to rescind it, but reading your reply really fills my heart with warmth and love, like reading your poem also did. Your words have released all tension from my body, and balance has been restored. I would like to now curl up on your lap and purr. πŸ™‚

              1. Aw, you’re so lovely. *pet,pet*. My favourite pussy cat! You’re so welcome.x

          2. Strange how some skills seem to be era related. And yet have every bit as much value now as at any time. Just not viewed by everyone in the same way. ;)x

  21. When it comes to “stuff”, most people don’t want what they need and they don’t need what they want; but one thing is clear, most people aren’t satisfied with what they have!

    1. So true, so true. Very well said. πŸ™‚

      1. πŸ˜ƒ This was such a great poem, it sparked so many thoughts for me and I’m reading through everyone’s comments and I see I’m not alone so bravo, to me this is what poetry is all about, getting people to think!!!

        1. I am happy to hear that it sparked thoughts for you. Thank you for your lovely comment. πŸ™‚

  22. We just seem to build more and more storage!

    I think it’s hard to get rid of things. Equally this can be read on a far deeper level. It can be hard to get rid of emotional ‘stuff’ too – we’ve recently healed a difficult family rift, but some members of the family are finding it hard to chuck out the old stuff.

    1. Yes, emotional “stuff” in the form of memories can be even more difficult to get rid of. Burying hatchets is not something I see every day.

  23. inbetweenthemadness October 23, 2013 — 1:54 pm

    Im a bit of a hoarder too…this sums it up well…even silly stuff i will keep “just in case”.
    Enjoyed this πŸ˜€

    1. I’m so glad you understand this too! πŸ™‚

  24. I just did a Big Clean, tossed out 6 bags of books I’ll never read–it was PAINFUL.

    1. I can imagine! That was very brave of you. I will try to follow your example, although I may have to take baby steps. πŸ™‚

      1. That’s what I did, actually: the last couple times I cleaned, I managed to part with 6 or 7 books per effort, and I thought that was major. But this time I got aggressive–and I suspect I may be able to toss more next time, but I’ll make no grand promises….

  25. Cubby, I forgot to mention that you might be feeling guilt rather than fear. Is that possible? Guilt often manifests as, I should do this or that. It’s a question of value and policy, ethics and morality. These questions are for you to answer. Of course, we might only speculate and theorise, but the truth of it for you is in your experience of it. Ethics asks us to examine the truth and morality asks us to examine what is right or wrong for us based on cause and effect. I am adding more grist for your mill. Sandra.

  26. Stuff, we all like stuff that has potential. It’s surprising how stuff accumulates I moved in here with virtually nothing. And I’ve accumulated a bit, When I move again I will end up throwing a bit away but not yet. I left so much stuff behind, sometimes I miss it and somehow I am happier without it. Its surprising sometime I laugh at the amount of time it took me to unpack an electric frypan, I still have not unpacked a saucepan set stuff I bought to move in with. I’ve even gained ornaments since moving in and laugh because I used to hate them cause they were dust collectors. Now I dust them funny

    1. The way we relate to our stuff is a peculiar thing indeed. I imagine that when it is time for me to move I will end up letting go of many things also. I have ornamental dust collectors too lol. πŸ™‚

  27. You are wise. There is a Murphy’s Law to ‘stuff’. If an object sits in a cupboard unused, you will never need it. If you thow that object out, you will within days require it, and have to re-acquire πŸ˜‰

    1. I have never heard this particular Murphy’s Law before, but I can absolutely believe it! And who am I to defy the laws of Murphy? πŸ˜‰

  28. Wonderfully wise.. though to me some stuff seems to be made without any purpose at all… (maybe that’s thrown out already)…

    1. Yes, there are things made solely with the purpose of turning a profit and that do not actually serve a practical function. Those things can be tossed. πŸ™‚

  29. Effortless, inspired, truthful, profound, congratulations. A real gem.

    1. Your generous words warm my heart. Thank you so much.

  30. Oh dear, this is a great piece!! I kept my wedding dress and had it shortened to wear at my son’s christening! I finally got rid of it after 24 yrs, the year I separated.I am the clutter nut …not as bad as I used to be but still it is difficult to get rid of things that are useful and clothes, I always look for that darn sweater a week after I finally gave it away {groan}. My mom and I used to swap bags of clothes and swap back…rule was: don’t give it away before check with me in case I want it. My mom was hoarder though…way beyond clutter…my grandmother’s excuse was the depression having to do without for too long and what if they need it. I think I am more reasonable…my son is the same…but we both try to get second hand furniture etc…cars as well…Oh, my, you got me doing an inventory in my mind now…:) I think I’ll have a nap now…

    1. I think we all have reasons to hold on to the things we do, whether it be practical, sentimental, or both. As long as it does not impact negatively on your life, I do not see this as being a problem. Getting things secondhand when you can is a smart thing to do in my opinion. I hope you have a good nap! πŸ™‚

  31. As one in the position of trying to pare down the remains of our things that are still in Germany to be able to fit them into a VW Caddy, I can sure identify. If we go with one Van size up, the ferry counts it as a van, rather than a car, so it’s much more expensive, plus more difficult to drive. At the same time, selling used things is hardly worth the effort you put into it. Nobody goes to garage sales any more. Everyone else has too much too, and the charity shops even act like they are doing you a favor to take things away. Especially in Germany, nobody wants used things. It just seems so wasteful to throw certain kinds of things away.

    1. Yes, I absolutely agree. When no one wants the stuff you have and you can still see a use for them, it does seem incredibly wasteful to throw these items out. I hope you figure out a way to move your things without the added expense of having to move up to a van.

  32. I throw things away so much so that I end up throwing away the good with the bad!

    1. As long as you don’t regret it and/or can afford to buy new things, then that’s okay. πŸ™‚

  33. Cubby, I’m not happy with how I responded to you. I don’t think that I listened very well and I think I got a little preachy. Upon reflection, the heart of the issue seems to be some anxiety about “throwing things away that have use”. Can I rephrase this in terms of not wanting to waste? Perhaps then you might like to consider donations to charity as a means of recycling your non essential stuff? Perhaps the healing is in rethinking, reconceptualising, reframing how you look at disposing of your stuff. A garage sale? perhaps. Sorry that I wasn’t more helpful. Sandra.

    1. I tend to retreat when confronted with such assertiveness, but I understand that people who are passionate about their views sometimes cannot help being enthusiastic in their response. The fact that you have chosen to rephrase this shows your thoughtfulness and consideration. Donations to charity are definitely a great place to start as I already do this with clothing I do not need. Rethinking and reframing are also important when it comes to changing one’s perception. You do not have to be sorry as I was not asking for help, but it is kind of you to offer your help and I do find your suggestions to be helpful. πŸ™‚

      1. You are such an amazing person. So understanding. Can I ask, why did you post that poem? It did look to me like you were asking for help. Or is that more me than you? So many others were eager to offer help. May be help is the wrong word. Suggestions might make more sense. Thanks for your support. Sandra πŸ™‚

        1. There is no particular reason I posted/wrote this poem other than to express a feeling/thought that I had and then share it with others. I asked two questions in the poem, and when people see questions, they will want to provide answers if they can, but I was hoping these questions and answers would be more self-directed rather than directed towards the writer. People are free to give suggestions and offer their help, and when they do, this shows me how many caring people there are in the WordPress community. You have shown me this yourself, and I think it is really a wonderful thing that you are so passionate about your thoughts and feelings, as long as you realize it may be a little intimidating to shyer individuals like me. πŸ™‚

  34. I call this sentimentality. I share the feeling. πŸ™‚

    1. I am so glad to see that there are many people who feel this way! πŸ™‚

  35. I save a lot of things because of their sentimental value. And I think it’s great if you’re able to appreciate what you have and find a use for those items. It seems that many people buy a lot of things without much thought, and those are the items that end up getting tossed out. Great poem, as always, Cubby!

    1. I have a one-week rule when it comes to buying things: If I see something I really like, I will wait 1 week and reevaluate if I still feel strongly about that item. It works every time as I also tend to forget during that time. πŸ™‚

      1. That’s an excellent rule!

  36. I agree. I tend to hold on so tightly to my things. They become part of you.

    1. I think it has a lot to do with security, and as long as it does not negatively impact your life, I see no harm in holding on to things. πŸ™‚

  37. I absolutely get what you mean! >.< I'm always getting myself in trouble because I just hang on to everything and hope it will come in handy later. So long as it isn't something that is taking up physical space then that is fine, I think.

    1. I find virtual things to be very hard to keep track of. But it does save a lot of physical room! πŸ™‚

  38. lulupoetrycorner October 25, 2013 — 4:55 pm

    You’ve been in my closet? I like my stuff too:) Seriously, I have learned to let go of my stuff by giving to those who need it most. The memories stay:)

    1. I think I would have to pay people to take my stuff, and then they would probably just throw it away anyways, which would still be a waste. If you see black and brown cat hair in your closet, then yes, most likely I have been there. πŸ™‚

  39. “I try to simplify my life,
    But when it comes to stuff,
    I find it hard to throw things out.
    Why must be it be so tough?

    It’s not like I’m emotionally
    Attached to everything,
    But almost anything I feel
    Has purpose it can bring.

    Is it a fear or practical?
    It is not clear to me,
    But there’s a reason things were made
    And that is what I see.”

    ; )

    I like to simplify my life,
    And when it comes to stuff,
    I really really like to throw,
    I cannot throw enough!

    As you may have guessed…

    I find it fun to throw out junk,
    But why oh why?
    Why oh why?
    Why oh blooming why!
    Did I throw the empty trunk?

    : (

    1. Lol thank you for the wonderful response. Since writing this poem 5 years ago, I have read a book that has helped me a lot in throwing stuff out called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. It doesn’t sound like you need to read it though if you are throwing out empty trunks. πŸ˜‰

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