Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Too much stuff, too few uses.

Every so often, I dig up old posts and repost them.  This was originally posted back in August, 2010, just six short months ago, from Burwell, Nebraska.

Chances are, if you are reading this, you are one of the most privileged people in the world, in terms of economy, education and opportunity. As I pack up and prepare to shut down our home in the Sandhills of Nebraska, the process serves as a reminder of the amount of work and maintenance our standards of lives require.

In these parts, as recently as four generations ago, entire families settled this land by plowing large patches to plant and building tiny sod houses on the corners to dwell in. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter, sod houses made wonderful homes for centipedes and spiders while only providing adequately for the families who lived inside. Historical recounts tell of four or five people living their lives in these dwellings, roughly eight feet by 12 feet if it was small, single-roomed construction, which was often the case. Eight feet by 12 feet is about the size of my bedroom here, and I often catch myself thinking that it is way too small to use as a bedroom.

A constant reminder of Sandhills heritage stands at the Burwell park; a sod house built by community members some time ago. It is just like the land it was built from, strong-willed and stoic. And frankly, it makes me feel guilty sometimes, walking by it to return to 3,000 square feet of over-furnished home.

Part of the problem with home is it contains too much stuff. This has been a problem for a while, especially after two households recently combined into one. This week, my loving compadre sent me this New York Times article about stuff which walks through one couple's journey of paring down their posessions. The idea is so potent, it generated a sense of relief just from reading about someone else doing it.

For now, I'm shutting the place down and will be back on the road for work, but something else my loving compadre challenged me to do was make a list of 100 things that I would live with in the recent future. It is a great idea, because there's only one suitcase going with me.


  1. I would be interested in seeing your list of 100 things. I have never been out in that part of the country, I would love to see it someday...we have so much history in this country for the short time we have inhabited it.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Stay positive!