A Place for Your Stuff

No matter your age or stage in life, I find it most instructive to revisit George Carlin’s famous discussion about “A place for your stuff.” It is one of the most humorous routines in comedy for the simple reason that it is so very accurate. I am sure you remember it. “A house is only a place for us to put our stuff.” I especially like the line, “A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.” Can you relate?

As a Realtor of the Boomer generation, it seems that I am having daily discussions with other Boomers about how to minimize their “stuff.” I am afraid many of us are drowning in stuff. Stuff to be maintained, stuff to be insured, stuff that is taxed, stuff to be stored, our grown children’s stuff, our parents’ and grandparents’ stuff (which our kids do not want), our ceramic owl collection (which our kids do not want), our collection of perfectly good answering machines and VCRs (which no one wants), decades of obsolete books and paperwork, and yard tools we would not use on a bet. I can feel you nodding in agreement!   So what do we do about it?

First, we need to dispense with the counterproductive term “down-sizing.” In the business world, downsizing equates to layoffs . . . a bad thing. This is not the same. The new, suggested term is “right-sizing.” Right-sizing is a perfect description since it applies to every generation. A growing family requires more room, hence a need to right-size. A young couple moves downtown to a pricey condo and they have to condense their belongings to fit in a smaller space – again, right-sizing. Why should change be a bad thing when the ultimate goal is a more rewarding lifestyle? Wouldn’t we rather live the life we choose, rather than be held captive to “stuff?”

So Boomers, do you have a plan? What would you like to do next? Recently I have had friends and clients buy second homes near the grandchildren. Others have bought homes in the country or in a lake community for retirement. Others have taken the opposite approach and have chosen to have fewer properties and responsibilities and have sold their rent properties, lake house, or place in the country. It comes down to having a plan for finding the freedom to do what you most want. To be weighted down with “stuff” comes with a price. If you are seeking a freer lifestyle, here are some suggestions.

  • Make an effort to cut the “stuff” 1/3 to 1/2. Remember, the 80/20 Rule. We only use 20%.
  • Start in the rooms that are not emotional.
  • Questions: Difficult to replace? Can it be rented? Was it used last year?
  • Take good photos of sentimental items which have no use or keep a representative piece.
  • Find a good home for your collections. You get the satisfaction of knowing they are wanted.
  • Have a family get-together & pass out treasured belongings and explain their importance to you.
  • Be charitable. It can be very rewarding to find someone who will treasure your gifts.

If you have been lamenting the fact that you are captive to your home maintenance, yard work, property taxes, or whatever, maybe now is time to take charge of your future! If you are ready to make some changes to simplify your life, I can help. Please feel free to give me a call and I will be glad to share my network of resources with you.


Written & submitted by: Jeff Stewart, SRES, CCIM

Phone Number: (512) 327-9310

Visit: www.stanberry.com and www.SpeakingOfAustinRealEstate.com