Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Estate

My fiance and I visited an estate sale this weekend. For those of you wondering what this is, it's about as simple as the name. Someone is selling their estate, exerything in their home. Everything is pulled out from the shelves and cupboards and priced. Many times the owner has passed away or is simply moving into an assisted living establishment where they can't take all of their stuff. We enjoy perusing such sales as we are young and own relatively little and have recently bought a house which is practicaly bare. We also don't like paying full price for new things and an estate sale is a good place to find well taken care of furnishings for low prices.

As with everything I encounter these days though, this estate sale got me thinking. The sale we visited wasn't really that great, for us anyway. There was nothing we were interested in and we were done in less than 10 minutes. That being said, there were hundreds and hundreds of items for sale in this house. Clothes, dishes, train sets, buttons, VHS tapes, trinkets and furniture just to start. Needless to say, this is one of the smaller estate sales I've been too. What got me thinking was how much value we Americans place on stuff. We go to work everyday and sell ourselves for a per-hour dollar amount. Rarely do we do this because it brings us fulfillment or joy but because it gives a means by which to amass stuff. We drive to work everyday to make about enough to buy a car and fill up with gas every week so that we can drive to work everyday. Anything we make beyond that, or even money we don't actually have is spent on stuff. Clothes, dishes, train sets, buttons, DVDs, trinkets and furniture, that if lucky, will end up someday in an estate sale to be passed over by a younger, hipper generation.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my stuff just as much as anyone else. I have a house and am in the process of filling it with stuff. On the other hand though, I do try and keep the right mind set in which I own my stuff and my stuff doesn't own me. It's a hard line to walk. It's not very tight and everybody tries to tell you it's the wrong one, but how often is the crowd actually right?

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