Possessions Can Possess Us

“Every increased possession loads us with new weariness.” –John Ruskin (Source: A.Word.A.Day / Wordsmith.org)

I am a believer that less is often indeed more. It is all too easy for me to get loaded with weariness when I have a lot of possessions. The quote above reminds me of a question I ask myself periodically:

Do I own possessions or do they own me?

There have been times in my life when I’ve had relatively few possessions, and at other times they have seemed to take over my life with increased clutter, greater taxes, decreased space, more paperwork, additional maintenance, etc.

Sometimes the latter got so bad that I made a rule to myself that for every material thing I added I needed to give away or sell something else. I used to give away whole carloads of unused items.

I now attempt to live a more frugal life with fewer material possessions but ones that I value more. To me, “Frugal” means “Not wasteful” or “Less wasteful”. I find myself happier living this way.

For example, several years ago I sold my car. I realized that since I work at home My Beloved and I very rarely need two cars. We’ve been a one-car family ever since. While it does take a little more schedule coordination, the tradeoff has been a greater sense of satisfaction, lower costs, fewer taxes, more space, greater utilization of an expensive asset, and more. We have a car rental place within walking distance and across the street from our mechanic so even on those rare occasions when our car is in the shop we just rent a car for the day. It is still much cheaper than owning two cars.

I’ve even often found that when I’m feeling down, if I take a little time to de-clutter an aspect of my life–something as simple as cleaning off my desk or better organizing one of our garages–often makes me feel a lot better.


About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. I manage a wealth management firm that I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of approximately 60 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and the beauty of kindness and nature.
This entry was posted in Abundance, Joy & Happiness, LIfe Lessons, Observations, Quotes I Love, Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Possessions Can Possess Us

  1. billgncs says:

    good points – people and how we spend our time matter most.

  2. renatembell says:

    As a professional Feng Shui consultant, Russ, I can tell you I am very happy to hear this! Clutter stagnates energy or ‘chi’ and you really do feel a difference in energy (in your home and in your body/mind/spirit) when you open up and create new space. Glad to hear of the positive effects and how you are “Feng Shui-ing” your life. Best wishes~

  3. bulldog says:

    Russ if you want to know what all these material things mean to you, go through a flood like we did.. I lost everything in my house, from the smallest of photos of my children in there childhood days to the furniture that I had prided in my house… everything gone in a matter of 3 -4 hours… the next day I sat looking at a mud filled house void of everything I once owned… I really felt sorry for my self till the police divers pulled a small child’s body from the river near our house… What had I lost.?? Nothing compared to those parents… so today the things in my possession are that which I need nothing more and nothing less… and I’m the happiest when people say but you get by with so little… I now have nothing I don’t need and I have an un cluttered life… wonderful…

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. Wow. That puts things into perspective real fast.

      “I now have nothing I don’t need and I have an un cluttered life… wonderful…” Wonderful indeed, my friend!


  4. A lot of stuff makes me crazy – always has! If my place is cluttered, I feel cluttered.

  5. Lady Lovely says:

    Less is more. Wonderful post.

  6. This quote really hit me too, Russ. I’ve found it to be so true–and funnily enough my husband and I just dropped down to one car–we both work from home and didn’t see the need to keep two for all of the reasons you cite. One immediately feels lighter… 🙂

  7. I once heard Don Aslet, a millionaire cleaning guru, explain that we spend 85% of our time taking care of our stuff: paying for, cleaning, moving, maintaining, churning…..etc. My 91 year-old dad is an old two-way radio geek with well over 2000 cu ft of stuff that he can no longer make decisions about; both parents collect. When with them, as I have been 9 months of the last year, I feel a SPIRITUAL heaviness that permeates everything. Away from the space, I can breathe. Life is, without a doubt, more PEACEFUL with less stuff.

    • russtowne says:

      I found myself nodding in full agreement while reading your comment. Too much stuff–even when it is “owned” by others–feels oppressive to me. Thank you for your insights and story.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s