Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Are You Attached to Your Stuff?

Because I am.

I thought I wasn't.

I received a very rude awakening yesterday.

David and I have been trying to sell the house for about a month now.  (You know, due to our moving to Kansas City and all.)   We only bought the house about 6 months ago, so we had very little wiggle room in terms of the price we could accept.  We also needed to unload the house FAST, since we have (relatively) very little in our emergency fund (Ugh...more about that in another post...).

We listed the house, and a few weeks later dropped the asking price down a dramatic $10,000, hoping to attract some attention.  We got a showing the next day - sweet.  Two days later, we got an offer - sweeter.  However, the offer was low - a full $15,000 below even our strategic price plunge.  We literally did not have the liquid funds to make this offer work, so we countered somewhere in the middle.

Then, we received a counter-counter offer that came halfway between the original offer and our counter (still with me?) but was contingent on us throwing in some of our stuff.

The buyer wanted our entertainment center, our flat-screen TV, and our elliptical machine.
And I sobbed.

Even as I was freaking out over the possible loss of our stuff, I knew that freaking out made no logical sense.  The stuff is only worth a couple of thousand dollars.  Every two months the house sits on the market, we lose more money than the stuff is worth, just because we're paying a mortgage on a house we're not living in.

But the tears kept coming.  What was going on?

I'm not quite sure to make of it, exactly.  I mean, I know why I want that stuff. 
  • The elliptical machine represents my only opportunity to work out (or work out alone, anyway) and get my skinny-lady body back after having three kids in three years.  
  • The entertainment center is pretty much the biggest piece of furniture in our house, and will be one of the major things that will make our rented Kansas townhouse feel like home.  
  • TV in general is a great obsession of mine.  Stay-at-home motherhood involves lots of naptime home maintenance, and I was looking forward to doing it in the presence of a 42" showing of Twilight or Harry Potter movies.  Watching our favorite shows is one of the only things David and I do together just him and me - it definitely is the only "date night" type thing we can afford to do.

Still, I could go on brisk walks with the kids, two in our jogging stroller and one slung.  We still would have our couches and coffee table to make the new place feel like home.  And David and I could watch our shows on a little 19" dinosaur-TV, or even on our laptop.   
Losing any or all of these things would not be the end of the world.  Right?

Thankfully, thanks to our incredible Realtor/dear friend, we were able to make the deal work without forfeiting our stuff.  These things that help make our house a home and contribute to my stay-at-home-mom sanity retention will be coming to Kansas with us. 

But the question remains - why was I so upset?  Or, perhaps more importantly, why do I still feel utterly violated at this buyer's request for my things?  Here at The Frugal Ima, we're supposed to be celebrating moments, not things.  Right?

I'd love to hear your responses - are you, or have you been, attached to stuff?  
Reassurances, platitudes, and the sharing of personal experience all welcome. 


  1. leigh ann -- big news about your move!! kansas city is lucky to have you guys! you HAVE to read the book "it's all too much" by peter walsh. it will rock your world!! and give you a lot of insight into all this "stuff"! enjoy your new beautiful little girl! love, debbie

  2. think it is so interesting that the person wanted the stuff that you most wanted. I personally am not interested in Entertainment centers, TVs, or Eliptical machines so at first I thought well those are pretty impersonal items. Nonetheless it still felt violating that someone came to your house and wanted you stuff. Something about coveting and power dynamics-the person tried because they could...Anyway your explanations of why the stuff means what it does to you was very powerful and also your recognition that you could be okay without it. Maybe that recogition created a spiritual opening that lead you to be able to these items. It also made me think of things that I would not want to have to give to a buyer. I also think that kids have a way of making you care a lot less about your stuff in general. I cared so much about my china when we were getting married and decorating the house before kids. Now I just worry about breaking my ankle on their toys!


Thanks for your comments! They make my day.

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