Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Function is value

I was recently discussing people who hoard stuff, for example: this crazy lady. Without thinking I said: "What's the point of having all that stuff if you never even look at it? Boxes of old family photos are just as worthless as a bunch of used calendars if you never look at them."

It kind of startled me. Could personal mementos really be just as worthless as some bunch of crap you bought on eBay just because it was a deal? How much stuff do I have sitting around at arms reach that I will never use again? Shouldn't I just get rid of it all?

I'm moving soon, perhaps I'll use it as an opportunity to clean house? It's probably easier than getting rid of emotional baggage...

3 comments:

Matt said...

I read about a study where people were given a mug worth about $5. Later, they were given the opportunity to auction the mug, and others were given the opportunity to bid on a mug. It turns out that people overvalue things simply because those things are THEIRS. A used mug was valued by all in the study as worth about $4, but those who were selling their mugs wouldn't let them go until the bid hit about $7 (for the SAME mug).

For me, probably the only good thing about moving is the opportunity it affords to throw a lot of junk away: the fact that usually you're under time constraints (and the space constraints of a moving van) seem to make it easier not to overvalue thinks that have been filling up your closets and collecting dust and spider corpses for two years.

(PS: want to trade links? http://vaindesires.blogspot.com.)

Ryan Wanger said...

I just read about that mug experiment in a book I've read recently but can't remember which one...

PS - Thanks for the comments Matt, I linked you!

Matt said...

Thanks, Ryan. Linked you back. Keep it up!