By Vicki Todd

Now click your fingers and tap your feet and sing this little ditty with a heartfelt beat (I don't know what kind of beat, 'cause I'm tone-deaf, but go ahead and try).

I've got stuff in the closet
I've got stuff on the floor
I've got stuff in the oven and coming out the drawers!

There's stuff in the garage
There's stuff in the car
There's stuff everywhere--you don't have to look far!

The outdoor stuff makes me crazy
The dog stuff makes me insane
The kid stuff is the stuff that causes all the pain

We keep buying stuff 'till the house gets full
We have a little moving sale when we can't shut the door
We keep buying all this stuff, we're going to be poor!

It's all about stuff, it's all about stuff (boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom-boom-boom).

Can anyone relate to this? Why is it I have to buy ten rolls of paper towels at a time? Can I never go back to the store again? When I bought new bedding for my son, I kept the old bedding--just in case. Just in case of what--that I might need a ratty, old comforter that has been chewed on by the dog and washed so many times that the guts are falling-out of it? Oh yes, now that's a good thing to save!

I'm not sure I should even approach the clothes and shoe issue.

Question: Why do I have twelve different pairs of black pants?
Answer: Because I'm always searching for the one pair that is going to make me look like a slim Jane pretzel!

Question: Why do women have to buy so many shoes?
Answer: It's the one thing on the body that doesn't go up and down in weight, so when you're feeling a little thick in the waist, shoes are the answer!

I have always had a stuff problem with clothes. I still have jeans from high school)...that says it all. I finally had to move clothes that I wore when I had a real job (a real job is one that pays you money each month) out of my closet, but they only made it to the closet upstairs. I keep thinking maybe my daughter will like them someday (she is six--not size six, six years old). I can hear her saying it now (with hands on her hips and eyes rolled): "You've got to be kidding. You saved that for 25 years?!" I just can't make myself throw out a suit that I spent a month's salary on back in the day, so there it hangs.

Why is it that every time I go to Target for something important, I find all the needless stuff that I can't leave without? Everyone must have a new set of yellow and red plastic glasses and dishes to match their annual flowerbed, don't they? Or a lifetime supply of candles...because they were on sale. Unpacking the stuff when I get home is a real challenge. One must make room for all the new little treasures. I have to rearrange my already cramped cupboards (I discover all the candles that I bought last year) to make room for the new stuff.

Hair and cosmetic products are another problem. I'm a sucker for the advertising: "You will have new and improved hair overnight with our pro-select mink and rosemary secret formula!" Now that I'm pushing forty, the anti-aging products are a must. So far, I still look the same, but I promise to keep testing until I find one that will work. I just keep storing them all, pushing them further back in the drawers and cabinets, creating of course--more stuff!

The crème-de-la crème of stuff is "kid stuff." This is the stuff I can do without. It's overwhelming, it gives me nightmares, and it keeps me awake too! How come kids need so much stuff? I grew up in a 10 x 10 room that I shared with my sister. There wasn't room for stuff. Now kids have these, pardon the language, big ass rooms, filled with stuff. Kids now even get presents when leaving a birthday party--the "party bag." It's not even their birthday! The birthday kid probably receives at least twenty toys--every year--from various friends and relatives to add to his collection of stuff. Each event in the year is more stuff: Easter, Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween and Groundhog Day (yes, there is even stuff for that!). After the first few years, there is no more room in the house for the kid stuff. The whole family must move and get the kid a bigger room, or face "The Toss." Tossing is hard. Ever had a kid dangle from your leg, wailing at the top of his lungs when you're trying to toss the useless broken truck with no wheels: "Please, pleeeeeeease don't toss my truck, it's my favorite!" Just when you think it's under control, Grandma comes with a load of stuff to replace the stuff that you just got rid of.

I have been battling stuff for sixteen years of marriage. I have officially lost, given up, thrown in the towel for the last time. I am ready to purge, getting ready for a big "Selling-All-Stuff Sale." I wonder how long it will take to replace it?

© 2003 Vicki Todd and The Rebel Housewife, LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

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