If Renting Is the New Owning, Will I Be Cured of “Stuffocation”?

Not the Typical Birthday Present.

When I turned 40 I got myself a dumpster. Worse, I did it again when I turned 42. Why? Its mere presence in my driveway forced me to literally “clean house” in a short 5 days. Even though I am not much of a shopper, things simply “collect” –  I guess it comes with having a family of 7.

I can officially say that I am “stuffed”..suffering from what trend forecaster James Wallman coined “stuffocation” (‘How we’ve had enough of stuff and why you need experience more than ever.’) Today, technology has caught up with the desire to “shed stuff.” I have watched and embraced the new “renting is the new owning” movement (aka “the sharing economy”) and completely agree that today people would like access to certain items but do not necessarily desire ownership. Whether it’s:

  • Airbnb (rent out your room; no need for a hotel)
  • Lyft (car/ride sharing)
  • Spotify (rent the music you’d like to listen to)
  • Uber (get a car when you need it and no need to take out your wallet!)
  • Chegg (rent your textbooks rather than own them)
  • Rent the Runway (rent your black tie dress)
  • Chicago-based MoxieJeanKids (“upscale resale made easy for busy moms”)
  • Coursera (college courses for free)

 All of this begs the question: Why buy or even own if I do not have to? Better yet, if I already own it, is there an opportunity to derive revenue from it??!

Just look at Patagonia’s new partnership of used gear for sale by Common Threads + eBay members. The Patagonia message is clear “Don’t buy our stuff unless you really need it.”  In addition, perhaps the old way of being “showy” [e.g. I have a fancy watch therefore I am successful and you can see it] to the new way of being “showy” [e.g.here’s my Facebook post: look where I traveled to this year and look what I did!] has solidified the need of experiences over stuff.

This year I turn 50.  Will I finally find a cure to “stuffocation”? Maybe I’ll start looking at everything in my home with new eyes.

Tandem in the garage…can I rent it out? Or will it be more work to manage that?

tandem My dumpster rental and purge used to be:

Give, toss, sell or keep.

My new motto might be:

Give, toss, sell, keep…or rent out and earn?!


Going On Spring Break? Let the Airplane Seating Shuffle Begin!

We are heading out of town for a few days. I cannot wait to get my airplane goggles on to  observe “opening games”! I am absolutely in AWE of the airplane seating game of “checkers” that is now one of the most intriguing sports to watch!

The last flight I took happened to be international. My husband had spent months trying to make the flight comfortable  – he knows the ins and outs of travel and knows how the seating arrangements work, where the most legroom is, how to navigate exit rows, etc. Needless to say, he spent time (and I think even used miles) to arrange for “good seats”..whatever that is. The funny thing? Once we boarded the plane it was as if an “invisible” announcement went out to all on board: LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Before my very eyes people started trying to swap seats! Mothers with crying babies, teenagers who wanted to sit next to headphone-wearing siblings, anxiety-ridden females fearful of traveling and desirous of sitting near the front…the anxiety was palpable. The flight attendant chose not to control the situation, rather she aided and abetted! I watched as families were split apart because the “pressure” of saying “no thanks, I will not swap seats with you” was simply too powerful. Who wants to be put on the spot when a crying baby in a mother’s arms escorted by the flight attendant supports the request of “would you mind terribly switching seats?” Does it matter that it is the middle seat to which you will be “switched” in the last row of the plane right near the lavatory?

What ever happened to the old: you-take-what-you-get mentality? I can remember vividly traveling solo with sometimes 5 children and oftentimes we would be separated. Oh well. If the airline is that dumb to separate me from my children such that complete strangers are saddled with a toddler? Oh well. (Okay, I’ll call it my mini-vacation!) But really. I just sucked it up and dealt with it. To be honest, I noticed that my kids usually rose to the occasion and engaged in lively discussion with their new airplane neighbors.

So for now, I’ll help if needed. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll wear dark sunglasses, pretend I’m asleep and PRAY that no one wants to play the airplane seating shuffle with ME!