Is All That Stuff Really Necessary?

In this article, Paul Graham distinguishes an interesting difference between the rich and poor. In general, when you have little money, things seem more valuable. Because of this, says Graham, it is more common that you collect ‘bargains’ because of their apparent value.

I’m a hoarder myself, but can appreciate that just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s worth anything. That said, I can’t pass up a bargain.

Paul continues to discuss that all this stuff that you may accumulate is probably worth a lot less than you originally bargained for. This collection may be weighing you down when you can live a much liberating life if you abolished a lot of it.

What I didn’t understand was that the value of some new acquisition wasn’t the difference between its retail price and what I paid for it. It was the value I derived from it. Stuff is an extremely illiquid asset. Unless you have some plan for selling that valuable thing you got so cheaply, what difference does it make what it’s “worth?” The only way you’re ever going to extract any value from it is to use it. And if you don’t have any immediate use for it, you probably never will.

Is there any help for us hoarders and collectors or are we doomed to live a cluttered and only possibly wealthy life?

Stuff – [PaulGraham]

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