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  July 1, 2011
The Great Acquisition...


A good friend is someone who will help you move, a great friend is someone who will help you move...a body - Anonymous

Over the course of 50 years, I’ve moved my residence exactly 12 times. 

I spent the first 17 years of my life living in the same small house, sharing a room with my three brothers. 

I still remember the morning I left for college, with my entire inventory of worldly possessions, stuffed into the every nook and cranny of my VW Beetle.  When you share a small bedroom with three others, the amount of things that you can accumulate is somewhat limited by space.  We didn’t have much, but we had what we needed.

After arriving in San Diego, I purchased a twin bed, a small desk and a dresser.  Over the next five years, I moved the 3 pieces of furniture, along with some clothes, books and a few kitchen wares some seven different times.  I didn’t have much money back in college so there wasn’t much of an opportunity for me to acquire many possessions. 

Each move was a relatively simple procedure; borrow a pick-up truck from a friend, load the furniture and a few boxes, drive to the new location, and unload the furniture and a few boxes. 

A move generally took about 3 hours in total including the drive to the new location - less if I had a friend’s help. 

Sometime after school, I found a good steady job, got married, had children, bought a house, and started buying stuff to put into the house. 

There was living room, dining room and office furniture...tools, lawn and garden equipment and spare parts to make repairs to the house...toys, books, sports equipment and games for the children... kitchenware, house ware and cook ware...TVs, stereos, computers, videos, CDs, and manuals...accent pieces, knick-knacks, mementos, and plants...

As we get older, we have the need, the means and the opportunity to start acquiring things.  We buy things that make a house a home.  We buy things out of necessity.  We buy things to be more comfortable.  We buy things for our kids and our pets.     

We buy extras of the same things - just in case we use up the first thing or the first thing breaks.  We need a flashlight, so we go to the big box store and buy six (along with a package of 100 batteries to power our 6 new flashlights).

Soon we run out places to put all of our things,  so its becomes time to move into a bigger house, with more places and rooms to store all of our stuff.

Our move to our new home was no longer a 3-hour affair, but rather a 3-day ordeal.  Family and friends’ assistance was no longer a luxury but an actual requirement.  We threw away or donated lots of items that were deemed to have had great value just a while ago. 

After a short time, it became apparent that our old stuff no longer was sufficient for our new home.  The colors and patterns were all wrong, the furniture did not match and there wasn’t enough lighting, counter space and closet space.  New stuff...better stuff needed to be acquired in order to live the dream. 

Our closets and garage were cluttered, so we needed to build cabinets and shelving to better store all our stuff.

People bought us gifts:  wedding gifts, birthday gifts, housewarming gifts and anniversary gifts.  Of course these were gifts and subsequently had great sentimental value.  They without a doubt needed to be kept. 

Our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents passed away leaving us with their house-full of prized possessions.  There were boxes of old photos (concerning people and places we didn’t know), an antique roll-up desk, old 78 rpm records, stamp collections, old beer bottles, china, silverware, and several National Geographic magazines from the 1950’s. 

We watch "Antiques Road Show" each week.  Therefore we tell ourselves, "These items might be valuable as collectables.  We need to keep everything".

After several years passed and through no one’s fault, my wife and I decided to part ways.

I moved into a small furnished apartment, bringing only some clothes and my guitar.  Although the situation was a bit complicated, the move itself was easy...two hours and I was all moved-in. 

I was given the opportunity to start anew.  I was free of stuff...of clutter...of unwanted or unneeded possessions.  Of course I’ll need to purchase a few household items, but I could keep those to a minimum.  Lean living was my new motto.

Ten years have now passed.  I’m still in the same small apartment.  The rental furniture has since become my own.  The kids have grown and I generally spend more time at Susan’s (my long-term girlfriend) home than my own.

Earlier this year, Susan and I discussed buying a new home for the both of us to live, but we  decided that the time wasn’t right to make a purchase.  Instead, we decided that it would be best for me to move into her existing home and we would then purchase a home in a few years.

As I prepared for my move to Susan’s, I started to go through my closets and drawers.  Now I’m not really a shopper.  I don’t really decorate.  I don’t entertain.  What the heck happened?...

Why do I suddenly have SO much STUFF!!

It’s as though my stuff mated like rabbits in the dark and when I opened the closet doors and turned on the lights, I found piles of unwanted or unneeded stuff.  In a relatively short time, I’ve reacquired all the stuff I left behind...

I’ve spent the last month separating all my stuff into three piles:  Keep-stuff (and subsequently move), Give-away stuff (things that have some value to friends, family and/or charities), Throw-away stuff (things that have little or no value that can hopefully be recycled at some point). 

At the very least, I’ve positively decided NOT to do anything stupid...like pay someone to store my stuff in an off-site location or try to sell off the items, one by one, on Craig’s List.

With any hope (and a strong constitution), I will find a way to part company with most of my stuff.  Once again create a fresh new start. 

At ten-step programs (like Alcoholics Anonymous), they say that the first step to recovery is to admit that you actually have a problem...

I have a problem acquiring stuff...can someone help me (move it)?

Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse where we have plenty of stuff to fill your fuse and circuit breaker needs.

Jim Kalb

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