What’s your relationship with your stuff?

Wait.  Is that a thing?

It’s February.  And we can’t escape the talk of Valentine’s Day and the emphasis on relationships in our lives.  For now, let’s focus on your relationship with your stuff.  And yes, that is a thing.  Merriam Webster defines a relationship as “the relation connecting or binding participants; a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings; and romantic or passionate attachment”.   When we buy an item and bring it into our space, we’re creating a relationship with it.  In effect, we are bound to it in some way.  We use it (or not).  We maintain it (or not).  We enjoy it (or not).  In the end, this equates to “how do I feel about my stuff”?  Am I using it and enjoying it consistently or did I buy it and forget it?

What kind of relationship(s) do you want to build?

Let’s go back to the idea of Valentine’s Day as putting our relationships, certainly our romantic ones, under a microscope.  In my personal relationships,  I strive to relate as best I can to others – to give as much as I receive.  No one likes relationships that feel transactional.  Transactional relationships are based on “you do for me so I do for you” and we try to determine some ROI for our time and investment in the relationship.  So, how does that feel?  Not like something you enjoy or are likely to repeat.  Nor are you inclined to go out of your way to take that relationship to the next level because it’s really just about “what have you done for me lately?”.

When we look at our purchases as transactional, we get less use and joy out of them.  While it’s hard to imagine creating a relationship with a blender, if you use it consistently and get a lot of value out of it, you have created a relationship with it.  If you buy something, use it once, and stick it in a drawer or closet, you know that was all about the transaction…