The burden of ownership

I mentioned this during a telephone conversation with Heidi:

It’s liberating to be free of the burden of ownership.

We were talking about how many of the benefits of ownership are conceptual and psychological, whereas the costs of ownership are often overlooked and underappreciated (despite them being very real and very common).

A primary benefit of ownership is that you can use your possessions whenever you want. However, many people accrue possessions that they never (or rarely) use, so this potential benefit is often unrealised (or severely diminished) in practise.

The costs of ownership obviously include acquisiation costs, but they tend to be dominated by ongoing costs associated with item management (storage, relocation, maintenance). Given the amount of stuff that people tend to own, accumulated costs (time and money) are often rather substantial.

Perhaps the most detrimental costs have to do with lifestyle: you worry about what is going to happen to your stuff; it becomes onerous to organise relocation and travel; there is no incentive to enjoy things “now” (because you can always enjoy them later); you accumulate rather than appreciate, and your life becomes cluttered.

Update: I like the sound of “Appreciate. Don’t accumulate.”