You Can’t Take It with You, even if You Tried: The Ultimate Realization of Life & Stuff

Ok, I’ll admit this one might seem a little morbid, even for me. But bear with me for a moment. If you take the old adage to heart and look at it literally, it may give you a better understanding of where I am coming from.

“You can’t take it with you.”

You really can’t. Once you leave this earth, you are free from every item that you have ever owned. At this point, none of us are being buried in pyramids surrounded by all of our earthly possessions to show off to those who dig us up thousands of years from now. No one will be impressed with your set of Elvis salt shakers, your fancy smartphone, or your gold-plated baby shoes. I know I talked about getting rid of the stuff before, in the article Death Cleaning: Before or After? A Story About Cleaning Up After Loss (, but now I want to take it a step further.

Imagine a box if you will, your final resting place being the size of about a yoga mat (unless you are to be cremated, in that case, a smaller box). In fact, get out your yoga mat or map out roughly the size of a coffin on the floor. Tell anyone who is looking at you crazy that you’re measuring for a new area rug! Next, lay down inside the perimeters or close your eyes and imagine yourself doing so.

Still with me?

Now, note the tiny bit of space surrounding you as all you have left to bring things into the afterworld. Once you’re in there, not much room for stuff, huh? Perhaps you can squeeze in some beloved photos, a favorite spoon, or that small game console it took you forever to save up for. But then what?

From this perspective, I’m hoping you see how meaningless the stuff you accumulated up until now has been. I’m not saying you should live your life preparing for death, that you have to give away all of the items you own, or you can’t live comfortably while you’re here. I just want to shed light on the reality of things and how sometimes they actually get in the way of living.

If we stop buying stuff for the sake of “what if” and holding onto things “just in case” we can start going about our lives with more purpose. Instead of looking at the endgame in terms of things we own, we can turn to experiences and spend the little time we have here with the people we care for. We can all leave this earth a bit lighter.

Be sure to read:

Death Cleaning: Before or After? A Story About Cleaning Up After Loss (

17 views0 comments