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Ziggy’s Problem . . . Too Much Stuff! March 4, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, Less IS More.

Ziggy . . . Artwork by Jan Philpot

Ziggy zig-zagged across the floor of his room . . . by necessity, not choice.

He had Too Much Stuff.

His drawers overflowed with Stuff and would no longer close.  Shelves sagged from being crammed full of Stuff.  The closet bulged with Stuff that spilled into the room.

The floor was covered with so much Stuff that Ziggy could barely reach his bed.

He had Too Much Stuff.

Ziggy galloped to the kitchen and whinnied (using his indoor whinny, of course):

“I  have . . . TOO . . . MUCH . . . STUFF!”

Ziggy’s mom, Zelda, looked up from the spinach, carrot, and pea salad she was making and nodded, “Ziggy, I think you are starting to realize that sometimes less is more.”

Now, you might ask, “How can less ever be more?”  And your best friend might say, “Less is less, and more is more.”  And your next best friend might say, “I’m confused.  Saying that less is more doesn’t make any sense.”

Well, let me try to explain.

When we have fewer things, we can appreciate what we have more easily because we don’t always have something else competing for our attention.  We can focus on what we have without getting distracted by something else.

Does that make sense?

If it doesn’t make sense yet, maybe it will by the time you finish this book.  So, let’s get back to the story . . .

“Well, Ziggy, what should you do about all that Stuff?”

Ziggy looked thoughtful as he pondered his mother’s question.

His forehead got all scrunchy looking, and his ears flared out to the side.

He thought about having Too Much Stuff, and wondered what his mother meant when she said, “sometimes, less is more.”

Zelda waited, giving Ziggy time to think.

After a few minutes, Ziggy’s ears relaxed into their normal upright and locked position.  “Maybe I can sell some Stuff and use the money to buy something I really want.”

He cocked his head to the side to see what his mother thought of the idea.

Zelda smiled, “That’s a zebra-tastic idea, Ziggy!  Where will you sell it?”

Ziggy thought a moment more, then his face lit up with a huge grin.  “I know, I’ll have a yard sale and sell all the Stuff I don’t play with any more.”

Zelda beamed with pride at her son’s solution to his problem of Too Much Stuff.

“That sounds like an excellent solution to your problem, Ziggy.  And you thought of it all by yourself.  Good for you.”

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. SidevieW - March 4, 2013

I am trying……

But stuff like books keeps gathering around me

nrhatch - March 4, 2013

It does . . . it seems to multiply of its own volition. 😉

SidevieW - March 4, 2013

And it never seems to want to leave home

nrhatch - March 4, 2013

It’s hard to give a Book da Boot! 😉

2. suzicate - March 4, 2013

Planning on lightening my load this weekend! I have one son moving back home in a few months, and I’ve sort of turned his room into an office and storage area…time to get rid of some of my junk!

nrhatch - March 4, 2013

Our stuff always seems to expand to fill the available space, doesn’t it? Good luck with the sort out.

3. Jane Fritz - March 4, 2013

Lovely post! I love the illustrations, the story, AND the message.

nrhatch - March 4, 2013

Thanks, Jane. This is the first chapter of a children’s book I wrote a few years ago. And the talented Jan Philpot brought Ziggy to life with her illustration. 😀

4. ryoko861 - March 4, 2013


nrhatch - March 4, 2013


ryoko861 - March 5, 2013

Have a garage sale! The obvious solution!

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

Some solutions are as obvious as a zebra’s stripes, eh? 😉

5. ericjbaker - March 4, 2013

Ziggy’s mom ought to hand him a copy of Tao Te Ching. Formatted for ungulates, of course.


nrhatch - March 4, 2013

Ziggy’s mom is hoofing it to Barnes and Nobles as we speak. 😀

ericjbaker - March 4, 2013

You, simplifying one’s life is really a black and white concept.

(I wish I’d thought of that one before)

nrhatch - March 4, 2013

But if you had, you would have missed the perfect opportunity to toss “ungulates” about. 😉

6. diannegray - March 4, 2013

I love Jan Philpot’s illustration. What a fabulous story this is 😀

nrhatch - March 4, 2013

Thanks, Dianne. Jan’s drawing brought him to life. She’s quite the artist.

7. sweetdaysundertheoaks - March 4, 2013

I got rid of stuff last Spring and have managed to keep any other stuff from finding its way to the house. CH’s workshop is not my problem.. 🙂

nrhatch - March 4, 2013

I agree . . . BFF’s stuff is his problem (unless it starts to infiltrate the common areas). 😉

8. sweetdaysundertheoaks - March 4, 2013

Not my problem yet…..

nrhatch - March 4, 2013

Perhaps one day, in the far far distant future, when I get ALL my files under control, I’ll turn my attention to his piles.

9. Andra Watkins - March 4, 2013

We’re still paring down our too much stuff. We will get there.

nrhatch - March 4, 2013

I loved the photo of your “parlor” just past MTM cooking up the lobsters . . . zebra rug and all! 😀


10. jannatwrites - March 5, 2013

The accumulation of stuff is a never-ending process. It does feel nice to de-clutter though 🙂

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

I expect that in the packing process you will find ample STUFF that you might just as soon do without. The best part of moving is letting go of some of the accumulation. 😉

11. Perfecting Motherhood - March 5, 2013

Ziggy needs to come to my house and clean up my garage! It’s not that I have a lot in there but I don’t need it. It’s mostly toys and clothes the kids have outgrown. Very little of it is stuff I got and I didn’t need, so I can’t complain. It just takes a lot of time to try to sell those things. It would be a lot easier to donate it all but I could use the cash to buy new clothes for the kids. 🙂

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

We have held yard sales, rented tables at local flea markets, assigned items to consignment stores, and even sold a few things via Craig’s List. But the time expense of trying to sell our STUFF usually exceeds the net proceeds. I expect that others are better entrepreneurs than we are. 😉

That said, your kids might enjoy working side by side with you at a yard sale. Maybe you can get a few neighbors involved?

Perfecting Motherhood - March 5, 2013

I’m not sure I’d have the patience for a yard sale, knowing people will want to buys stuff for pennies at a time. I’d rather donate the things I know I won’t get much more and use Craigslist for the more expensive stuff. I sold a good amount last fall but I haven’t done anything since then. My goal is to have the garage cleaned up by the end of July so I still have a little time. 🙂

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

I only like holding yard sales on days when I feel like sitting around the yard anyway. So we never ran ads or did much advance planning . . . just dragged STUFF into the yard on a sunny day to see what would sell. As I said, I’m not much of an entrepreneur. 😉

Good luck with your garage clear out. It is a lovely feeling when we feel like we’ve conquered the chaos.

12. adeeyoyo - March 5, 2013

A LOT depends on how you look at things… My cupboard is too small and no room for another… Well thanks for the solution, Nancy!

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

The thing that encourages me to clean out files is the space constraints of our filing system. We use an antique trunk to store files. Each year at tax time, I weed out some of the files in order to make room for this years tax file. Same with book cases. When the shelves get too full, I start weeding the books. I just donated 25 books to the Library for its annual book sale. So satisfying.

13. sufilight - March 5, 2013

Nancy, What a delightful story. It made me chuckle softly when visualizing Ziggy with a scrunched up face, and smile in agreement when truths about simplifying resonated with me. 😀

I have clothes that I really, really need to get rid of as it’s now clutter; and it’s stuff from NY that does not serve me well in Oregon.

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

Thanks, Marie! Ziggy’s story, Too Much Stuff, has a few more chapters ~ sorting through his stuff, organizing the sale, holding the sale for his friends, and donating the “leftovers” to Goodwill.

This year, I’ve been focused on books and files . . . but clothes are next up. Like you, I have clothes in my closet that are far too warm for Florida. It’s time to weed them out.

sufilight - March 6, 2013

I am looking forward to Ziggy’s adventures with too much stuff .:D

nrhatch - March 6, 2013

Thanks, Marie. Ziggy might pop in from time to time. 😀

14. bluebee - March 5, 2013

I think all those zebras around you have ziggy-zagged into your brain, LOL 🙂 Actually, I think you have the makings of a great children’s story here, Nancy.

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

Thanks, BB! I wrote Too Much Stuff about 4 years ago (it’s got 4-5 more chapters) and submitted it to a write-for-publication contest ~ it landed in 2nd place out of 500 submissions. When it didn’t get selected for publication, I submitted it to a couple of publishers. No luck. Since then, it’s just been sitting on a shelf. Perhaps I’ll dust it off, spruce it up, and send it back out.

15. A Blog's Life - March 5, 2013

Have anyone seen ‘Hoarders’ on the CBS channel or something . . . for their sake, more is more and less is less, that’s just how it goes. Lovely story!! 😉

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

Hoarders is a scary show . . . all that STUFF and no place to put it. 😉

A Blog's Life - March 5, 2013

Much too, yes!! And the attachment, their anguish . . . such a predicament if not wanting help!!

16. William D'Andrea - March 5, 2013

If anyone’s wondering what to do with a lot of things that he or she doesn’t need; there are many people out there who are in real need; and many charitable organizations which accept contributions to them. I recently bought a new cell phone, and decided to contribute the old one. In my Church we’re helping an organization named “Cellphones for Soldiers”. This Sunday I dropped my extra cellphone in the box which will be sent to that organization.

We also have a bundles of clothing for disaster victims. I’d thought of putting the old phone in one of those bundles; but if I did, who knows how long it would be sitting in a warehouse? So I decided to make an annonymous gift to one of our Soldiers, wherever he or she may be.

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

That’s exactly what Ziggy does with the STUFF his friends don’t want . . . he and Zelda load it into the station wagon and drop it off at Goodwill where Ziggy learns about Goodwill’s mission to train people for jobs.

17. Tammy - March 5, 2013

Ziggy may have been talking about my bathrooms. I just wandered through and said to myself, “no more products until all of these are gone!”

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

I’ve said JUST THAT thing at times . . . putting the mostly full bottles into the closet and lining up the almost empties for immediate use. 😀

18. colonialist - March 5, 2013

Aw – now you’ve pre-empted my pix of ziggies and zaggies coming up on Safari!
I do SO need a yard sale! 🙂

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

No, no, no . . . you MUST share your Ziggies and Zaggies with us. I’ve loved the giraffes, but Zebras are my most favorite.

What if you had a yard sale on your bluff with the sea as a backdrop . . . people would come in swarms just to enjoy the view. 😀

19. Barbara Backer-Gray - March 5, 2013

I LOVE it! Are you really going to turn it into a children’s book?

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

Thanks, Barbara. I’m not sure. I have so many “half told tales” sitting in files waiting for attention that I’m undecided about pushing for publication or managing marketing for any until I’ve sorted through them all.

There is a contest coming up on Susannah Leonard Hill’s blog (submissions due mid-month) ~ the prize is a critique of a children’s book. So . . . who knows? 😉

20. Tom (Aquatom1968) - March 5, 2013

I’m like Ziggy… I have far too much stuff!

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

Yes, but are you white with black stripes . . . or black with white stripes? Sometimes it’s hard to tell with just a glance. 😉

21. Grannymar - March 6, 2013

Great story, Nancy. Yard sales seem popular on your side of the pond, they would not work here, curiosity might bring neighbours to see what you were getting rid of, but they would not dream of buying anything. Such a pity. We do have various charity shops, so I donate whatever might be useful, and our local council has a kerbside collection once a week for recyclable everyday items.

nrhatch - March 6, 2013

Thanks for sharing that difference, Grannymar. Interesting difference as we travel around the globe, eh?

At this point in my life, I donate far more than I sell . . . it’s quicker, easier, and less time intensive.

22. Three Well Beings - March 6, 2013

i’m afraid I’m guilty, as charged! Not comfortably or proud of it, just a tad overwhelmed by it. Ziggy and I have some similar issues! But I’m working on it??? 🙂

nrhatch - March 7, 2013

These days, I use 2 techniques to keep clutter to a dull roar ~ periodic sweeps of visible surfaces and shelves to select items for donation (or sale); and “the box.”

We keep a bankers box in the closet to use as a repository for all things unneeded. Anytime we notice something we no longer wish to retain, into the box it goes. When the box gets full, we pack up its contents and drop it off at Goodwill.

The box acts as a buffer between the decision to donate and the actual donation . . . allowing us to change our minds if we wish.

Because we know we CAN change our mind, we are more willing to toss STUFF into the box. And, most often, once an item passes over that cardboard threshold, we divest ourselves of any desire to maintain it in our possession.

23. shreejacob - March 8, 2013

You know….stuff is one thing…but DOING too much stuff…going from one thing to another…is quite the same thing! I feel that I do have too much stuff that I want to do…or to be more honest that I feel I need to do…and THAT is making me confused and quite miserable. AND…this is an idea for a blog post! Thank you!! 😀

nrhatch - March 8, 2013

Yes! The clutter in our lives is not limited to the physical . . . it extends to mental baggage we’re carting around AND to trying to cram TOO MUCH into overcrowded days.

Sometimes we accomplish MORE when we decide to DO LESS.

24. Stuff alone does clutter not make | The Heartsongs Blog - July 6, 2013

[…] time ago I read an awesome blog post over at Nancy’s blog (Spirit Lights the Way) called Ziggy’s Problem…Too Much Stuff! Though it was about Ziggy the Zebra having too much stuff , reading that post got me to reflect on […]

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