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Things

  • It matters less to venerate things than to live with them on terms of good friendship.

    • Adrienne Monnier,
    • 1938, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier ()
  • Why grab possessions like thieves, or divide them like socialists when you can ignore them like wise men?

  • Through the years I have found it wonderful to acquire, but it is also wonderful to divest. It's rather like exhaling.

    • Helen Hayes,
    • with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography ()
  • He greatly valued his possessions, chiefly because they were his, and derived genuine pleasure from contemplating a painting, a statuette, a rare lace curtain — no matter what — after he had bought it and placed it among his household gods.

  • The world has become too full of many things, an overfurnished room.

  • Perhaps all human progress stems from the tension between two basic drives: to have just what everyone else has and to have what no one has.

  • You spend a good part of your adult life acquiring things: building a home, filling it with objects that please your eye and make you feel comfortable. Then you spend the last part of your life trying to figure out how to get rid of it all.

  • He was filled with that great peace of possession which causes a man to feel that he is safe from the ills of life.

  • What is the use of acquiring one's heart's desire if one cannot handle and gloat over it, show it to one's friends, and gather an anthology of envy and admiration?

  • Life is one long struggle to disinter oneself, to keep one's head above the accumulations, the ever-deepening layers of objects ... which attempt to cover one over, steadily, almost irresistibly, like falling snow.

  • Now that I have all the things I once thought would make me happy, they have little meaning for me. Experience, and not just a little heartache, has taught me money buys convenience and conveniences.

    • Oprah Winfrey,
    • in Nellie Bly, Oprah: Up Close and Down Home ()
  • Possessions, for the terminally frightened, bring peace of mind.

  • We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not.

  • ... the pleasure of possession, whether we possess trinkets, or offspring — or possibly books, or prints, or chessmen, or postage stamps — lies in showing these things to friends who are experiencing no immediate urge to look at them.

    • Agnes Repplier,
    • "The Pleasure of Possession," Times and Tendencies ()
  • False values begin with the worship of things.

  • Only in a house where one has learnt to be lonely does one have this solicitude for things. One's relation to them, the daily seeing or touching, begins to become love, and to lay one open to pain.

  • I am getting sick of people. I am falling in love with things. They hold their tongues ...

  • I love the things I never had / along with those I have no more.

    • Gabrielle Mistral,
    • "Things," in Langston Hughes, trans., Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral ()
  • We heap up around us things that we do not need as the crow makes piles of glittering pebbles.

    • Laura Ingalls Wilder,
    • 1917, in Stephen W. Hines, ed., Little House in the Ozarks: A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler, The Rediscovered Writings ()
  • You spend the first part of your life collecting things, she said, and the second half getting rid of them.

  • Nine-tenths of human law is about possession.

  • Every thing, even the so-called timesaving device and energy-efficient machine, comes these days with an elaborate set of instructions for its care and feeding. Buying a machine has become more and more like buying a pet. ... We are time-crunched. Not just by the number of things we have to do, but the number of things we have. In the late twentieth century, things have become our new dependents.

  • Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens.

  • Anything that you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions. We are not free.

  • ... we were raising our standard of living at the expense of our standard of character.

  • We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties.

  • All things that a man owns hold him far more than he holds them.

  • I could never be lonely without a husband, but without my trinkets, my golden gods, I could find abysmal gloom.

    • Lillian Russell,
    • title essay (1914), in Djuna Barnes, I Could Never Be Lonely Without a Husband ()
  • Dependence upon material possessions inevitably results in the destruction of human character.

  • ... things that have cost more than they're worth leave a bitter taste. A taste of salt and sweat.

  • Things last so much longer than people.

  • As for things, how they do accumulate, how often I wish to exclaim, 'Oh don't give me that!'

    • Susan Hale,
    • letter (1909), in Caroline P. Atkinson, ed., Letters of Susan Hale ()
  • She had died with an attic full of things too good to throw away, with bags of old letters hanging from the rafters like beheaded corpses as if the written words of the dead somehow pledged the family to immortality.

  • Joss had always known that objects large and small have secret, vicious lives of their own. ... Things transform justified resentment of their human slavemasters into outright revolt ...

  • ... the best things in life aren't things.

  • Taking good care of your things leads to taking good care of yourself.