I've been meaning to sit down and write this for awhile now and was motivated the other day by someone to do it, hope this helps!
Dare I write about a subject that so many are defensive about. Sure why the heck not! It is a free country is it not? Okay so really it's not that big of a deal to most but I find the "BUY BUY BUY MORE" thing quite frankly, bothersome. Its not just the buying that disturbs me it's the obsessive need to store, hoard, and hang onto every little thing. You see (here's where I'm gonna catch grief!) I come from a generation of woman who find the need to "PACKRAT" everything. And yes if asked they will most likely deny it. Sadly I've seen the chaos and headache that develops over the years from this "packratting" notion. These "just in case", "ya just never know", "for a rainy day", "I might need it", "but it still works" excuses just don't make a lick of sense to me. Maybe for a moment I can understand but honestly it's a horrible way to live. Maybe I'm just not sensitive to the underlying need to hoard these items. Do you really think these things are going to save the day? Ya can't take it with you when ya die so looks like we'll be stuck cleaning it up. Okay maybe a little blunt there but in all honesty we need to declutter our lives. For some it maybe a security thing and others maybe just a bad habit picked up from somewhere. I say this all from life experience. There was I time when I was a teen and I remember my bedroom being stacked to the ceiling with boxes of stuff just pointless crap. I didn't want to get rid of anything. A few years later during some major life adjustments EVERY item I owned except the clothes on my back and somehow my Bible, were all left behind in an unfortunate turn of events. I mean everything pictures, heirlooms, cherished gifts, childhood teddy, everything! It wasn't long after, once I had gotten past the bitterness I held, I realized they were just material things. I still had the memories that were attached to those items. I could move on and be happy with the few things I owned. I am not a packrat (I know they hate that term) in fact I cringe when I have to think about putting something in the attic to store. I just see no point at all in it. I'm not talking about off season clothing or holiday decorations rather those boxes of stuff! Why hang onto things that supposedly mean so much and shove them in a box to never be seen again. If they actually mean so much than display and use them, be proud of them. Take a picture or create a shadow box, or use the stuff. I understand the importance of heirlooms and such and have shocked a few people with the notion that when certain items are passed down I fully intend to either use them or display them properly for visual enjoyment. Why would anyone find this odd I don't really know. You'd rather I stuff it in a box and let my grandchildren find it years later.
On that same note the notion of "consumerism" haunts me. The constant need to buy more and consume everything and anything we can get our hands on. With this twisted idea that the more I have the wealthier I am or the more secure I become. News flash folks.....LESS IS MORE! I've always fancied the saying "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" but I kinda think Simplicity is right up there too.
A few weeks ago someone made me chuckle when she said, "Ya know, anytime I go out shopping now it's just to buy something I need." This coming from someone who finds shopping a very enjoyable pastime. I don't get an immense pleasure of just going shopping to go shopping. In fact the few times I have tried to shop just to shop, I ended up circling the stores hands in pocket frustrated. The few time I actually managed to come home with the pointless unneeded items, I felt ashamed and guilty for wasting the time and money. It's just not in my nature I guess. Not that I wish to brag but I take great satisfaction in knowing I can walk thru a store and walk out with nothing but the needed items.
Now mind you with young children in the house and the odd need to want to spoil them, I do occasionally grant them a gift or two. By occasionally I mean over a two month period of frequenting a specific discount store I repeatedly passed up a toy I knew very well was on my daughters "please mommy can I" list. This toy after those two months finally made it in the cart. Not because I was being mean I just couldn't justify buying it just to buy it. I had asked her every time if she really wanted it and she'd say yes. Funny as it is that toy never made it home. Buy the time we left the store she decided she didn't really want it. YES VICTORY! Does this mean I may be getting something right in raising my daughter? If anything I've managed to demonstrate to her that having everything you want isn't always the best thing. Turns out she was perfectly satisfied with what she already had. I want to teach my children the value of simplicity. Cluttering up our lives and home with needless items is pointless and just breeds the need to "want more". I find the old saying "sleep on it" very beneficial. In fact if you let it rest for a week and then come back to it you may find you have no desire for the item anymore.
I have a weakness for buying three things....resource books, gardening paraphernalia, and fabric. Yes I will admit I love to buy these things. Wanna hit a fabric store I'm there! A book store I'll fight for ya for that book! Gardening goodies, ah man that's just too fun! I could blame these habits on some very specific people. Why not right...my Mom for the books, my Nana for the fabric, and the gardening stuff I haven't figured out, might just be me. But I love to shop endless for these three specific things. But taking my previous advice to heart I often sleep on a purchase before buying just to make sure. Most of the time I end up getting said item but I almost always find a better deal somewhere before buying. Oh ya and I can't forget to mention the hardware store is great fun! So yes I do like to shop and consume certain things, my excuse being I'm buying things that I can use or learn from. LOL!
I have this weird way of caring around like a filing system in my head. Like those tv shows that declutter your basements. I have three imaginary bins 1. TRASH 2. ORGANIZE & USE 3. DONATE.
Number 1 ...The trash is an easy one that is self explanatory.
Number 2 ...Organize and Use is a bit more tricky. This is like the keep pile but I just can't keep the item. I must use it and it must be stored in an organized fashion so it can be used easily and frequently. If said item is not used regularly with the exception of a seasonal item, it moves on to be donated. This also includes properly using and/or displaying heirlooms and silly notions.
Number 3 ...is always a treat for me because I take an odd pleasure of putting stuff out. Now these items can be sold for profit, donated to a needy soul, or given to someone who will use it frequently and whom I can borrow from if I so have the need to use it once in a blue moon.
That's it. I can basically walk around my house with these three imaginary bins and regularly declutter. Clutter happens but can be kept tame. Storing, hoarding, "packratting", all need to be rid of. They are beyond taming. They have become the nuisance!
We are a nation of consumers and it is like a disease. It traps us into this never ending cycle of taking in and consuming. Its an evil thing that destroys our lives and our environment. We need to declutter our lives and homes of these pointless possessions and learn to be satisfied with the simply things in life. Our sorry excuses for wanting more and hoarding for a rainy day, affect not only our well being but drastically affect those around us. You don't need a tv host to come in and show you how to declutter and organize and you don't need a therapist to teach you how to break you consuming habits. What we need is the self discipline to get our lazy patooties up and just do it.
I hope this find some of you motivated to nag yourself or a loved one to clean it up. And for those who have taken great offense to this, I'm not sorry for saying it. GOD BLESS! -Christina