When I was a kid I never thought I had enough stuff. In reality, I did. Then as a young adult I set about fulfilling the responsibility of acquisition. I got a good job and soon acquired a new car (my first brand new, not used car!). A home was the next achieved goal, along with furnishings. Then, I began to imbue my life with the outer emblems of success - good wine, food, nice clothes - lots and lots of shoes! Purses and handbags to match. Jewelry. Luxury vacations. An RV. A desert vacation property. More stuff. And, then even more stuff!
This went on for years. Soon I was renting a storage space to house the excess stuff that didn't fit in my home or garage! I had developed and nurtured the habit of acquisition.
Some years ago I re-evaluated my acquisition habit and got rid of enough stuff to close the storage unit. Over the years I've continued to clutter-clear and still I find new layers of stuff to get rid of. Stuff I no longer need or want.
And, presently I'm currently involved in another major clutter-clearing operation. I've been a clutter-buster for some years now, but this time I'm plunging into layers of stuff whose presence in my home I've never questioned. Most has to do with items from my past. Things I've mindlessly dragged from home to home. Items that once defined who I was, but don't do so anymore. Items that are simply taking up space in drawers and closets. Items reeking of nostalgia that are simply gathering dust. Artifacts. Things that at my age, are entering the realm of...well, antiques! A scary thought...
Too, as I've become older I'm realizing that my life is not defined by what I own, what brand name it carries, it's cost, or even by how much stuff I have or can flaunt. I've become more comfortable in my own persona. And, I'm definitely happier with less to store, dust, clean, move, stumble over, insure, etc. While, I can't claim to be a minimalist, or ever aspire to becoming one, I am inspired by the concept of minimalism.
Now, if I see a must-have decorating or garden item in a magazine or catalogue - instead of whipping out my credit card or some cash - I put on my thinking cap and mentally text my Muse to see how I might be able to achieve a similar look by reusing or re-purposing what I already have, or recycling something I've found or been given. If you don't have something on hand, thrift stores or constructing it yourself are always great, creative budget-minded options.
This plan won't work with everything, such as the solar lights I just bought for the back garden. However, I did get them on sale!
I find too, that I enjoy being creative, as well as the products of my creativity, far more than if I'd simply bought the item. Creating something yourself invests it with emotional energy and a kind of "life". Don't we all love the unique, the homemade, the one-of-a-kind?
The act of creation allows us to channel our inner artist and do-it-yourselfer!
Ask yourself these questions - I do - when the urge to charge something on a credit card arises...or to purchase that "something" I don't really need.
Why do I want it? This is a biggy! I'm constantly surprised by the real reasons why I want something! Often it has very little to do with actual need!
Do I have room for it? Can I get rid of something to make room for it? Will I need to rent ($) additional storage to make room for it or the item/s it displaces? Paying to store...stuff...especially unused stuff just isn't anything I want to do anymore.
Do I really need it? (Very important question!)
How is the acquisition of this thing (especially if it's expensive) going to improve my life? Allow me to live debt free? Make me a better person? Allow me to work fewer hours? Spend more time with loved ones?
In acquiring this thing, am I doing so to impress others? (Why must we spend money to impress others, anyway, and do they really notice or care?)
Can I acquire the item without incurring credit card debt? (Very important!)
Can I acquire the look without spending a lot, or any, money? (It's very likely that you can).
I have adopted a few rules to replace my former habit of acquisition...
If I must buy something I make a point to choose quality. The very best quality my budget allows. Your budget may allow you to choose something nicer. Do so.
Always choose lasting quality over temporary fads.
Never pay interest to anyone on anything, for any reason except in an emergency...like your fridge has a melt down and it's Saturday and you can't get to the bank to take the money out of savings!!! PS...then pay off the loan the following Monday!
Always, always have money saved for a rainy day. It will eventually rain, you know.
Carefully, evaluate all expenditures...and desires to spend. The momentary "high" of acquisition can become the long "groan" of credit card debt. (I learned this firsthand and escaped it)!
Acquire only what you need. Form and function, a sublime partnership.
Surround yourself with beauty. On a budget. Nature can help out...for free!
Savor every moment, and when you forget to do so, pointedly remind yourself to do it. Savoring will soon become a habit!
Nurture yourself. This is as important as nurturing your loved ones.
One last recommendation...enrich yourself. Corporations are doing just fine without your...or my...contributions. And, you won't need to pay for extra storage for all that stuff they're telling us we need!
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