I need to start this whole post with a giant disclaimer that I am fully aware that I’m having first world problems. In the scope of the world, I am extremely fortunate, and my problems stem from a blessing. However, in my own daily life, I’m overwhelmed.
There have been a handful of times over the past year that have made me acutely aware of how much stuff we actually own. The first was moving all of the items out of our unfinished basement to have drywall installed. Our garage, office, and living room are filled with boxes of things we haven’t seen or used in years! The second was after Black Friday, when I went to make room for all the new kids’ clothes that I noticed at least ½ of the clothes they had outgrown had never been worn or still had tags. The kids also have so many toys that they spend only a few minutes with each one.
When my husband and I first moved in together, all of his items fit into the back of a pickup truck… I required a full UHaul. My stuff has always been an anchor…maybe a psychologist could find some connection with all of my moves and my ‘collecting’ habit. After a handful of houses, and relocations, I would be fearful of not fitting into a full 18-wheeler!
I’m constantly buying more storage solutions to wrangle all of the stuff that keeps piling up; it’s a constant battle to tidy up, and instead of owning our things, the things have begun to own us! Instead of the instant gratification and quick fix that ‘stuff’ has offered me for years, it has become a giant weight that stresses me out. There seems to be an analogy to food and overeating in this way, but that’s for another day…
So, in 2016 I got the crazy idea to not buy ‘things’. It’s a bit of a hard concept to grasp, but basically nothing coming into our house that won’t be consumed within the month. So groceries are fine, but clothes are not. Nothing that will sit on a shelf, go into a drawer, hang in a closet, loom on the counter, etc.. I’m not a masochist, and without my ‘Target Endorphins’ I need to be sure to take time for self-care, so pedicures and massages are still on the ok list!
If something breaks/wears out, and we don’t have a replacement, it can be purchased (washing machine for example). But if there is a suitable replacement we already own, no new stuff! The kids are a bit harder, because of how quickly they grow, but we have lots of the next size clothes for both kids. If one day we wake up and their feet have grown two sizes, we will certainly get them new shoes (and get rid of all their smaller ones).
As far as gifts, they must be experiences… so no toys for birthdays, but a fun event or outing instead!
For the first few months, my focus is going to be on staying vigilant and not making purchases. Then comes the purge! I’ve been reading a book about the KonMari method of tidying up, and have faith that without bringing more stuff in, and by living with our stuff, it will hopefully be easier. Some things will be easier (dried out markers and literally 5 large moving boxes of pants), and others will be harder (mementos of a life abroad).
I’m going to try and post weekly updates with my progress and struggles… wish me luck!