Friday, June 15, 2012

Hoarding Potential

I have slight potential to be a second-hand hoarder, but have had to train myself to bridal my passions about collecting stuff. It's hard to do, and takes constant effort on my conscious awareness, to not get excited about bringing "stuff" home!
I think anyone in the world gets excited about a good deal, weather they have money to freely spend or are sitting on a really tight budget. I experience a shoppers-euphoric high when I come home from a yard sale with an amazing treasure at a cheap price! Yet, what I have had to learn is that just because I don't choose to, nor can afford to buy a lot of things new, it doesn't mean I should keep collecting or spending money on second-hand things.

I think in the past I have justified my spending by saying,"At least I'm not shopping at department stores or malls! I mean, I'm buying other people's discarded junk at cheaper prices, so I can justify spending a little extra or buying a little more, to get a good deal!" But what results is that we still go over our monthly budget, and then we end up with stuff around the house we don't really need. And boy does stuff start to pile up! A fine example of this is my REI Kids hiking backpack. I saw this at a yard sale last year for 15 dollars and got so excited I almost peed myself. I quickly bought it before anyone else could snatch it up, and came home beaming with pride that I just purchased an expensive product for next-to-nothing! Well, you want to know how many times I've used this amazing baby-hiker in the past year? Once! And only for about 20 minutes, because Jonah wanted to walk anyways. I could've used a Mei-tai! Lesson learned: I am getting rid of that backpack tomorrow!

I cleaned out the boys toy room last night, getting rid of a huge garbage bag full of toys they don't play with. Many of them were hand-me-downs, or purchased at yard sales, yet it was still hard for me to let them go! (meanwhile my kids didn't care the least) I'll pick up a toy they haven't touched in 3 years, and attach all this nostalgia to it, fondly remembering the chubby knuckles and slobbery kisses of toddler years. However, I am learning to hold onto the memories, and ditch the material objects! If I think I'm going to miss something, I'll take a picture of it!
I also went through this giant box of stuff that Zadok had in his room and realized I needed to teach him more about organization and simplicity. Along with his large pile of favorite toys and drawings, there were unopened stocking-stuffers from Christmas! When I asked him why he wasn't opening them he shrugged and said,"Just saving them because they're special." It was kind of cute, but illustrated perfectly why I fear the hoarding potential is being passed down to my son. I quickly explained to him,"Although we live in a culture where having "stuff" is seen as important or cool, we actually don't need most of it to be happy. Buying more stuff, collecting more stuff, and having things stored away can attach us to material goods in a way that isn't healthy! We can start feeling greedy or selfish, or not want to share, or we can start feeling jelous of what other's have, or we can start thinking that we always have to have more stuff and then get disappointed if our expectations aren't being met, or we can become lost in the chaos of our personal living space, or we could be holding onto something we don't need that someone else needs more than us! For all these reasons we need to be careful about how we view our material goods, and keep things simple!!" After my little speal he looked at me and said, "Whatever. I don't really want it, I was just saving it because someone gave it to me." Oh. So he's not a compulsive hoarder, he's a 6 year old boy who's polite.

Well, I am making a real effort to keep things minimal, anyways! I am holding back from buying things just because they are yard-sale-cheap, I am sticking with our monthly budget even if it means not buying those cheap items that I think I have to have, and I am cleaning out all the stuff that the we don't use anymore. I am passing on books I've already read, I am tossing cute socks that I barely wear, and I am even letting go of my stuffed bunny. Yes, my stuffed bunny that I have moved around with me since college. I don't even think I'll miss it, I just got used to having it around.

Wow-getting rid of stuff is pretty euphoric! I wonder what else I can get rid of today? I feel free! I feel liberated from the chains of stuff that binds me! There's definitely a "high" attached to getting rid of of stuff, and I can feel the rush! I think it might be as addicting as hoarding!

There's got to be a balance here.......

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