Getting to the bottom of things

I got a comment from Alana (in Canada) that really got me thinking today -

"I have to admit I'm a bit overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of things you have--but, that's my problem, not yours!"

Why DO I have so much stuff? Why, if most people would buy one pair of pants do I buy 9? My parents have a lot of stuff, but nice stuff, and it is very neat, orderly and contained. Their house looks like anyone else's - maybe a bit more antiques, but that is their business-and by that I mean job , so I guess it doesn't really count.

It wasn't until recently that I realized that not everyone has the sheer amount of stuff that I have. My friends in Texas had as much or more clothing than I did, so it didn't seem unreasonable down there. I am having trouble thinking of one item that I own that I just have one of.

So why do I feel the urge to have this stuff- or maybe is it an actual need? And, am I passing this down to my son without even knowing it? Yesterday I bought him another dinosaur. He has about 20 already. He has clothes in every size up to 7 just waiting for him in boxes. (He wears a 3 now) He has 8 pair of Levis and 7 pair of other jeans that are in his is size for right now. I know he can't possibly wear all the jeans out before he grows out of them. So, the question is why do I buy all of them?

It doesn't really stop at clothes, purses and chairs. I bet I have curtains for 3 houses. I have rubbermaid tubs of excess curtains and drapes. I have curtains that have never been on windows. Right now my mother and mother in law are using my curtains too.

You would never know that all of this stuff is just lurking in my home. My place is pretty ordinary looking. But, I fear that one day it may just get the better of me.

Isn't step one admitting you have a problem?


drwende said...

While I have no useful insight... if it's any comfort, I come from a family where you'd be more nearly normal than I am.

Part of my wardrobe angst is a vague sense of guilt for not having enough outfits to get through the month without a repeat.

lorijo said...

I think the best thing that is happening because of this is I am looking at new aquisitions with a more dicerning eye. That, and the fact that I wear 20 % of my wardrobe 80% of the time is coming home finally.

Mella DP said...

That phenomenon is often associated with the question, "Do I have faith that I'll have the resources to acquire things if I need them in the future?" Just a thought. A hard habit to break.

I also come from more packrat stock. I've spent my adult life so far consciously running from that. I remember hearing one of my female relatives say, "Just because you don't need something and never use it doesn't mean you should get rid of it." That's when things popped into focus and I realized I wanted to live very, very differently.

(holds breath until somebody suggests Flylady...)

lorijo said...

Mella- I think you may be right about the faith in my resourses.
When I was young and out of the house I didn't make a lot of money-or really any money at all. So when I did finally make money, I guess my memories of the 5 dollar clothing store and ramen noodles didn't go away. Makes sense.

Alana in Canada said...

lorijo, the reasons may be very complicated. I didn't have a lot of security as a child...we moved a lot and stuff was lost. I certainly have pack rat tendencies--which is different that just having a lot of stuff (though it can look the same).

Shopping can be its own thrill and can lead to having too many things. There's lots and lots of reasons why you may have a lot of things...but it's not a problem unless it interferes with the quality of you life as it is now.

There's a book I read from the library which I want to recommend to you, but I'll have to find it. (And keeping this window open while I look is really making the computer crawl, so I'll let you know.

Alana in Canada said...

Ok, the book is called "Making peace with things in your life" by Cindy Glovinsky
It's one of those books where there are excercises...and I actually did them. It will help determine whether you (or anyone) has an actual problem--or just a lot of stuff.) I'm thinking of getting a copy out of the library this afternoon and doing a post about it, perhaps, cause it may be helpful to all (but scb).