Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Resolution We Can't Keep In This Country....Non-Consumption REDUX

My January 2013 Rant........dragging it out of the closet for another airing in 2014.
$12 A Day's post HERE reminded me to share this again.

Still timely advise and something to get you thinking.
Is this the year you break the cycle?


When we start a new calendar year, we tend to want to start fresh in all areas of our lives.
One of the prominent thoughts at the new year is to get organized or get MORE organized.
Being organized is ALWAYS a worthwhile goal, isn't it?

This is when we see stores haul out big displays and sales on Storage Containers and Organizational Systems of all kinds: from filing systems for the paper in our lives, to the clothes in our closets, to the foodstuffs in our cabinets, to ?.  Every area of our homes is ripe for storage improvement.
And the retailers stand at the ready with shiny new stuff for us to buy to make our lives more contained and organized.

It's true that in order to live a life that's streamlined and functioning well, we need to stay on top of everything in our lives, especially our "stuff".  But do we need to pull out the credit card or bank card or money envelope every January to buy something to achieve a functioning home?
The retailers will tell you YES you DO!
I say not necessarily.

Personally I feel that we don't have an organizing problem in this country, we have a "stuff" problem.

Now think about this......
How many people start out the new year buying containers, spending more money, and either abandon the plan to organize or find that just buying pretty containers and dumping your things in them is not a real organizational plan.

How many do this and by the time next January rolls around, the plan is forgotten and they are again, seduced by all those pretty containers enough to part with more of their money and start the cycle of buying containers all over again?

Do you realize that a fair percentage of people who are clinically referred to as hoarders follow this pattern of wanting to organize their things, purchasing containers/systems, and never do the emotional/physical work to change their habits and organize?  The containers just add to the clutter of their stash and every time they return to this phase of the cycle, more containers are added to the chaos.

Most new year attempts at getting our "stuff" organized are much like those new year resolutions we all make and promptly break or forget by February.  They seem like a good idea at the time, but the follow-through is just not there.

And if after all this organizing and storing away we still can't fit all  the "stuff" into our abodes, there are always garages and storage sheds we can buy, build and utilize.

And if that isn't enough extra space, there is a whole industry that is growing at an alarmingly fast clip that would love to rent you space for all that stuff you have that you don't need access to as often.  Yes, I am talking about the Storage Facility business.....a Billion Dollar industry that has grown up around our inability to throw things away.

Our homes in the US now are on average double the size of the homes our grand and great grandparents lived their lives in.....and usually with fewer PEOPLE living in these homes to boot.

We have double the space for the stuff in our lives than they did, yet we still can't organize it all in such a way to fit into the space we have allocated for it.

We have more clothing & shoes, we have more furniture, we have more kitchen gadgets, we have more dishware, we have more food, we have more cars and related equipment.  And let's not forget all the electronic toys they never had, and all the hobby stuffs and sports stuffs.

And then there are the collections of every type, shape and size.  Most Americans collect something and a large percentage of those who collect have MORE THAN ONE COLLECTION of stuff.  And if you are stuck in a perpetual cycle of buying containers every year to corral your stuff, those containers ARE a collection themselves!

If you can no longer use a room in your house or apartment for it's intended purpose because your "stuff" has taken over that room, you may have a problem.

Sure, if your collecting brings you joy and you have the extra space for it, that is great!

But if your things are taking over the space in your home AND taking the place of people in your life and costing you money that you can't afford to be spending on it, perhaps it's time to take a good hard look at your life and the choices you are making.

If you bought less "stuff", would you have more room in your home?
If you bought less "stuff", would you have more time because you would have to organize and clean less?
If you bought less "stuff", would you have more money in your pocket to spend on needs and not be stressing out at the end of each month that your income would last?
If you bought less "stuff", could you spend that money on the people in your life instead?(And I don't mean buying THEM stuff instead.)

Make 2014 the year you break the cycle of spending on things that are NOT needs, and on this perpetual cycle of cluttering and decluttering.
Make every purchase you make an INTENTIONAL, well thought-out one that fills a need!

What do you think readers?



  1. My grandmother said her perfect house would be completely empty save one blanket and a pillow. Sounds like Heaven.
    It is much easier to get rid of stuff once the kids are gone/heading out. I love to dejunk. It makes my heart sing. My heart should be singing a lot cuz I'm going to go through the house again. LOL

  2. My goal is do a room a month this year. And I mean ruthless cleaning. If we havent touched, don't use it or wear it, then out it goes. So far I have done the living room. I cant believe how much crap was in the living room closet

  3. Sluggy, this is excellent! I'm so glad you re-posted it. There is a commercial that's been running showing a family's garage filled with stuff and the advertiser's answer to the clutter is for them to buy plastic totes to organize it all. At the end of the commercial, all the totes are neatly stored on shelves in the garage. I get so distressed every time I see it. Now they won't see their stuff, forget what they have and buy even more stuff. It's soooo not the answer to getting organized! Having less stuff is the real solution and it can be done. Once you start purging, it's almost as addictive as shopping, but in reverse and you feel much better, not worse. Hey, I made a rhyme! :-)

  4. Great post! I'm guilty of buying new containers this January :) I do usually use them and mostly store kids' clothes for the future. But I have a whole list of things I want to try to sell/get rid of as soon as I feel a little better.

  5. Terrific article. I'll be coming back to this one. Happy New Year!


  6. Well said! I cannot stand collections or when kids have piles of toys. I am all for getting rid of stuff that's no longer needed.

  7. I'm a declutterer, by nature. I can't stand having crap that I don't use. Once something is out of sight, I'm not awesome at remembering to get rid of it, but I do try to stay on top of our belongings regularly.

  8. Have you ever watched the video "The Story of Stuff" ? It's probably on youtube. I am decluttering like a madwoman. Dropped off 5 bags full at the local thrift store today as well as throwing out about 5 bags full of not very good stuff. If I could get my stuff into 2 suitcases I'd be a happy woman. I know that's not going to happen but it's fun trying!

  9. I'm really giggling right now! I've seen around 7 things this year and thought to myself "do I want to put this on my list of STUFF to consider buying?" Two were storage totes, one was a hamper type bin, and there was a small shelf unit I thought that I "needed" for Abe's room. Of course none of those things made it onto the still empty list but how funny is that... most of the stuff I've considered buying this year has been storage things. I realized I did not need any of them though.

    I LOVE this post!!! GREAT reminder to everyone.

  10. Amen sister. However I do buy plastic containers in January for the studio, but this year I am going to ruthlessly clean and throw away even there.


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