Help! I'm a stuffaholic.
October 25, 2007 4:24 PM Subscribe
I’m not materialistic, just far too attached to my worldly possessions. How can I break my addiction to stuff?
I have too much stuff, and I keep accumulating more. A lot of it is stuff I don’t really need: tchotchkes, clothes and accessories I rarely wear, perfume and makeup in quantities beyond what I can reasonably use. I’m both a shopaholic and a packrat, and on top of it all, I’m terribly disorganized and often can’t figure out where to even put all my stuff. I’d like to have less, but my attempts to simplify, clean things out, or stick to a budget never work out in the long run. I’ve given away countless boxes and bags full of things I don’t need, but I can never pare my belongings down to "just the essentials," and I inevitably accumulate more than enough stuff to make up for what I’ve discarded.
The thing is, I love stuff. I love getting it and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. I’d rather go shopping than see a movie or go out drinking or read a great book. Even a visit to the supermarket has me running around like a magpie on ecstasy. Gifts with purchase, limited editions, attractive packaging, clearance racks – I’m a sucker for every marketing gimmick in the book, even though I know better. On the other hand, I’m much more hesitant to follow through with purchasing things I truly need: I can’t bring myself to spend $100 on a digital camera, even if I really want it, but I can drop the same amount of money on glittery makeup or yarn without much thought or regret.
Part of my immense pile of stuff stems from my creative nature. Nearly all of my hobbies have been hands-on, crafty things: I knit, crochet, draw, and dabble in several other crafts. I’m comfortable with having a large stash of art supplies if I know I’ll use them – I’m not a planner and like to have a bunch of different things on hand for inspiration. On the other hand, my stash grows faster than I can tackle it, and it gives me a too-easy excuse to make impulse purchases, and hang on to things longer than necessary, because "I know I’ll find something cool to do with this!!"
The bigger reason, I suspect, is that most of the objects I buy and own greatly appeal to my senses. They either look interesting, smell good, or are soft to the touch. I can spend a surprising amount of time experimenting with my dozens of colors of eyeshadow or sniffing all of my perfumes. (Does this make me weird?) I also have a very short attention span with my things: I will love the fragrance of one soap today, but in a week I’ll find a soap that I think smells even better. I can’t imagine accessorizing in neutrals or sticking to one signature scent for years. I wonder if the solution may involve finding another way to stimulate my senses, but I can’t imagine what a good substitute would be.
I have a feeling that I could successfully curb my impulse buying and finally get organized if I could just get over my attachment to all my stuff. Or is it the other way around - should I tackle the clutter and the budget first? Either way, I don’t know what to do to change, or if it’s even possible. How can I learn to be happier with less?