I’ve written before about decluttering. It’s a popular subject in this land of plenty. There are places in the world where the inhabitants feel truly blessed if they have a blanket to keep warm and something — anything — healthy and filling to eat each day.
When I embark on a new phase of decluttering, I feel happy to unload some of the same stuff that I was happy to acquire.
What does that tell me about myself?
I think the thrill is in the acquisition, not in the ownership. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs and I’m definitely not proud of it.
I’ll admit I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, which is why I frequent thrift shops, flea markets and antique shops. But, apparently, I consider the shopping day a failure if I don’t come home with some prize. So I sometimes unconsciously lower my standards and pick up something just because it was priced lower that its “worth”
Most of us have done it at one time of another. “Did you see the shirt I bought today? I didn’t really need another black shirt, but it was on sale. I couldn’t pass it up”
Some variation of that rationale is uttered daily in homes across America.
“I couldn’t pass it up” What a lame excuse for burdening yourself with stuff you don’t need, bought with money you could have used elsewhere.
I have a friend who often says, “It was only a few dollars. How could I go wrong at that price?” Maybe a better question to ask is, how could I go right for that price?
If an item is on a final clearance rack, stop and think about how many people looked at it, inspected it, maybe tried it on and, ultimately, rejected it.
Hundreds of people found this item to be not worthy of their hard-earned dollars, but here comes Kathy and she’ll slap down her money for it. “It’s marked down from $98 to $11. How can I go wrong?”
Again, how can I go right?
When I think of what really makes me happy, I think of my home, good food, music and books, but most of all my husband, children, grandchildren and Atticus, my dog.
If you notice, there’s not one mention in the paragraph above about closets full of bargains or any of the gadgets or knickknacks.
When I was in high school, we presented the musical, “Annie Get Your Gun”
One of the songs featured was a hokey, sappy, corny little number called “I Got the Sun in the Morning and the Moon at Night” It had a catchy tune, but the theme was always too saccharine for me.
As I write this about what makes me happy, I realize the old show tune has a message worth considering.
No, it has a message of truth. The simple things in life are what make a person happy in the long haul. The thrill of the hunt, the joy of acquisition are fleeting rewards — and really they’re not good enough for me anymore.
American activist Peace Pilgrim said it well: “Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions”
See you next week. Be kind to each other.