Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Less is More

My name is Marcy and I am a shopaholic.  There. I said it.  This addiction has caused my home to overflow with way too much stuff.  I have been forced to face my problem every time I dig through mounds of clothes or open an overstuffed closet. It causes me great stress whenever I search anxiously through the house for my car keys, my eyeglasses or a stray boot.

There are places in my home so overrun with junk (I won't say where) that if I drop an earring, it's like dropping it into the ocean. It becomes lost in the abyss and I resign myself to the fact that I may never see that item again. I put the remaining earring in a bowl and hope for the best. That's when I have to ask myself why I even bothered to buy those earring in the first place. That's when I look at the clothes in my closet with price tags still on them and sense a knot growing in my stomach. I feel utterly ashamed.

I did get proactive about tackling the mess that surrounds me three weeks ago when I decided to have a tag sale with my friend. I sifted through the clothes. I picked through the closets, searched under beds and scoured dark corners. After that first go around of purging, I packed my car with junk that hit the ceiling. Needless to say, I relied heavily on my rear view mirrors just to safely reach my tag sale destination.

It was a long, chilly Saturday of wheeling and dealing, but at the end of the day I got rid of a big hunk of junk. It went to people that really wanted to use what I found useless. That felt good. This whole exercise made me start to rethink my spending sprees. After all the energy I spent trying to get rid of things, did I really want to start filling up the house all over again?

Absolutely not. That's when I started shopping with a list. It helped me to stay focused on what I needed, and prevented me from going off the rails into the Neverland of desires. I'm not saying I've crossed over into complete frugality, but every little strategy helps.

There is an upside to all of this. Instead of looking at all my worn pieces of furniture and believing there is no other option but to replace them,  I simply grab sandpaper, paint and refinish.  That's right. I am evolving into a DIY  diva. The word re-purpose has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

Yet my urge to splurge is not completely tamed. In fact, it is a daily battle. So whenever I think about buying something, I do this:
1. Ask myself why I need it.
2. Ask myself how useful it will be on a daily basis. (Consider the return on investment.)
3. Walk away and think about it for a day before I commit to buying the item.

It has not been easy, but I am striving for a less-is-more lifestyle. I have turned off the home shopping shows and ignored the Amazon.com daily emails. Today my  motto is: Use it or lose it.