My Love Affair With Stuff

I love stuff.  There.  I said it.  Now before you get all worried, I’m not a hoarder.  I just feel as if I buy way too much stuff that I don’t really need.  I’ve been struggling lately with not just the stuff, but how much I’m spending on the stuff too. It came to a head the day after Christmas.  The joy of giving my daughter all the items on her list that she dreamed of was awesome, but now where do I put it all and does she really need 20 Barbies?  I am happy that I didn’t pay with a credit card for much of the stuff, I stuck to cash.  But I have to admit, the till went a little negative when it came time to paying the important stuff, like the utility bill and oh, I don’t know, the mortgage.

It’s never this pretty.

I’ve known that I have a problem for years.  I mean, seriously, who loves shoes so much that they have to switch them out by all four seasons so that there’s room in their closet?  (Did I mention that it’s a walk-in closet?)  I have about 12 different coats—just for winter. I am addicted to makeup and skin care.  I have taken over the cabinets in two bathrooms with bottles and tubes.  I’m a sales person’s dream. I keep buying new products in search of the perfect shade, the perfect regimen.  When I look in the mirror, I still see the same old me, just sometimes with the wrong lipstick shade.  I have no interior decorating skills-none-yet whenever I go to Ikea, I end up with a cart full of hip knick knacks that I just KNOW I can do something cool with.  A quick trip there this weekend for a desperately needed new bed turned into hours of filling the cart (ok, a cart and two flat-bed carts) with stuff I also definitely needed.

It’s time to get a handle on this need for stuff.  Why do I feel the need to buy it all?  Am I trying to fill an emotional hole with stuff? What am I trying to prove?  I love the feeling I get when I’m buying the stuff.  I feel happy and excited and carefree; I even feel creative when I’m trying to put an outfit together which is something I don’t usually feel.  It’s the aftermath that I can’t stand. I can get lost for hours online looking for that perfect thing, only to feel ashamed that I wasted so much time looking for more stuff.  When I’m in an actual store, I can lose track of time on the hunt for all the goodies that I need, but I keep going, telling myself “Just one more store and you’ll find it.”  Then I drag my bags inside the house and wonder what the hell I just did.  And I don’t feel good.

I’ve been told that if I keep track of how I spend my money down to the penny, I’ll see the error of my ways and realize that it has to stop.  I’ve done that before.  All it did was help me see where I could spend more. Oops.   I used to say that my hobby was shopping.  It’s good to have a hobby, right?  My husband has golf and I have shopping.  Well, I think it’s time for a new hobby.  This one is getting ridiculous.

8 thoughts on “My Love Affair With Stuff

  1. Kriste, I totally relate. I switch out my shoes by season also.

    I also spend hours on line shopping — not necessarily buying, but HUNTING. There’s something about the thrill of the hunt. I clearly descended from hunters AND gatherers, because both of those things are what I do. Today I spent $45 on a shirt at the Gap, simply because it was out of stock in my size on line and I was disappointed about that but then there it was in the store! I bagged big game!

    I do a lot of returning because of my need to BUY. I also always need to have a mission — something on my list that I haven’t yet bagged and is therefore a personal challenge. The fact that I can now shop 24/7 without ever leaving my house is a blessing and a curse.

    Sarah’s idea about being a personal shopper is something I’ve thought about a lot. When other people tell me about things they can’t find, I LOVE to look on their behalf. I get the same thrill doing that as I do buying stuff for myself. Maybe we can start a business shopping for CTWMs who hate to shop!

    I occasionally go on “diets” — like deciding not to buy ANY shoes for 6 months (usually for a real budgetary reason). It is a RELIEF in a way, because I no longer need to look at shoes online. I am free, at least from that one mission.

    I also go on Ebay binges where I buy lots of one-of-a-kind things (jewelry, tiles, etc.). Ebay and Etsy are very dangerous places for me. I used to buy 20 CDs at a time from the used CD bin in my local music shop but then they moved away and I discovered downloading. That sense of “I’ll never find this again at this price” gets me every time. Bagging a bargain is the best thrill of all. I just bought my grandson the cutest Superman shirt with a CAPE attached with velcro! It was $35 marked down to $12!!!! What a rush.

    My last confession is that I buy art supplies that I NEVER USE, and tons of yarn that I use some of, but never all of it. I have forbidden myself from buying any more yarn and so far that is working.

    I wish I knew the reason behind it. I have thought about Michelle’s theory — filling an emotional hole a la food issues (which I also have). It concerns me a lot, because I truly do not need all this stuff. If you find an answer, please let me know.

  2. I think we’d make a good shopping team because I have lost the ability to buy things and make decisions on purchases! Ha! Also not flattering when the kids wear jeans with holes (and I do, too!) simply because I cannot make a decision to save my life. Maybe you should just be a personal shopper!!

  3. Okay, I don’t know, but I think your little habit is WONDERFUL! What I see is you exercising your freedom of abundance, creativity and choice. If you take the guilt out of it, could you enjoy it more? Are you hurting anyone else? Are you unable to pay for other things regularly (apart from the Christmas part)?

    I think we get so caught up in making sure we DON’T have too much…because we won’t appreciate it, because we’re valuing things over people, experiences, etc, because it’s not good for the environment, because what kind of example are we setting for our kids, and for god’s sake what about our carbon footprint!

    But all those “becauses” are based on fear. I truly believe we can be abundant, enjoy new things, have plenty to chose from and still be AMAZING examples of balance, generosity, and goodness.

    So try that on for size, Dear Sister! Maybe it’s not less stuff you need, just more balance. And maybe you don’t need anything at all except to drop the guilt and find a fabulous new pair of shoes! 😉

  4. Ha, luckily for me I’m super cheap and don’t have much disposable income. I overspend at Target and places like that. Plus side – you look fabulous!

  5. It is SO hard – my husband loves stuff, too, but he is cheap at the same time. What this means is that our basement is filled with CHEAP stuff (not even quality stuff), and it makes me nuts. I, on the other hand, HATE shopping, hate clutter, purge often so his tendencies really clash with mine.

    If you do believe that you have more things than you need, try selling them on tag sale pages – the thrill that you get from buying it might translate into the thrill of selling it. Our town has a tagsale page and I can spot ladies who are addicted to selling their things. It’s fun and it’s a game to them.

    In any case, many hugs to you. It’s hard, and the important thing is that you recognize it. ❤

  6. This is tough Kriste. I think you hit the nail on the head about it filling something for you emotionally. I couldn’t help but think of my own struggle with food when reading your post about shopping. It’s hard to stop behavior that feels good in the moment even if we end up feeling regret minutes or hours later. Hugs. Thanks for talking about something that’s so hard for you.

  7. You have such a playful way to talk about an important issue. This is tough stuff, and I, for one, would love to hear what works for you when you discover it. So many folks I know struggle with this! Good luck!

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