When I Had To Own That Red Display Cabinet

I used to be a fan of the hit NBC series “Parenthood”.

Even though TV is mostly trashy, I enjoyed the Parenthood storylines.  I also loved admiring the different homes/sets for each of the Braverman families. I loved looking at the décor and the furniture, and I loved how each set reflected the personality of the family.

But one thing I couldn’t get my mind off was a set of red bar stools and a display cabinet that featured in one of the Parenthood homes. I loved the colour, and I just damn wanted it for my home!

 

Parenthood Display Cabinet

Image of “that red display cabinet” from Parenthood, from Hooked On Houses

Being Fixated With Stuff

So I began a mission which lasted about 10 months, of looking for something similar here in Australia. Getting the bar stools and cabinet shipped from the U.S. was out of the question due to the cost of freight being more than the cost of the items!

But then one day it dawned on me: what would I put in the display cabinet? I didn’t have anything exotic or precious that was worth displaying in such a nice cabinet. I didn’t want to store my every day dishes in there because I already had a place for those.

I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t really need the display cabinet.

I felt a bit sad at this realisation. How ridiculous, yeah? I had become fixated with something, not because I truly needed it but because I felt excited by the challenge of trying to find the item I was after. It was the thrill of the consumer chase.

If I did end up finding and buying the cabinet, I bet I would have been disappointed a few weeks later. I bet I would have thought to myself, “Now what? So I have this display cabinet, but it hasn’t made me any happier than I was months ago”.

And that, folks, is the consumer cycle that so many of us find ourselves trapped in.

Wanting something, convincing ourselves that we need it, buying it and then moving onto the next thing we want or need. It is one of the mistakes people so often make when decluttering, as I outlined HERE.

We are fixated with stuff.

But our fixation doesn’t end after the purchase. We have to look after the item, and sometimes insure it against theft or damage. We have to find a place to store the item. After the life of the item has ended, we have to find a way to dispose of the item.

We become so fixated with stuff that we find it hard to let go. We find it difficult to get rid of some of the stuff we own- we might have an emotional connection to the item. Or we might be too afraid to get rid of the item because we think our lives will be less fulfilling if the item isn’t around.

 

Fixated with stuff

 

But the great news is that we can break ourselves from the consumer cycle and stop being so fixated with stuff. We don’t have to feel trapped anymore.

I believe it is the number one reason why decluttering does not work for many people. Months after decluttering, they find themselves back at square one- a house full of crap that once again, needs to be decluttered.

You might be asking yourself, how can you break out of the consumer cycle?

Becoming less fixated with stuff is something that does not happen overnight- it’s a process that can take months or years to refine. But the process begins with recognising what your current habits are and your attitude to stuff. Think about how and why you shop, and how you treat your belongings.

Becoming less fixated with stuff will allow you to develop some new healthy habits that will lead to living a simplified and less busy life. Some of the habits to acquire for a more simplified life can be found HERE.

Do you buy something and then forget about it? Do you cherish what you have bought? Are there any underlying emotions or triggers leading you to acquire more stuff?

Do you have a picture in your mind of what you want your life to look like, and so you shop and acquire stuff that will help your life become what you imagined it to be?

If someone offers you something for free, do you accept it because you really need it or is the fact that the item is free exciting to you? Do you accept the item out of guilt or obligation?

Have you ever admired a product in a store but not felt the need to buy it? Or do you immediately need to own everything you admire?

Do you worry about what might happen to you if you didn’t own that particular item? Do you often find yourself thinking “what if I need it and I can’t find it?” or do you have a “just in case” thought process?

Thinking about and analysing your current attitudes to buying and owning stuff can be a real eye opener! Don’t feel angry towards yourself for your current situation, and try not to feel guilty if what you discover about your behaviour and attitudes isn’t quite what you were hoping for.

Even those of us who think we are not victims of consumerism can surprise ourselves when we really stop and think about our last purchase (such as my desire for the red display cabinet)!

 

Now it’s your turn to confess! I’d like to read about a recent purchase you have made, and what your reason for the purchase was? Was it out of necessity or a desire you had to fulfill? Have you ever become fixated with owning something, like I did with the red display cabinet?

Linking up with:

 

I Must Confess

 

If I Only Knew…

If Only I Knew

If I only knew back then:

That a simplified life was within my reach.

That buying all the stuff for our new home was a waste of time, money and energy.

That throwing these huge birthday parties for my kids would not make their lives any better.

That hanging out with small minded people would make me, well, small minded.

That filling all the minutes of my day with tasks and activities would not create an enriching life for me.

That the importance of health is underrated and I should make the time to look after myself.

That sleep is more vital than we realise.

That having a wedding with 30 guests would have been far better than a wedding with 100.

That what people show on the outside is not a true reflection of what is going on inside.

 

But these things, I didn’t know back then. I do now. And the difference is, I can appreciate what I know now more than I could have back then when I was younger.

Not knowing back then what I know now allowed me to experience some hard lessons and some frustrations. But these were all lessons that had to be learnt.

If you told me 10 years ago that I was hanging around with too many small minded people, I would have denied it.

If you told me I shouldn’t be throwing big parties for my kids, I would have ignored you.

If you told me I should have given up some of the activities I was involved in, I would have argued with you.

Yes I wish I knew some of the things I know now. I wish I had started my unbusy journey years ago, or had not embarked on a crazy busy life instead. But there’s no point wasting my energy on regret and wishful thinking.

You may have found this post as somebody about to begin their unbusy journey, or someone who has finally had enough of living a life of busyness and less meaning. Maybe you have finally embraced minimalism and simplicity and wondered why you never did it earlier.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But so is living in the present moment.

Forget “if I only knew” and remember “what I know now”. Use what you know now as your source of inspiration moving forward. It will be far more rewarding than regretting the past!

What do you wish you knew when you were younger? What do you know now that will help you shape the rest of your life? Share with me in the comments.

This post is linking up with “I must confess” via the wonderful blog “My Home Truths”:

I Must Confess

Celebrating Love The Simplified Way

Ah, anniversaries. They can be an interesting day, can’t they?

Some people forget them, others spend extraordinary amounts of money on gifts for their partners while some have a simplified yet special day.

How We Celebrate Love The Simplified Way

Mark and I have celebrated 11 wedding anniversaries and when I think back to each one, I smile. How we have celebrated is a reflection of whatever life stage we were experiencing at the time.

I was lucky to be home for our 4th wedding anniversary after giving birth to our second daughter 6 days earlier.

For anniversaries 4 to 8, we would buy Chinese food and a bottle of wine and drive down to our local beach, where we would watch the sunset and listen to the radio program “Love Songs And Dedications” (not because we were hopeless romantics but some of the callers made us laugh).

For our 9th we stayed at the Crown Metropol 5-star hotel in Melbourne and spent a night enjoying our city and staying in our luxury room. But then we realised we had to do something even more special for our 10th!

So we spent 2 nights at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne- which was the most relaxing weekend I have ever had, and our favourite anniversary. The hotel really made us feel special! Our annviersary coincided with the Chinese New Year and there were celebrations throughout the city. The day ended with a fireworks display which we watched from the top of the Eureka Tower.

 

 

Simplified anniversary

The hotel really made us feel special on our anniversary!

 

 

minimalism anniversary

 

 

 

simplified life

Chinese New Year celebrations viewed from the Eureka Tower, Melbourne.

 

 

This year for our 11th anniversary, we thought we would keep it simple but fun. We went ten-pin bowling in the city followed by dinner and a leisurely stroll along the Yarra river, to South Wharf where we have never visited before.

Each anniversary has been special to me because I got to spend the day with my husband, no matter what we did. And I think that’s what has made our anniversaries so memorable: we have focused on what’s most important and not what society tells us is important when celebrating an anniversary.

In fact, we don’t remember ever buying each other a gift! We have never cared about whether our anniversary theme is paper, clock, wool or leather. Who cares? Not us! What’s important to us is celebrating our love for each other. You don’t need gifts to do this.

Living a more simplified life is all about recognising and celebrating the important things, and leaving behind the stuff that truly does not matter.

Society places too much emphasis on materialism when celebrating relationship milestones- whether it’s buying a dozen red roses, a piece of jewellery from Tiffany’s or dinner at an exclusive restaurant. Just look at how commercialised Valentine’s Day is!

Society also places pressure on men to spend ridiculous amounts of money on their partners for their anniversaries. Many women expect lavish anniversaries and are disappointed when their partners don’t deliver.

We have friends whose partners have passed away, and friends whose partners are currently experiencing trauma or illness. Seeing what our friends are going through is a reminder to make each day count, and not just our anniversaries. It’s nice to celebrate our special day but our relationship is a lifelong commitment.

 

 

That’s why it’s important to create time each day to be with the one you love. Unfortunately for many people, the busyness of life sucks away the quality time that could be spent with their partner.

Before becoming unbusy, my husband and I would see other each for only 15 minutes a day during the week. He would work all day and come home, and I would then leave for work and work through until 11pm. That 15 minutes together was usually very stressful- he would be exhausted from work while I would be rushing in a panic. It was a bad time to have a conversation!

After creating a less busy life, my husband and I decided to make either Friday or Saturday night as our “date night” (depending on what night the football is on TV!). We have a love of movies from the 80s, so we pick something fun and share a bottle of wine and a laugh. But now that we are both unemployed (we were both laid off from our jobs in the last 10 months) we have all day together as well, and sometimes when the kids are at school and kinder we go hiking in the countryside or for a bike ride. We never would have dreamed of doing this 5 or 10 years ago!

If it’s a challenge for you to find the time to spend with your partner, then perhaps a good start is to set aside some time each day. It could be 30 minutes at the end of your day, or even a commitment to sit together and eat dinner. Set aside a “date night” either once a week or once a month when you commit to doing something together, even if it’s waiting until the kids are in bed and enjoying a quiet meal and a movie at home.

Do you celebrate an anniversary or relationship milestone? How do you celebrate? Do you find it a challenge to make the time to spend with your loved one?

Linking up with:

 

I Must Confess