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!
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.
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?
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