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

 

7 Mistakes People Make When Decluttering

 

So you’ve made the decision to declutter your living space- that’s fantastic! Finding the motivation is the hardest step, but there are still mistakes many people make when decluttering.

I’ve created a list of 7 mistakes people make when decluttering- these are mistakes that I made in the past, and ones that I hope you won’t make.

 

  1. Decluttering when the kids are home

Decluttering when the kids are home is counterproductive- not only will they constantly distract you from your task, but if they see you trying to discard their items, they may try to stop you.  Do not declutter while the kids are home. Wait until they are at school, or send them to a friend’s house for a few hours.

 

  1. Holding onto something that should be decluttered

You need to be completely honest with yourself while decluttering. People often make the mistake of holding onto something that they think they need, when in fact they don’t. As a general rule, if it’s something that can easily be replaced should you end up needing it (it won’t cost you too much and is easy to find), then discard it.

 

  1. Trying to declutter too much at once

Start off small- don’t try to declutter the entire home in one day. Focus on one area or space at a time. Decluttering your home could take several weeks or months, and that’s ok. If you try to do too much in one day, you will tire yourself out and give up completely.

 

  1. Buying and acquiring more things after decluttering

The process of decluttering also involves changing your mindset. There is no point in decluttering your things if you are going to replace those discarded things with new things. It’s so common for people to want to fill up the empty spaces in their homes with new things. And so the vicious cycle of owning stuff continues…

 

declutter

Image via Flickr

 

  1. Finding storage solutions is not the same as decluttering

There are so many handy and attractive storage solutions out there- it’s easy to get caught up in buying these storage items, thinking that this will solve the problem of too much stuff in your home. Storage neatly hides everything. The underlying problem is still there- you own too much stuff!

 

  1. Spending too long trying to sell items

Some items are worth trying to sell, but you must set a time limit for yourself. It’s easy to hold onto something, try to sell it and end up keeping the item. Give yourself a week or two depending on what it is you are trying to sell, then either donate or discard it.

 

Declutter

Image: Laia Ros via Flickr

 

  1. Focusing on physical clutter only

These days, clutter isn’t just the physical items that you have in your home. Clutter is also the emails and text messages that you receive on a daily basis on your laptop or phone. Set aside some time to go through your email inbox and delete emails that you don’t need, and unsubscribe from anything that no longer serves you.

 

I congratulate you on deciding to declutter- it is worth the time and effort. Focus not only on the clutter that you see, but also the clutter that you don’t see, and try not to revert back to your old habits of buying stuff that you don’t really need.

Are there any mistakes you’ve made while decluttering? Are there any other tips you would add to my list? I’d love to hear from you!

This post is linking up with:

 

With Some Grace

 

Five Myths About Decluttering

Five Decluttering Myths

Have you ever watched those TV house makeover shows where a family has their home decluttered and re-decorated? I love seeing the amazing results at the end, but I sometimes wonder what the same house looks like six months down the track- have they managed to keep the place looking tidy and organised, or have they gone back to their old ways?

I’m betting the latter is more likely to happen.

Physically removing and organising our things is only one aspect to decluttering and having a more simplified, less busy life. I’ve been living a less busy life for the past 12 months, but I won’t lie and say that my house is completely tidy and decluttered. I have managed to turf a lot of stuff and have a tidier and less messy home, but I know I still have a long way to go.

I’ve been decluttering our home for the past 12 months and have found out (the hard way!) that there are quite a few decluttering myths. Here are 5 decluttering myths I want to share with you:

Myth 1: “Storage containers will help your home become more organised and tidier”.

Yeah, for about a week. There are so many pretty (and expensive) containers, boxes and storage systems that are designed to hold our junk (and hide the stuff from visitors!) but the reality is that the junk is still there. It ain’t going to disappear, unless we physically remove it from our houses.

Myth 2: “Once you’ve decluttered your whole house, you’re finished”.

Nope, unless you have mastered the art of not letting more stuff come into your home. And I’m not just referring to the typical clothes, toys, books and other everyday belongings. It could be as simple as a note your child has brought home from school, or the restaurant menus that have been left in your letterbox, or the hand-me-downs kindly given to you by a friend. Slowly this “stuff” creeps back into your household and the only way to prevent or reduce the likelihood of this occurring is to change your behaviours and reduce your consumption. Otherwise, it will be back to decluttering in 6 months time.

Myth 3: “Decluttering can be completed in a couple of days”.

Ok I’m sure most people know that this is untrue, however many don’t realise that the decluttering process can sometimes take a couple of years. I’ve been decluttering for 12 months and I know I still have a long way to go. As you journey through making your life less busy, you start to change how you view your stuff. I am now at the point where I am getting rid of stuff that I once viewed as being sentimental. Can be scary and hard to do, and I certainly was not ready for this 12 months ago. But decluttering must be thought of as a journey, and don’t for once think that it’s an exercise that can be completed in a weekend. You can certainly get rid of a lot in that time, but remember that it can take a very long time for some.

Myth 4: “Decluttering and throwing things out is bad for our environment”.

While it is true that we throw away too much stuff that ends up in landfill, and this is adding to our environmental problems, our consumer behaviours do far more damage to our environment. The more we buy, the more manufacturers produce goods- goods that require raw materials and precious resources to create, for us to enjoy. This creates pollutants and depletes our environment of natural resources. I strongly believe that if we want to reduce our carbon footprint and want to start caring for our planet, we can do so by changing our consumption behaviours. This starts with learning to live with less, which in turn leads to having less to throw away, and less goods manufacturers need to produce to keep up with our demand.

Myth 5: “Decluttering is too hard”

It can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have held onto your stuff for many years, but decluttering is the easy part of the exercise to become unbusy. Even though it may take days, weeks, months or years, it is fairly easy to sort through things and decide whether to keep, repurpose, throw out or donate. The hard stuff is changing your behaviours and mindset to prevent further stuff from entering your home (see myth number 2). As you declutter, you won’t be getting rid of stuff that you don’t want to get rid of. For example, if someone told me 12 months ago to throw out all my photo albums, I would have screamed! But a few months ago I started doing this, because I was ready to do this. I wasn’t scared, and it wasn’t hard at all.

 

So there you have it, some myths I have come across while decluttering. If you are starting on the decluttering and unbusy journey, keep these myths in mind to help you along. And don’t forget to read here for more tips on starting your journey to an unbusy life.

Thanks for reading!