Scaling back – how I’m doing my part to stop being a fat bastard consumer of goods!

9 Nov
A hoarding hell from TLC series Hoarding: Buried Alive.

Image courtesy of CBS News

Brace yourselves….Christmas is right around the corner. Ouch. I know, it hurts, but it’s true. And the retailers? They’re already celebrating it. Halloween wasn’t even out the door and they were already getting the shelves set up for Christmas goods. Thanksgiving is just coming onto the horizon and the stores are filled with Christmas related goods – gift baskets, decorations, pj’s and tableware. Christmas music is being pumped through the store sound system. It’s speaking to our need to have THINGS, to fill our homes with STUFF. Christmas themed dishes that I’ll only use once per year? Why yes I DO need those! Christmas colored Ziploc containers? YES!!! I MUST have these! I can’t store leftovers in those plain old containers I already own. These are just a couple of examples of our need to feed the consumerism monster. And then I watch episodes of Hoarders: Buried Alive and think, OH.MY.GAWD!!! That could be ME someday! And then I see the dead animals that the homeowners somehow forgot about, the bugs, the dirty diapers, the old food –  and I feel grossed out but calm. My house is not like that at all. My dog is alive and well and usually napping somewhere nearby. We do get bugs in the house, but it’s spiders – gag – or fruit flies. There are no dirty diapers thrown into any corners, piling up. There isn’t any OLD food in the house, but we do have a plethora of home canned and frozen foods from the garden (which we will consume over the next year until preservation time 2013) Whew.

But then I think about the amount of time it occasionally takes me to sort through things to find THE thing I’m looking for and I’m like duuuuuude, we need to get rid of shit. So I’ve made an end of year resolution. To go through the house a little at a time, and pick through the things we don’t need, the things we don’t use, the stuff that is broken and we planned on fixing years ago but now has a layer of dust an inch thick – and donate, sell or toss it. The stuff that we can make a quick buck on we will try to sell – things like tools, electronics, miscellaneous car parts. Things like clothes, books, shoes and household items will be donated, so that someone in need can get use out of them. Bonus – we get to write them off on our taxes! And it means that the stuff that I sort through doesn’t have to sit around for long waiting to be sold or picked up.

My hurdle? Parting with clothing and shoes, in mass quantities. Don’t get me wrong – I give clothing away all the time. Big human body sized garbage bags FULL. Yet somehow, I still have too much stuff. Are my closets breeding? I doubt it. I think the part of the problem is that I end up back at the store, buying a new top, or a new pair of pants because I have more closet space for them. I need to stop that. I’m a girl, and I love new stuff. Especially clothes and shoes. But do I NEED any new stuff? Not really. A few items a year to freshen up the wardrobe or replace something that’s worn out, sure. But not a bunch of stuff. And shoes….sigh. I don’t buy expensive shoes like I’m on an episode of Sex & the City, pretending I’m Carrie in my Manolo’s. But I certainly dig a pair of stiletto sandals, cute ballet flats, or knee-high boots. But I have shoes I’ve only worn once. Some shoes I don’t wear at all because they are uncomfortable. Should I be keeping them? Nope. Someone, somewhere, is going to love the hell out of those ballet flats that cut into the tops of my feet. Someone is going to totally rock a pair of my hot pink stiletto sandals. But it’s not going to be me.

When the hubs said we need a bigger house for all our stuff, that was a wake up call for me. No, we don’t need a bigger house for the 2 humans, 1 small dog, 7 hens, 1 rooster and 2 ducks. What we need is less stuff. And the time for getting to the less stuff portion of our lives is now. Moving forward, if I purchase or receive as a gift a replacement for an item that is broken or worn out, I am going to toss the broken worn out item. If I donate or give away a bag full of clothes, that does not mean that I need to go out and get 5 new outfits to take up the space they created in my closet. If I haven’t worn it or used it (and it’s not a holiday item, like say, Christmas ornaments) in 6 months, it’s gotta go.

And for the holidays or birthdays when people insist on getting me a gift I’m going to ask them to only (well, mostly – homemade gifts are thoughtful and generally useful! As are replacements for worn out items) get me things our home needs. My gram asked me the other day what I wanted for Christmas, and I told her bathroom stuff! Like a toilet! We are getting ready to gut and remodel it, and those are things we will need to complete that, so a gift card for a home improvement store would be lovely, and greatly appreciated. I am selling my Wii and all it’s various extras(interested in purchasing it????) so to replace the Netflix function it provided I asked hubs for a Roku – something much smaller than the Wii, and portable for all the tv’s in our home.

I’m still sorting through the house, and no doubt will have more after the Christmas decorations come down from the attic, but I already feel like a weight has been lifted. Like I’m dodging the bullet of hubs calling the Hoarders show producers saying they have to come do an intervention with me. Hope for a clutter free life is on the horizon. And I don’t miss all that stuff that I gave away. So I didn’t really need it in the first place.

How are you trying to scale back?

And for fun, here’s some Grinch!

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4 Responses to “Scaling back – how I’m doing my part to stop being a fat bastard consumer of goods!”

  1. Heidi @ lightlycrunchy November 10, 2012 at 12:41 am #

    I’m scaling back by moving. Hopefully I will get rid of all extraneous crap before we move. Hopefully. Keep your fingers crossed.

    • seasonedwithsarcasm November 10, 2012 at 2:52 am #

      Good luck! Moving does help you scale back on stuff…especially when you’re close because you just don’t want to pack one more thing!

  2. chillcleal November 13, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    More people should do this! It is silly how much stuff people thing they ‘need’ these days.

    • seasonedwithsarcasm November 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      So true! Sadly I think the majority of people think they just have to have a massive stockpile of stuff. I’m obviously guilty…but trying to turn over a new leaf and live a less cluttered life!

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