I’m writing a multi-part post about stuff, the acquiring, the rearranging, the storing, the organizing, the moving and all of the headaches that come with having TOO MUCH stuff. As I am writing it, I’ve been reliving the past decades of my life and how I related to stuff, and I’ve had some insights. You can always have insight looking back, but it isn’t so easy to see at the time!
It starts out innocently enough…you’re just getting stuff that you like. Getting stuff makes you happy. Perhaps you have a collection of books, or trinkets or some other item. It is kind of a neat thrill to find another book, trinket or other item to add to the collection. If you are a decorator, shopping to find the right pieces to decorate your room is awesome, and very satisfying. If you are a crafter, shopping for supplies and checking out craft fairs for ideas is a great time.
Unfortunately, sometimes you can get carried away with the act of shopping and use it to ignore other things going on in your life. For example, if you are feeling anxious or upset but you don’t know what is wrong, you just go shopping to take your mind off of the problem. If you are unhappy in a relationship and don’t want to confront the other party, you shop for pretty things that make you feel better. If you are miserable at work and feel trapped, you console yourself by shopping and buying stuff that makes you happy. The thing is, you don’t even know you are doing it at first. Whatever the problem is, it is very easy to avoid it by just going shopping instead.
Before long, your house is full of stuff you thought you loved, but now it just takes up SO MUCH ROOM. You start to feel stress whenever you look around. It has become a burden to figure out where to put everything. You don’t have time to enjoy the stuff you so happily acquired because you are too busy trying to organize it. You spend all of your time rearranging and attempting to get a handle on putting things away. That becomes too overwhelming and is a losing battle, so you GO SHOPPING FOR MORE STUFF to avoid being home and having to organize.
While you are at the store, you tell yourself that “next weekend” or “tomorrow” you will take the time to buckle down and clean. Of course you don’t because as soon as you get home, the overwhelm starts again and the cycle starts all over. How long can this go on?
For some, it can never end. There are a couple reality television shows I enjoy watching that document just how bad it can get, and how hard it can be to overcome. In each of the cases, there is always some underlying “issue” traced to when the behavior started, and until that issue, or multiple issues can be addressed and come to terms with, being able to move forward is nearly impossible.
There are a few choices at this point. You can stay where you are in the never ending cycle or you can choose to make a change. Change always comes with some discomfort and fear, but on the other side of change is freedom. The choice is yours….