It’s the time of year where we are in the midst of the biggest shopping spree of the year. Now is a good time to reflect on how much stuff we really need.
There’s even a new word to describe the modern-day pursuit of more stuff: affluenza – and it leads to debt, overwork, stress, anxiety, waste, and an empty, unfulfilled feeling.
Overconsumption affects people on different levels. On the extreme end, some people suffer from compulsive buying, leading to credit card debt, relationship troubles, and poor self-esteem.
But more commonly, the need for abundance pulls in more subtle ways. The Sunday paper comes with more ads than news and it’s pretty hard to resist the great sales. TV advertising lures us with products we didn’t even know we needed. Online ads are often specifically targeted at us. It’s hard to resist the constant bombardment to buy more stuff.
The antidote to affluenza? Pause before each purchase. Take a moment to ask yourself: Do you really need it, and can you afford it? Do you have the space to store it and time to maintain it? Do you already own something similar or just as good? If you’re buying a gift, does that person really want or need it? Is there another way to show appreciation for that person? Recognize that the pursuit of material goods may feel good at the time, but is only a momentary fix. Put away your wallet and find other worthwhile activities to fulfill your needs – you’ll be much happier in the long run.
Studies show that 80 percent of what we use comes from 20 percent of what we own. That means that 80 percent of the things in our homes are rarely or never used. Here are some tips on how to de-clutter your life.
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I am Cathy Dryden, and I started neat chic organizing to empower others to lead more fulfilling lives by helping them to become more organized through individualized coaching and training.