Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let's Talk [V1.2]

Between J's cardboard box diet and Joyness Sparkles' clutter post, I've been on a rampage.  I have three suitcases [and a couple boxes] full of old clothes that seem so difficult to get rid of.  I have decor sitting in my basement, and no where to display it.  I have this, I have that.  Why?

Part One: Privileged World Problems

Source: via Chayanee on Pinterest

If you were to go into a third world country, or a developing nation, you would find that their life issues differ widely from our own.  While their daily turmoil consists of finding medical care, clean water, and even food for their families, we are plagued with having too much...well, stuff.  

What does your storage room look like?  Your garage?  Your kitchen pantry?  If you're anything like me [although you probably don't want to be], all of these areas are overfilled with things that are super important to you.  I need those five hammers!  You never know which one the instruction manual may call for.  I need all that tupperware.  I need all those clothes packed into boxes that may or may not still be in style, and I may or may not ever fit into again.  

And then there is the issue of not only being a mini-hoarder, but also needing to buy new things to replace old ones.  That awesome Ikea couch?  Gotta have it.  That super duper makes cappuccinos and does my laundry blender?  MINE.  Even though I have a perfectly good sofa, and never use blenders.

Is it bad to have so much when others in the world have so little?  That kind of depends on your mental standpoint.  I'm the wrong person to ask, and would probably make you all super angry with my own opinion, so I'm not going to partake in this part of the conversation.  Another question is whether materialism is detrimental to our well being.  Is the constant desire for newer, better, morer [haha] a drag on our own happiness?  Is there a happy medium between being emotionally/mentally fulfilled and taking pride in our surroundings?

Source: via Nick on Pinterest

Source: via Peg on Pinterest

Part Two: The Influence

Where does this desire for 'things' begin?  If it is anything like the social norms we acquire throughout life, then it can be associated with a number of contributors; our familial surroundings and morals growing up, societal influence, and religious beliefs.  No two families have the exact same proportions of each contributor, so each of your own feelings and opinions are going to be different.  And sometimes one contributor impacts with more power than that of another contributor.  Every single one of them go hand in hand, though.  

IMO, materialism gains ground based on your own personality combined with the above factors.  There is no set formula for whether or not a child will grow up needing everything, or will be happy with the basics.  Some families have hardly anything, and their children grow up determined to be better off.  Or they grow up happy with making memories.  

No matter what kind of background you came from, if you live in a developed country you will be faced with social pressures to live a certain kind of lifestyle.  What is your opinion?  Does a persons background decide the kind of life they will wish for, or are social media and advertising to blame?

I'm happy with my life at the moment.  Maybe I have too much stuff that I don't need, but I also regularly purge.  In my own very humble opinion, materialism isn't necessarily a bad thing when dosed with a heavy spoon of reality; do I know that buying a new dining room table isn't going to make me happy for the rest of my life?  Yes.  But I also know that if I keep the dining room table I have now, I'm going to end up breaking it ['s hideous, and a piece of junk].  I also believe that materialism is often confused with waste.  I'm covering that one next time though, so until then, what are your thoughts?  Feel free to disagree, just keep it friendly!

p.s. Does it annoy anyone else that when one is trying to present both sides of the argument via images, one can only find negative connotations with the subject?  I couldn't find a single positive image about materialism.  Perhaps that is the world's way of trying to tell me that there is only one mindset on the subject, but it still infuriates me that only one side is presented.


  1. We are most likely getting ready to enter into the world of not having very much. If we move to Cambodia we get to take 2 suitcases each. All the things we want and need have to fit into 2 suitcases. I am fine with that actually. Remember, I want a 874 sq. ft. house. My problem is where to start in getting rid of all the junk that we have already accumulated. It is quite overwhelming. At least I know that we won't have to haul any winter clothes with us. That takes care of a lot right there. :)

    I love you,

  2. What a great post =) I totally get that sentiment, we should think about that stuff more often.
    When I moved last year, I decluttered. Since then I have been trying not to buy that much, but to make something myself with the use of old stuff, like turning old clothes into something I'll actually wear. Has been fun so far!

  3. I love this post - it's good to take a step back and realize how blessed we are to have these "issues."

  4. This was a great post! I look forward to the next one! I'm a bit like you, I do hoard and I do buy 'stuff', but equally I tend not to buy things (clothes less so - dresses just get me!) until I need them (ie the old one has broken/been lost/worn out etc.) and I try to recycle/give away/re-use anything I'm done with in one way or another. I love shopping at second hand, vintage or handmade places (ok, this is mostly because I love the clothes, but it also feels good to be buying things that haven't been mass produced as cheaply as possible by people being paid nothing) but that's not to say I never shop high street. I do. I don't know, I think there is a balance somewhere between having 50 different coffee makers that never get used and having nothing but the clothes you stand up in. Just my thoughts...

  5. Such a good post! =) Consumerism is a real problem in America. I can't speak for the rest of the world, as I don't live there, but it's certainly an issue here. IMO there is too much advertisments about the next newest thing we don't really need and too much of a desire to "keep up with the jones's" and we just end up making ourselves deeply unhappy and swamped with debt. Michael & I are working extra hard to pay off our credit cards, and they will be nearly all gone within the next 3 years. We don't use them at all now, unless like the car explodes or something. Also, I was thinking the other day that I would try and stop buying new health & beauty products until I've used one up - for instance, I don't need another mascara if I already have 2. And I have several partially used bottles of lotion/shampoo/whatever just taking up space in my tiny house.

    I purge and donate clothes/shoes/kitchen supplies regularly. Sadly, I buy clothes & shoes a lot too. But the first step, I think, is to be aware. Then we can move forward!


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