I’m at an interesting point in my life. I believe that I’ve got enough “stuff.” In fact, I’m sure of it. I’ve realized this through cleaning out our attic over the last weekend. We’re planning for a yard sale in a couple of weeks and it made us realize how much accumulating we’ve been doing. The picture above isn’t my desk, but sometimes it feels like it.
It seems like I’ve probably been here awhile. I wish I would have realized it sooner. There was so much stuff that we’ve put away that we now want to get rid of. We had good reasons and intentions for what we kept at the time, but thinking about moving it all changed some of those motivations.
More telling was the number of boxes and amount of packing material we’re throwing out. Usually when we buy something we’ll put the boxes in the attic till we know the item works and we feel safe we won’t have to return it. The last time we went through our boxes was about two years ago. Since then, we’ve collected so much stuff that we’re throwing out at least 100 empty boxes.
I had another realization on this which ultimately stirred me to write this post. My post on Wisdom Meets Passion earned me a gift from the folks at 48days.com. I had several choices of prizes, but when I realized that I had most of the products in the prize list I declined. I sent a gracious email thanking them for the gift but told them to give the prize to someone who needed it more than me. They appreciated my honesty so will send it to me anyway, and I’ll be paying it forward by giving it to others.
When we allow ourselves to be convinced that we “need” the newest model or the latest version, it begins to mess with us. Discontent begins to creep into all areas of our life. We can find ourselves wanting to look like someone else or have someone else’s job. Maybe we seek their happiness or status in life.
Always staring over the fence at what the neighbors have keeps us from appreciating the things we already have.
It’s not easy. The job of marketers in all forms of media is to get your attention and get you to buy. Commercials, print advertisements, billboards, popup messages, spam, and scrolling ads inundate us daily. They are experts at convincing us, and our children, that their new product is something we need, and need now.
A couple of months back I wrote a guest post on contentment at YourTeensMoneySkills.com. It’s one thing to write on the topic, it’s another to take action on it. So we’re beginning by downsizing, which started with the attic. This coming weekend we’re having a yard sale. As we plan to move next year, we’re looking to downsize because we have unused rooms in our basement.
In fairness, I have to admit that I’m a tech junkie. My wife and I just upgraded our cell phones and I can’t wait for the Kindle Fire 2 to be announced. But my truck is nine years old and my wife’s car is five years old. We did just buy a new television at the end of last year, and it replaced one that was five years old but admittedly still in working order. Our home PC is almost seven years old (which we’ll be replacing soon).so I don’t have the newest of everything. But it can be hard to resist.
Parents you can start today. As you begin to minimize and downscale, talk with your kids about why. The less you have, the more you remove complexity and stuff to maintain from your life. As your kids become adults, your example will help them handle the marketing beast more effectively
So, I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I’ll let you know how we do on our yard sale next weekend and on other simplification efforts. I’d like you guys to hold me accountable on this, and if you’ll respond below I can do the same for you.
Discussion Question – Confession is good for the soul, and accountability makes you take action. Do you struggle with having enough?
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