Thursday, July 18, 2013
Does your "stuff" make you sad? At what cost?
If I asked you to quickly list ten happy moments you experienced today, would any of them relate to your "stuff"?
I, like so many Americans, own too much stuff, plain and simple. We have too many toys, too many books, too many clothes, shoes, etc. etc.
And I know full well, the stuff doesn't make me happy. I'd say the stress that comes from cleaning and organizing the basement, garage, kids' rooms, closets, etc. is one of my major sources of stress.
About six months ago, I started a nightly review of 10 happy moments that day. What surprised me was that 99 percent of happy moments were interacting with people: my husband, kids, friends, family, neighbors, the joke I shared with the check out clerk. For a self-confessed introvert, that was surprising. The only physical things that appeared regularly were nature and flowers in my garden.
Now I easily have 10,000 or more objects in the house if you include every pen, book, toy soldier, and screwdriver. Yet not one of those makes me happy. (Which is not to say the lack of say a refrigerator wouldn't negative impact my daily happiness). By and large, all this extra stuff costs a lot not only in dollars, but time.
I came across an article in the Boston Globe called Too Much Stuff, Too Little Time, which tells me I'm not the only one. http://www.boston.com/community/moms/articles/2012/07/10/new_study_says_american_families_are_overwhelmed_by_clutter_rarely_eat_together_and_are_generally_stressed_out_about_it_all/?page=1
According to the article, people have so much stuff they don't have time to be in their own backyards!
It occurred to me that rather than "investing" in another gizmo, I ought to invest in shared smiles with the people around me preserving both cash and emotional well-being So today, 7/18/2013 will be day one of a thirty day no buy except food goal. This sort of thing is always easiest day one;-). Best wishes!