Thursday, November 3, 2016

Buying More On the Path to Less

I wish I could say that with every item purged a new item didn't take its place. But I can't. Some items get purged without being replaced with something shiny and new. Some items get purged without me buying something completely different to fill some other void. But much of the time when I get rid of something or somethings I end up buying something or somethings.

It's like a twisted rewards system: Because I did good by letting something go I deserve something. And instead of giving myself a pat on the back or treating myself to an experience, I treat myself to a trip to Amazon or my favorite online store, Design Within Reach. I stalk the auctions on eBay for furniture I don't need. Or I peruse the newest cookware on Williams-Sonoma.

I don't need anything from DWR or W-S. I certainly don't need any discounted chairs from DWR's eBay Outlet site. And I don't often need anything from Amazon aside from new books to read on my Kindle. Though I don't really need more of those as I have hundreds of unread books waiting for my attention. But reading and eBook buying is a guilty pleasure that actually brings me joy, not stress, so I'm not inclined to modify this habit at the moment.

But even though I don't need any of these things, not really, I somehow convince myself that I do. And then I fill that empty space I just created with something I may or may not have a use for.

"It's on my list," I say to myself as I hit that oh-so-easy "click to buy" button. "I've been thinking about it for ages," I say. "I've wanted this X. I need this X. I won't stop thinking about this X until I buy this X. And besides," I add, "if I buy it, then it will be off my list and I'll be one step closer to DONE."

But the list doesn't shrink. It grows. Because there's always some other item I "need." There's always something new that I "must" buy. And it doesn't end.

As I've mentioned previously, each time I move I "have" to buy things that will fit that next space. Sometimes I've "had" to buy things because the space "required" them - a dinner table, bar stools, patio furniture. Sometimes I've "had" to buy things again because previously I'd discarded them - a sofa, a dinner table, dining chairs, an armchair, a dresser, a TV stand.

While in the back of my mind my goal has always been to have a clutter-free space with breathing room - a space that required little maintenance, next to no worry - I've somehow managed to forget that with every single move. The urge to make a "perfect" space always took precedence.

My desire to have things always look "right" and feel "right" won out over my need to have my space feel "good" and myself feel "happy."

On my quest to be free of the many burdens of my possessions I've managed to acquire if not as many possessions, definitely new possessions to worry about, to fret over, to be frustrated by and with.

I've continued to purchase my way to more on my path to less and therefore am never quite reaching my ultimate goal, never being content, satisfied or happy.

I've been my own saboteur.

But I'm finally starting to listen to that other voice that truly wants to live minimally. I'm finally starting to realize that buying things does not make me happy but for a moment. I'm starting to listen to the experts who have said time and time again that I'm doing exactly what the advertisers want - to buy something I don't really need, to replace something with something new and shiny that doesn't need replacing, to want something I don't really want.

And I am finally buying less on my path to less. But I am still buying - a habit I hope to curtail in the very near future.

To be continued...