Thursday, September 17, 2009

Me and My Stuff

The last 10 days can be summed up in very few words: boxes, trash bags and strapping tape.

We finalized the contract on our home and found a new place to live. While our boys are in school, Keith and I have been busy packing up our belonging and getting ready for moving day.

On Monday, I tackled our storage room. This is an unfinished area in our home that was originally planned to be a home theater. We never got around to actually doing the renovations, so instead we used it to store all of our "stuff".

I've dreaded having to deal with this space more than any other room in our house. I knew it was going to take the most effort so I decided to tackle it head on.

When I opened the doors, boxed stacked almost to the ceiling, greeted me. I immediately felt overwhelmed just by the sight of it all.

Where would I start? How long was this going to take? Who was going to help me?

Christmas decorations, office supplies, old books, baby keepsakes, unused printers, and family photo albums were spewed all over the room. I could see them but couldn't actually get to them because I had furniture and decorating accessories in the way.

Back in April, when we put our home on the market, I went through and did a little staging, in hopes that our house would sell quickly. I went through each room and put away extra candle sticks, silk plants, area rugs, flower arrangements, picture frames and even furniture. Everything went into our storage room. I could just close the door and pretend that they didn't exist. Out of sight, out of mind.

I could no longer pretend anymore. One by one, I went through each box, sorting, organizing and deciding what I would keep or give away. Two hours into the project I was in tears. Even with all my hard work and good intentions, the room didn't look any different. There was still stuff everywhere.

In total frustration, I yelled at the top of my lungs, "I have too much stuff!"

As I looked around the room at all my pretty decorations, I thought about how much fun it was when I bought them. How excited I was to bring them home and proudly display them throughout my house. Oh, how my little decorations brought me so much joy!

Now these same decorations had become a huge burden. Like little nooses around my neck, weighing me down. I didn't want to be bothered with them anymore. They seemed of no use to me. I now resented them. I didn't like my stuff. If fact, at that moment, I wanted to light a match and torch everything.

In all honesty, I've known for a long time, that I have an unhealthy love for shopping. Nothing gets me more pumped up than a early bird sale at Kohl's with an additional 20% off coupon. How about those buy one, get one free specials. Boy, do these deals make my heart race!

I've rationalized buying things because I could get them for less. I'd often tell my husband, "Honey, I only buy what's on sale so it saves us money." His response was always "Don't buy anything and then you'll actually save us money."

As I stood alone in my storage room, with all my stuff, I had one of those ah-ha moments. I realized that my unhealthy love for shopping had grown into a super sized habitual addiction. One that I thought I could control, but in reality, I couldn't and I still can't. There's more to tell you, but not today. This post is too long already.

Can I ask you something though?

Do you have an unhealthy love for shopping too? Are you tempted by those 50% clearance racks? Do you often times find yourself in the clothing department at Super Target when your original plan was to only pick up eggs, milk, and a loaf of bread?

Has shopping become an addiction for you?

Maybe you've had an unhealthy love for shopping in the past but have learned to do without. Maybe you can now say "no" to those want (not need) items. Maybe you can now make a trip to your local TJ Maxx and not feel like you have to buy everything in site.

I'd love to hear how you've been able to say "no" to unhealthy shopping and how it has made a difference in your life.

I'll tell you more about my ah-ha moment tomorrow. But, for now, I've got to get back to packing.


  1. Been there, done that! I think this is one of the most "noxious" sins for Christian women, because it is so subtle & starts "in good faith": we want to be good stewards so we bargain shop. The turning point for me has been to stay away from the stores. I collect the coupons they send & keep them together in a bag in my car for the times I really do need something. But I don't go into the stores just to check out the sales & when the coupons expire, I congratulate myself on saving even more, because I spent nothing. I finally realized that I can wear the same clothes this season that I wore last year during this season, & nobody will even notice. I used to think I needed a new wardrobe (or at least several new pieces) each season. Then I realized that I was no longer "growing" the way my children did each year. They HAD to have new clothes because theirs no longer fit. But mine still fit, so they were fine. I hope this helps. Most importantly, I took this to the Lord (over & over again...) asking Him to take away this desire for material things. And He has!

  2. One thing I finally realized, is that if a sale rack is teaming with many of the same items, then nobody else wanted them either, and it's probably not a good choice for me (i.e., $4 horizontally striped shorts!). I've learned to to not buy anything that I don't have an exact place for in the house, and to set a limit on what can go where. You can only display so many cute picture frames and use so many pillows. And I volunteer to shop for class gifts, school parties and the like, so I get a little "fix" but am doing something for someone else.

  3. Leah,
    I didn't know you had a blog!?! So very nice to meet you at D6. Can't wait to hear about your aha moment!! :) lisa


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