Sunday, February 15, 2015


One of the items on my happiness list was:

"Don't chase "stuff."  Stop the hedonic treadmill.  Embrace simplicity.  Be content with what you have.  Declutter.

I was at a giant mall near my house last weekend.  It's a high-end, glitzy mall with all the top stores.

I felt nauseated.

Who would ever want all this stuff?  People certainly don't need it.  Super expensive unnecessary stuff.  There is so much luxury "stuff" that I can't imagine why anyone needs it.  Yet people buy it or it wouldn't be there.

Lately I feel like I don't want to buy anything.  I think very hard about whether I really need something before I buy it.  I'm also thinking, if I buy this, then what do I discard?

If I have the need to "buy something," then I just buy something inexpensive and leave it at that.  I think everyone in the US has at least a little bit of shopping compulsion.

My project for the spring is to go through my house and discard.  Maybe have a big yard sale or post on CL.  I've joked before about getting my life condensed down to four boxes.  That may not be possible, but I want to be closer to that.  I keep asking myself:  "What do I really need?"  I'll be moving sooner or later, and this will make the moving process much easier.  On a legal pad I'm sketching out room by room all my possessions and what I really need to keep.

In the last year I've bought two things that I really value: 1) A set of flannel sheets that cost $120, and 2) a duvet cover for my down comforter for $72.  I love the way these two things feel, and of course I use them everyday of the winter. 

I just can't think of anything else I want right now.


  1. Here outside Philadelphia, we've recently been enjoying a "scandal" (schadenfreude, you know) about a wealthy family that started fires in their mansion three times in the last five years in order to collect on the insurance money. What finally tripped them up was that, during the last fire, they claimed that the volunteer fire fighters stole "millions of dollars of jewelry" while they were fighting the fire. The insurance company finally decided to dig deeper and found many irregularities. Duh! The husband recently committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in his car parked outside the couple's rented house. It's all very sleazy, dishy, and sad. But, millions of dollars in jewelry? Really?

    Conspicuous consumption is revolting. It's hard to walk the high-end mall near me and not get sick--or at least thoroughly disgusted.

    I'm going to be moving when I retire in three years, so I've got to do the de-accession thing. I've started on a small scale so that I'm not overwhelmed when the time comes, but I need to pick up the pace. Like you, I really think twice before I buy anything anymore.

    However, I don't blame you about the flannel sheets and duvet cover. I've got them, too, and it would be really hard to part with them!

    1. Sometimes it's the small and inexpensive things that you value the most.

  2. RB: Here's a link to a recent article about clutter that appeared in the New York Times. Enjoy (if you haven't already seen it)!