Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Why do we feel the need to buy things? Is it a compulsion to fill some emptiness within or it a symptom of our culture? I think it's a combination of both. OK, I'm going to step up on my soapbox for a minute here, so be warned.

I think that the American economy depends on our willingness burning desire to buy things. We are constantly bombarded with messages telling us that a bigger car, better cell phone, bigger TV, new purse, plumper lips, or what have you will make us happy, even safe, citizens. Can you imagine what would happen if we all refused to buy things other than necessities? We wouldn't have to worry about China, we wouldn't have to work so many hours to make as much money to buy stuff (or to pay for stuff we already bought), and our landfills would stop growing at such a rapid rate. Oh my god, we might find happiness in doing things instead of buying them! But wait! Capitalism would come to a screeching halt and corporate America would slowly wither and die!

I went out today to buy some organizing things, and was disgusted by the stores full of stuff that no one really needs. Cheap stuff. Crap. You know what I'm talking about. Stuff that we buy because it's inexpensive or cute. Stuff that we will throw away. Seeing all this cheap stuff really depressed me. Take your local dollar or "discount" store (here in Maine, we have Mardens). They go by many names, but they all have the same things in them. I'm sure that they serve a purpose for people on a very limited budget for much needed household items, but for the most part, they are full of the most poorly made junk. Junk made of plastic. Once upon a time, we only had a few nice things and we kept them for many years and then passed them on to our children. Now we buy tons of meaningless things and then throw them away when they break or become worn and then buy more. Is it just me or is that sad? It occurred to me that in the past, if someone needed a bookshelf, they built one themselves and here I was looking for a new one because the cheap one I bought 3 years ago fell apart. Yuk.

When I see people trolling up and down the aisles in stores, filling their carts with stuff, I feel like saying "Do you really need that?" I have a bad habit of doing that to my mother all the time. I think she buys things because she is lonely and a little empty. I don't want to be that person.

Oh dear, there's nothing worse than the newly converted.

I took today off work to finish my room. Wanna see?

Here's my closet, neatly organized with all of my rubber stamping, scrap booking, photographs, basket making, hand stitching, buttons, ribbons and misc. STUFF.

Better yet, that 3 drawer unit (containing all of my beading supplies) in front has WHEELS!

I can just move it aside to get at the closet. I love wheels.

All of my cutting and ironing supplies are next to the cutting table where they belong, and my rulers and scissors are neatly organized at one end.

I love my room again!!

The only things I haven't put back are the books and fabric. I found a small bookshelf today that I think will fit behind the door and will hold at least all of my knitting books, but ran out of time to go back and get it. Mr. S is going to be so surprised when he gets home tomorrow! He said that he will fix the bookcase right away so I can finish (my sweetie pie loves me).

Speaking of my Mr., I went into the basement today to find some nails to hang my thread racks and let me tell you, his collection of stuff is waaaay worse than mine!!! Nuts, bolts, screws, widgets and sprockets all over the place. Total chaos. [shudder]

Now that I don't need to buy anything for YEARS, I can spend my time making nice things that will last for years and years. Maybe things that will be meaningful to someone.

Before I can do that, however, I need to clean out "the cubby" (enter the sound of impending doom). Lurking behind this tiny little door is a whole new adventure in purging.

No Alice, this doesn't lead to Wonderland. This is the place where I have stored things that I don't want to look at or think about, but don't want to throw away. Things like my childhood collection of 45's (9 to 5, Convoy, Funkytown, Another One Bites The Dust) and cassette tapes (including every Bowie album made before 1986). And that's the good stuff. I'm hoping that once I clean this space out, I can use it to store my extra sewing machines and bins of quilting UFO's.

I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Tomorrow is another day. Tonight, I need to rest.

Here's a little lullaby for you crocheters out there: "Take Some Time" by Rose Melberg.
(Thanks Charlie!)


Lisa said...

I agree with you completely on the need for stuff. I think a lot of people think that the more posessions they have, the happier they will be. Sadly it is just the opposite.

Yarn Coffee said...

Preach on Sister Friend!

I sometimes have an enlightening moment similar to your post. I then get depressed and vow to not buy those cheapy little things that will break or fall apart, etc. Things I just don't need. Then that leads me to thinking about all the food we buy that we dont' eat or don't need cause it's not nutrious. Then I think of the starving, then...

I just spiral. This is why I don't watch the news.

Good for you for talking about it! Someone needs to.

Abigail said...

Congratulations on all your hard work! Everything looks great.

Have fun with the "Closet of antiquties"!