Column by Kay Frances
They say that we spend the first half of our lives accumulating stuff and the second half getting rid of it. I’m firmly ensconced in the third quarter of my life and I’d have to say that I agree with this assessment.
I know it probably defies the laws of physics, but “stuff” in my house seems to breed and multiply. I’ve actually run across items that I can’t even identify. (Yeah, I’m looking at YOU, pedometer … or thermometer … or stop watch … or whatever you are.)
I know I’m supposed to do my cleaning in the spring, but I’m usually anxious to get out and enjoy the weather. When it gets chilly in the fall, I’m trapped inside with nothing better to do but wonder what Junk Fairy came by while I was out and deposited all manner of “stuff” in every nook and cranny in my house. I know we are supposed to have a junk drawer, but a whole house? I wouldn’t say I rise to the level of a “hoarder.” It’s more that I’m a sucker for a good deal and can’t seem to resist a bargain.
There’s a particular chain of stores that gets you hooked by first giving you 30 percent off coupons, then giving you their “store cash” to spend. Cash! You can’t ignore it. So, you spend it on more stuff, get more 30 percent off coupons and the cycle continues. I’m actually shocked when I receive a bill, because everything felt so … free! I really felt like they were paying me.
So, what can we do to stop the flood of stuff from entering our abodes to start with?
I once read that we should pretend that our home is an exclusive nightclub. And, that there is a doorman posted outside with a red velvet rope. When we want to bring something new into the house, we should visualize having to explain to this very “judgey” doorman why we need it and what purpose it will serve. The purpose of this exercise is to curb impulse buys.
Organizational experts tell us that anything in our home needs to meet the following criteria:
• Would you pay full price for it today? (I don’t pay full price for anything.)
• If the item were missing, would you replace it? (Sure, if I happened to notice, which is unlikely.)
• Does it bring you joy to look at or to use? (I’d have to be able to identify it first.)
• Do you feel energized when you look at this item? (Yes, when I think of the bargain I got.)
Nowhere do they take into account the joy of trampling another human being on Black Friday to snag a super discount. Or the bragging rights that come with The Big Score.
So, my plan going forward is to wait until that doorman is on his lunch break so I can sneak stuff into my house without getting any grief. Or maybe I’ll bribe him with a 30 percent off coupon.