There are myriad ways to acquire things – gifts, hand-me-downs, impulse purchases, planned purchases, new ones, vintage ones, thrift ones, yard-sale ones, ethically-sourced ones…
Many of us would likely agree that some ways are better than others. It is best (i.e. easier on the planet and your wallet) to acquire gently used, well-made items with a low price tag and long life ahead. If second-hand isn’t available, it is better (i.e. easier on the planet and your moral fiber, but maybe not your wallet) to buy well-made, ethically-sourced items than cheap ones.
I am moving this summer and for the first time in a while need to get some things for a home. I fantasize about my next home often: how will I decorate? How will I organize? Options are limited in renting (no big painting plans!) but I still dream about hanging art and coordinating colors.
Looking around my home, I started thinking about the improvements I could make. I should find good things for my family and make our home nice, because it was my responsibility. And how much better that I was finding good things for my family in a responsible, budget-conscious way! The walls seemed a little empty and needed some sprucing up. Perhaps we could replace the night table with something with storage. And didn’t we need to improve the kitchen?
I gradually noticed that I was spending more and more time thinking about things to buy. I wasn’t spending a lot of money, but the idea of adding more started to consume my thoughts. We weren’t lacking anything, but I could always think of one more thing that would be nice to have.
Sound familiar? We know that consuming is a habit well-cultivated by our culture, and it’s easy to entertain ourselves by imagining things to acquire. And sometimes we DO need things, whether it be functional furniture, item updates or happy things like art and accessories. (For example, I love frame collages like the one below, and I’ve been slowly collecting frames from thrift stores because they make me happy.)
Reading Rachel’s post this week reminded me to try for balance. It can be fun to plan home improvements, or hunt for prize pieces or find a really good bargain. The trick is to separate want and need, entertainment and obsession. Do you truly lack it, or do you merely want to acquire it?
Rachel has ten helpful tips for curbing your desire to acquire, including avoiding temptation (no more catalogues!) and giving yourself ample time to think about making a purchase. Learning the different between wanting & needing is ongoing…
Thanks for reading!