Do You Have Domestic Bulimia?

2011 is over, 2012 is beginning.  When the holidays are over, we collectively survey the decorations, the wrapping supplies, the gifts, the food – all the things that have cluttered our spaces (physically, emotionally, spiritually) for at least the past month, maybe the past year.

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We all ate too much, spent too much, got too much.  We all feel hemmed in, crowded, full.   Now January has dawned, and it’s time to clean it all out.  Time to go on the diet, put away the decorations, clean out the clutter. 

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After being bombarded by media and social pressure, we have bought all the newest and hottest things.  Come January, all we see are weight loss ads and commercials for organizational items to simplify our lives.   Hmmm.  All the shelter magazines feature article after article about decluttering and organizing our homes.  Hey, I did that exact thing last January on this blog!   And so the pendelum swings from maximizing to minimizing, from excess to editing.  So that it can swing back the other way a few months from now . . .

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There is a great deal of bingeing and purging going on many American homes, and I’m not referring to eating.  In my client and friend Katie’s words, it’s a kind of “Domestic Bulimia.”   Spend a morning at my local HomeGoods (in the 8th most wealthy county in America) if you want to see the bingeing part.  Sometimes I walk in and see the never-ending check-out lines and think, “wow, there must be a huge sale going on!”  But, no, it’s just another typical morning in Brentwood, TN.

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So what happens when we run out of room in our homes or when we aren’t happy with our purchases?  We purge.  We haul things off the Goodwill or donate them to other charities.  We have a garage sale so that we can make pennies on the dollars we spent on things that didn’t make us happy in the long haul.   This makes us feel better.  By purging, we can get back on our binge – which, afterall, is the fun part of the cycle!  Now we have room to binge again.   And maybe we’ll be happy with our “stuff” this time around!  Or . . .  maybe not. 

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Maybe it’s time to seriously consider why we are buying what we are buying.  Consider whether or not it has any function or meaning to us.  If it doesn’t, it’s probably going to be purged somewhere down the road.  It makes so much more sense to start with what we have, what we love, what’s important to us – before we start buying for the sake of buying.  And trying to fill up a hole that cannot be filled by material things. 

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The Decorologist’s version of William Morris’s famous quote:   Have nothing in your home that is not functional or doesn’t bring you joy because of its beauty or meaning to you.  And strive for both, if possible.

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It’s a NEW YEAR.  Are you in ready to look at your home in a whole new way?   Contact me to schedule a Decoration Consultation and find out how to use what you already have and make better choices on new purchases for your home. 

 (This post was first published Jan 3rd, 2011.  I was too tired to write a new post today, so I tweaked a few things and reposted.)

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Kelly, Restyling Home by Kelly
Kelly, Restyling Home by Kelly
10 years ago

Great post Kristie! That is so true about going out and buying and then purging so you can go out and buy again. I have settled down a lot with spending but that is only because of money issues. I love the high you get when you find that perfect accessory. I just need to learn when shopping, I can not have it all!

Lezlie Owsley
10 years ago

Absolutely love the post, Kristie. When our lives are focused on what really matters, our spaces reflect that and our spaces also impact our mood and focus. Thank you for reminding us of what it true and lovely.

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

Love this post … you are right on. There is so much going on psychologically with buying and filling up our spaces with stuff we don’t need.

Katie
Katie
10 years ago

Kristie, I love it!!! What a great article you wrote! And it fits so well with the “decorate with what you have” mantra. I like the comment about shopping being a “high”, because it really is. The question now is, what are more positive, productive ways to feel good without having to spend all that money? I think creative repurposing might be one answer… 😉

Christiana
Christiana
10 years ago

okay, just read your blog on domestic bulimia… I must be right on track with all of my cleaning out! what is it about a new beginnings? I thank God for those! I think he knew we would need many. Why do we think to find ourselves we need to add layers when shedding is were our true selves rest and ultimately freedom! Great article!..I will press on with simplification!

Kelly Berg
Kelly Berg
10 years ago

Great post, Kristie! So so so true. (Brave New Home’s Key # 4 is: Use It, Love It or Lose It.
The Brave New Home is a place where everything is used and/or loved. Ideally, you use AND love everything.) Very similar to William Morris’ quote…

On a personal note, I found myself in our attic on New Year’s Day purging away. Putting away all those shiny brites gave me a good opportunity to go through a few other boxes. It’s wonderful to purge out the old in the New Year.

…thanks for the sweet words on the new site. 🙂

Lee
10 years ago

wise words!!

Jordan
10 years ago

What a fantastic post! I can definitely identify with you on this feeling of the need to purge! I have been feeling both so overwhelmed and underwhelmed with all my ‘stuff’! I am welcoming a new attitude of a Simpler home, where I am selective with my belongings – after all, our possessions define us!

Incredible images, just the feel I am looking for!

Hope you had a fabulous New Year!

Looking forward to your posts

xx

Kelley
10 years ago

Great blog post! I totally agree. 🙂

Kelley
9 years ago
Reply to  Kelley

I loved this post last year, and I still love it this year!

Michelle
Michelle
9 years ago

Well written!

Lee
9 years ago

I liked this last year and think it is still very pertinent, very timely this year. I suggest making places in our homes for the gathering of people, of loved ones, rather than things. Making spaces that encourage fellowship, hospitality and harmony of spirits. I’m so looking forward to the completion of the project you have helped us with so that we can do those things more easily in 2012!

Linda
Linda
9 years ago

This post is so true Kristie. Sometimes I think it takes a wake up call as to how much we accumulate over the years. When we moved 6 years ago I was sick to see how little we made in a HUGE yard sale where I did get only pennies on the dollar for “stuff” that I thought I just HAD to have. Most of it didn’t even sell and what was left was donated or trashed. All I could think of was what a huge waste of money on a bunch of junk. That was my wake up call.

Now when I go into Homegoods, if I am not shopping for a client I usually walk out with nothing. In the past that rarely (if ever) happened. I think really long and hard before I buy any new accessories or decorative items for the house. The over eating part…still need to work on that….diet starts Jan 1st…haha!

Mitzi Leigh Hinton
Mitzi Leigh Hinton
9 years ago

Your best post to date! Well done – MLH

Sheila @SZInteriors
9 years ago

Love this post, Kristie! Not only do you impart an important message, but you model it too, by re-sharing this post. I think this speaks volumes about the quality of content by the fact that it is current no matter when it was wtitten. Awesome!

Kellie Collis
9 years ago

These are lovely! So pretty! Enjoy the fabulous weekend, Kellie xx

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