Melanie G. Photography
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. We all ate too much, spent too much, got too much. We all feel hemmed in, crowded, full. January will soon dawn, and it’s time to clean it all out. Time to go on the diet, put away the decorations, clean out the clutter.
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 do the exact thing every January on this blog! And so the pendulum swings from maximizing to minimizing, from excess to editing. Just so that it can swing back the other way a few months from now . . .
There is a great deal of bingeing and purging going on many American homes, and I’m not referring to eating. It’s something you might call “domestic bulimia,” a never-ending cycle of bingeing and purging on new things to use in decorating our homes. Spend a morning at the local HomeGoods 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 Nashville, TN.
So what happens when we run out of room in our homes or when we aren’t happy with our decorating 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.
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.
This is my version of the famous William Morris 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.” It’s a NEW YEAR. This is not intended as a guilt trip – maybe it’s just time to look at your belongings and your home in a whole new way. Let’s don’t just buy just to buy – let’s buy only what we need or what we love. The rest just isn’t worth having anyway.