Sometimes I answer reader questions in public instead of via email. I like eavesdropping and I know some of you might, too.
I got a link to your blog from the Project 333 website, and I have been devouring it ever since. I admire your self-control: you make it look so easy! I am also trying to de-clutter, but after living off my parents’ back for 25 years, now I finally finished my studies, got a job and I have the freedom to buy whatever I want without having to justify my purchase to anyone :D. So I am torn between “I need to buy less” and “Now I can look even greater than the brats in my class used to”. If you have any tips on how to overcome this feeling, they are more than welcome. But, actually, the point of the comment is that your blog is awesome!
Hi Alexandra –
A great question! And one that I think a lot of 20-somethings with jobs struggle with. My path is little bit different from yours, since I must admit that I have never had a TON of extra money outside of paying for our living expenses, socking away some money for retirement and savings, etc. to go crazy with and buy anything my heart desires. HOWEVER, I have totally and absolutely felt that pull to compare what we have with others. (I wrote about it a few years ago, actually). First, know that it gets easier as you do it more often (not buying a ton of stuff just ’cause you can, that is).
When I’m faced with that feeling, I try to keep in mind what I would rather spend my money on (for me, it’s travel). I remind myself I end up throwing away or giving away most everything I buy eventually. I know this from decluttering regularly, but especially from moving. When you move, everything loses a little value since they just become things you have to pack. A bit of a burden, even. I throw things away eagerly with reckless abandon when we’re moving!
The truth is, I forget about those 12 pairs of pants that I bought over the past few years, but I remember the trips we took. Those trips are the kind of life I want to have – moments with my son and husband, moments with friends, moments I remember. So, if faced with the prospect of buying another black pencil skirt or saving that $30 toward something that’s a little longer lasting, I’ll put the skirt back. Remind yourself why you want less clutter and a simpler life – is it more time to read? Less time spent cleaning? Easier decisions about what to wear in the morning? When you have control over your spending and purchasing habits, you are in charge, not those brats you went to school with. And that is the ultimate in “Look how awesome I am, b*tches!” in my opinion.
Also, it brings me more joy to live simply. To not have excessive clutter around my house, to not spend excessive amounts of money. It feels like it truly lines up with who I want to be. I can tell from your question that you are the same. The mere fact that you are READING the Project 333 website and trying to declutter means that is what you yearning for! :) I really think if you honor that feeling, you’ll find it gives you joy as well.
Lastly, I want to just let know that I have no self-control. Or very little. I just try to stay out of stores or online sites that entice me and make me think I need to buy more pretty things. I also make financial goals that encourage me to save more and spend less. I always love a good goal.
Hope that helps!