When I was 6 yrs old, I learned the concept of collecting, and decided that whatever I liked enough, I would then collect. My mother passed down a coin collection to me that got the frenzy started. From there: Marbles. Popples. Care Bears. Rainbow Brite. Hot Looks Dolls. Ninja Turtles (lol! what?) Crystals. Beads. Stickers. Barbies.
I will just stop here, it’s as much as my memory will afford, but honestly, there could have been more because as my mother would joke “More is your middle name!”. I was a sweet child, I promise! I didn’t jump and kick and throw tantrums in the store isle if my mom didn’t buy me the silly puddy I just had to have. Although, that may be because I never had to. My mother showed her love for me by spending her money on me. So I learned at a young age the imposed importance of “things”. It’s just what you do. In between my Saturday morning cartoons, I was overloaded by commercials of all the things I had to have. How did they know I needed that?! I don’t think I ever stopped and asked myself why? Why do I need another Rainbow Troll or Strawberry Shortcake? I could clearly see by the kids dancing and hugging their toys in the commercials. These things obviously deliver happiness. That is until you have too many and you can’t see the floor of your room, and your mom orders you to clean it!
Isn’t there an old saying that goes “A cluttered house is a cluttered mind”? Every single Saturday morning the bright neon signs with hand-drawn arrows point the way ”Yard Sale ——->”. In fact, this is one of my most enjoyed activities. I like to call it treasure hunting. Our families livelihood depends on it. Those glass sconces from Pottery Barn that you “had to have”, well I bought them at a yard sale for $2.50 a year later when your neighbors convinced you it was time redecorate. I am so grateful for America’s glutenous, over consumption of things that ends up regurgitated on her front lawn every weekend. It makes it easy for a digger, such as myself, to make a living. Honestly, it’s an addiction to me. I am a self-proclaimed yard sale, thrift store junkie. I literally get a high when I find a first in series Holiday Barbie MINT in box (worth 200-400) for 20 bucks! That paid our power bill that month. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide. I admire the “freegans” out there making their dumpster-dived dinners, I just haven’t graduated to that level. Considering my germ-a-phobia, I may never get there but that is ok, that’s where homesteading comes in. I have learned I can not hold on to these things and if I do, it will cost me an item for an item. If I buy a pair of jeans for myself, one pair goes to the marketplace. I haven’t mastered this system but I am at least trying.
It’s easy to convince yourself that you need something. We all do it, especially women. Your supposed to have the revolving shoe rack in a room sized closet, even if you don’t wear all the killer Jimmy Choos, you might one day, and besides, just looking at them makes you happy. It’s so necessary that you might drop a quarter of your pay check on one pair of shoes or a handbag because no one takes a business woman seriously if her handbag came from Target. I mean, really? Okay Okay, I will slow down because this is not a guilt trip!! Please don’t think I am here to condemn you because I once considered a handbag an “investment”. Today, I consider land an investment and so it’s plain to see that my priorities have shifted. If you have the land, and can afford the handbag, I am not here to pry it from your hands and force it in the donation pile. I simply want to make you think before you consume. Who are you supporting when you buy imported fruit from the grocery store? Will you be wearing the handbag 1 year from today? If you could trade the item in your cart for clean water to an indigenous family in need for one week, would you? Because you can. It’s an option. The media just doesn’t capitalize on it as much as Colgate toothpaste.
The questions in your mind that you have never bothered to ask.