I recently read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The book documents the author’s quest for happiness. She created and followed various resolutions concentrating on a different area every month, for one year. In July, she focused on the relationship between money and happiness. I found this chapter very inspiring, especially the concept of “Spending Out.” Like the author, I also find myself clinging to stuff, holding on to it for a rainy day. The truth is, this rarely makes sense.
Use it up
Last year, I played the drugstore game a lot. This resulted in a large stash of toiletries that will probably take a year or more to use. I have a hall closet that’s basically a drug store. Sometimes, the hoarding instinct kicks in and I have the urge to continue playing the drugstore game and grow my stash, or at least maintain it. After all, it’s a game, doesn’t it take more stuff to win? Then I remind myself that I have enough. Sometimes it’s hard to realize when enough is enough. In addition to the space all that stuff uses, it’s also wise to consider whether it’s something you’ll still want to use in several months or even years.
Don’t save it for later
Things are meant to be used. Whether it’s the nice china or your new little black dress. There’s no point in having it if you never ever use it. And isn’t it more fun to use it or wear it? You can still save things for special occasions, but if you’re never using it, what’s the point? An example the author shares is a bottle of perfume that belonged to her grandmother. The perfume, still in it’s box, was on her grandmother’s bureau for as long as she can remember. When her grandmother died, it was still there, the bottle filled to the top. I think the nature of life is that new things will come a long. Use the things you have now and something else, maybe even something better, will come a long when you need it.
If it’s passed its prime, let it go
If the item no longer serves a purpose for you, let it go; don’t hold on to it anymore. If it’s still usable, set it free into the world; give it to someone who’ll use it, donate it to a charity. I’ve been in the middle of a huge spring cleaning project and have been forcing myself to do this. Ultimately, I would like to only have things in my home that I love or use. There are so many things that I have purchased in the past thinking that I have to have them, but then I may use them one time and never again. Because I was so convinced I needed the item, I continue to hold on to it. There are also a lot of things that I use past their lifespan but won’t retire. If it’s surpassed its lifespan, let it go. I don’t know about you, but those things typically just weigh me down and make me cranky. Put them out of their misery and send them to the trash.
If you haven’t read The Happiness Project, I highly recommend it. It made me stop and think about some things that I might not have otherwise considered with regards to happiness. In what areas of your life do you need to spend out?