I’ve had a hard time articulating exactly what I mean by that until I started reading “Make It Do”, whose project is to “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” and generally get out of the stuff-lust habit in 2012. Her faqs do a great job of getting at what I mean by stuff-lust:
I have more stuff than I could ever possible use or need. But society constantly encourages us all to keep buying. I could cook from every cookbook on my shelves and feed my family until the end of time, yet I still feel I “need” new cookbooks. I have 26 (?) pairs of shoes, don’t wear most of them, and somehow think I need more shoes. Etc. etc.
I’m also not comfortable with how easily I spend money and buy things on impulse, simply because I have the luxury to do so.
I also probably do have around 26 pairs of shoes and only wear three pairs on a regular basis. But I’ll catch myself going, “Oh! Look at that nice pair of shoes! So pretty! When was the last time I even bought shoes? Like July, maybe? Geez. So maybe I’ll keep my eye out for a new pair like that…”
Then I catch myself. “Wait. What I am talking about? Prior to seeing another woman wearing nice shoes I was not even thinking about wanting or needing new shoes. I was actually pretty happy with my shoes. Am I doing the grown up version of the ‘you have, I want?’ Is this a keeping up with the Joneses kind of deal?
And, really, my closet space is pretty limited. If I’m not careful I could end up with a “Hoarders” closet. And I can’t even watch “Hoarders” without getting freaked out so the last thing I need is to up my volume of stuff because I “need” all 26 pairs of my shoes and the ones I newly covet.”
So how did I go from not needing shoes to needing shoes in 5 seconds when nothing has happened to my actual shoes?
I have stuff-lust.
I would chalk it up to just really liking shoes but honestly I’m not even a shoe person. They’re nice and all and I’ve got nothing against shoe people. But shoes don’t do it for me in the way they do it for the Carrie Bradshaws of the world. So it’s kind of ridiculous that I even have a fleeting desire to accumulate them.
What makes my stuff-lust especially annoying is I could sub any number of other things that I totally do not need in for the shoes. Computer, phone, car, new make up, outfit, toy, food, random thing prominently displayed at Target, random thrift store item.
A general “Ooooh neat! Maybe I should get that!” crosses my radar screen way too often.
An aspect of my desire to quell stuff-lust has to do with wanting to be frugal, greener, less cluttered, less involved with companies with dodgy environmental and labor practices, and other ‘responsible consumer’ issues that might make for a better blog post.
But, truthfully, the aspect of my stuff-lust that’s getting to me at the moment has nothing to do with any of that. Those shoes could be cheap, green, self-storing, and ethically produced and I still wouldn’t really need them.
When it comes down to it what irks me most about my stuff-lust is that it’s not how I want to spend my limited time and resources. When I ask myself where my discretionary income and time go I want to be able to say something like, “Cooking,” “Travel,” “Knitting,” or even “Underwater basket weaving” or “Snooki-level self tanning and hair poofing.” Anything that’s an actual leisure activity or hobby that is not solely based around being susceptible to marketing and pressure to impulsively consume.
I don’t want to have to say, “Well, in addition to reading and cooking I devote my leisure time and income to buying stuff that looked cool on TV and purchasing stuff online while bored. Also, I’m an active member of the “influenced by the end caps at Target” community.”
We live in a consumer society and I suppose wanting to consume things is a side effect that’s to be expected. But still. I am not okay with my stuff-lust.