Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Other Side of Thrift: Too Much Thrifting

A beloved find
So now that I’ve advocated thrifting, I want to talk about the other side of it. Too much thrifting. Shopping addiction. Stuff for stuff's sake.

I was raised in a recreational shopping, “I’m bored, let’s go shopping,” type of environment. (there wasn’t a lot to do where I grew up) We didn’t necessarily buy a lot each trip, but it made an impact on my behavior. When I moved out on my own, I would get bored and go shopping at these amazing malls that had two stories. (TWO STORIES!) I felt the need to fill my new apartment with a bunch of stuff. Pretty stuff, but still stuff. And it cost money. The hit on my wallet slowed me down, until yard sale season. Then I went back out and bought even more stuff that I didn’t need, because I felt the need to have things and I figured, why not? It’s not that expensive. And I really need that ____ to add to my ____ collection.

Then we moved across the country, and I couldn’t take it all with me. That was probably the best thing that could have happened to me regarding my shopping habits. I went through all of these things that I was sure I wanted and needed and did a very small purge, if you can even call it a purge. It felt like one at the time though. I stored most of that stuff. But once we got out there and I didn’t have a lot of anything (and only 500 square feet to fit two people, two cats, and two birds), I started to appreciate that less is more, in this case less stuff meant more room to live in. When we upgraded to a 750 sq ft apartment, I had room to expand, but I didn’t really. I’d gotten used to it and grown to like bare spaces.

When we moved back and I started going through all of those boxes of things that I just had to keep, I filled the garage with yard sale items. There are a few things that I had missed: a small china teapot, a toy car (a miniature of my dream car), a couple of vases. Those things, as well as a few items that are lovely and purposeful, like my milk glass lamps, stayed.

The Nester has recently discussed similar thoughts. She refers to it as thrifting-itis. I’ve listed a few of her posts below, you should check them out.

http://www.thenester.com/2010/07/the-secret-to-thrifting.html - a pro-thrifting post

I still absolutely go to the thrift stores, and I have a blast when I do. I purchase things. I just do so purposefully. I only buy things that are useful and that I like (like the fish lamp). I avoid knick-knacks. I avoid collectables.

Really, it’s all about moderation. Middle ground, you could say.  ; )  Where do you fall on the scale? Have you come back from the brink? Are you afraid to shop because you don’t want to catch the thrifting bug? Do you manage a happy medium?

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