There are items I bought many years ago that still have price tags–waiting for what, I wonder, or for whom?
The other day I noticed the shelves above my desk, and suddenly realized that there are books up there I have not even read. How did that happen?
A look into my wardrobe closet gives me the same report. There are clothes in there I still have not worn. In fact, I don’t even remember buying them. And yet, whenever I have somewhere to go, I feel I have nothing to wear. Are all women like me?
It wasn’t like this before. If I had a new book I could hardly wait to get into it. New clothes were just as exciting.
What has changed, and does it happen to all people of age?
As a young housewife, I had a routine. I disapproved of excess. When the children were little, just before Christmas, I got into their closets. My first target was the toy chest. I gave away their old toys to make room for the avalanche on Christmas Eve. I kept only what they couldn’t live without, even if these were tattered and torn. If they wanted to keep more than just one, they were allowed to negotiate.
I did that to my own things. I inspected closets and emptied drawers. I checked everything according to size, style and usefulness. What I couldn’t wear I gave away. From the drawers, I retrieved items I had stored over the years. Those no longer pertinent to my lifestyle were disposed of.
But over time, it became a little more tedious, and even painful to get rid of the contents of my special drawer. A little trinket with sentimental undertones seemed to stick to my fingers. I wrapped it in soft tissue, relived the story behind it, and felt the magic all over again. So it remained in the drawer together with other silly treasures from a forgotten era; junk from another lifetime.
And then it was time to close our last home in Hawaii. In one fell swoop it was all gone. Why is it always the small stuff that gives the biggest heartache?
Have you looked at your closets lately? I just did. There are items I bought many years ago that still have price tags, waiting for what, I wonder, or for whom? Perhaps for the right occasion, or a dramatic weight loss? It’s time to get real!
I have heard it said that if you haven’t seen something in your closet for a couple of years, that means you don’t need it. It may be time to give it away or stash it in a bin for pick-up by your favorite charity. I don’t think anyone has enough storage space for what we buy on our shopping sprees. I cringe when I think of the waste. While others have to do without, our purchases gather dust and mold and are forgotten behind closet doors.
I have not been too much of a shopper in my lifetime, although I must confess having succumbed to an irresistible bargain or two. I am not an impulsive or compulsive consumer. And lately, I am even less that. Maybe it has something to do with the increase in discomfort when I walk too much, or the decrease in my purchasing power. Or both?
Years ago when I lived in America, I looked forward to the year-end white sale at Macy’s when prices of towels and bed linens were slashed 50-75 percent. There was also a rare offer from Saks Fifth to “buy one, take one” bottle of your favorite scent by Annick Goutal. I was one of the hundreds of door busters at those events.
Buying clothes today has become a real chore. Prices have soared, and the latest fashions are not quite “my style.” Still, I look at my closet and there’s just too much in there. I believe that if we took an inventory of what we own, we would be shocked to find how much we have and how excessive we have been.
Want or need
What is too much? How much is enough? Does it all depend on what you want or on what you need?
How many pairs of shoes do you own? Did you know that because of the humidity, shoes with rubberized soles fall apart when kept too long? I once wore a pair for the first time in years, but when I walked, the soles were left behind. Embarrassing. I had to dump several pairs, still brand new.
And then there are those who buy in great quantities, just to hoard. I have a friend who keeps her exquisite English table linen under lock and key. She says she is saving it for something or someone special. Some of the hand-embroidered napkins have yellow stains.
Do you realize that many of us do the same with our smiles? Who are we saving our kind words for? Why do we put love on the back burner hoping for someone “worthy” to come along? Look around your friends. Remember what Hallmark says: “Life is a special occasion.” So what are we waiting for?
Are your books gathering dust on the shelves? Take them down. Visit them a while. Turn the pages. Read a little. Stretch your minds. Enrich your hearts. You may just discover that the book may change your life; and if not yours, then maybe it might make a difference in someone else’s.
Today’s pervasive media and massive advertising have sold us the idea that having it all in abundance is the only way to live. I may have thought so once upon a time. That was when I was young and foolish.
Mildred Norman Ryder, better known as the Peace Pilgrim, walked 25,000 miles in the span of 28 years, in the name of peace. She had no money in her pocket and carried nothing but the clothes on her back. This is what she said:
“Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them. There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are happiest.”