Are our attitudes to possessions changing?
It this time of year, the pressure to buy things is at its most intense, not only because of the annual event that is Black Friday, but also because of Christmas.
In fact, in the consumer economy that characterises most of the developed world, most businesses and the economy, depend on our willingness to buy and spend.
However, more and more people are aware of the damage that this consumerism is causing to the environment and the danger that it is becoming irreversible. Happily, more people are refusing to accept things such as non-recyclable packaging.
Also, in recent years there has also been the beginnings of a movement towards maintaining and repairing our existing equipment. Persuading manufacturers to produce goods, particularly expensive household items, that will last for longer.
Another pressure to own less is the change in lifestyles, especially among the younger generation. Younger people often cannot afford to buy a place to live and therefore they rent their homes, in which the available space is more restricted as houses become smaller.
If you don’t know how long you are going to be able to stay in a rented property, it really doesn’t make sense to accumulate lots of possessions that you will have to keep packing up and taking with you when you move!
How do you know when you have too much stuff?
Researchers have suggested that there are signs of a mounting revulsion for acquiring physical consumer goods.
Futurist and journalist James Wallman argues that; “Materialism is making millions of us feel joyless, anxious and, even worse, depressed…”
But it is too soon to say that there is a significant change in our habits of acquiring stuff as the boom in online shopping makes clear. We are still buying lots of stuff, even though we are now doing it online, which in a sense actually makes it easier and perhaps more seductive.
So how much is too much? Here are some indicators:
Clothes piling up in the corners of your room, are a good sign of owning too much.
If you have been away on a trip, still not unpacked and a week later still have plenty of clothes to wear, this is another sign.
Do you notice duplicates, such as two copies of the same book? If we allow too many possessions to accumulate, we can lose track of what we do and don’t already have. “Do you have a wardrobe where the mere act of opening it causes chaos”?
What happens when you open a cupboard? Is it followed by a deluge of things falling out?
Do the contents of one room spill over into another – such as bathroom equipment in the bedroom?
Of course, there are some items such as family heirlooms or valuable collections that you can’t get rid of but may not have houseroom for. That’s when self-storage comes in handy!