Thursday, November 19, 2009

Acquiring Satisfaction

I know I am trying to simplify my life and declutter and live in a financially responsibly manner, and all that, but still, sometimes, I just like acquiring things.

I admit it; acquiring new stuff is fun. Don't hate me because I tell the truth.

There is the fun of browsing (as long as it doesn't go on too long). There is the delight of having found a really cute or practical thing (as long as it's not too expensive). Finally, I found a small spatula that doesn't cost an arm and a leg! And another couple of Fiestaware pieces that go with my existing sets. There is the satisfaction of feeling prepared and ready for my life. Finally, I have a black sweater that fits, goes with anything, and doesn't itch.

This applies to food and other practicalities too. I have fresh spinach! And large paperclips (which I am always using a lot of). And toilet paper - yessss! I am set! There is also the thrill of a new design or color to delight the eye. I am a big fan of certain styles - like for instance, vintage salt shakers or retro coffee mugs. And there is the Wowzarino thrill of finding something really amazing, such as a 20's vintage dress that actually fits me. Oh, and there are the therapeutic benefits It's such a dreary and depressing day. I know - Let's go browse at the thrift store! and the mundane, too. Those retro-design magnets are just too cute to pass up.

It's a big weakness, I know. I try to not acquire more than I can actually use. I sometimes pass on old or new items to thin the herd occasionally. I've been guilty of giving some of my finds to friends as gifts. Is that so bad, though? I'm just sharing the wealth.

I sometimes get bored with things always the same things, so a little something new can be refreshing. But I am just as happy with a new box of filing folders or an old mixing bowl as I am with a pricey piece of electronic equipment.

Perhaps that's why I am such a fan of thrift shops and clothing exchanges. One can give away some things and discover new ones without much cash outlay. I am especially happy when I find something that fits into a gap in my life.

In my house, my found/exchanged and thrift store finds include:

-a big poofy couch with large pillows (replaced a hideous set of sectional chairs that probably came from a dorm lobby)
-a set of colonial-style hardwood dining room chairs (replaced a mismatched set of my husband's chairs that were falling apart)
-the big brown chest of drawers (replaces an especially hideous and awkwardly proportioned dresser)
-the big green chest of drawers (to store winter and specialized sport clothing)
-a dresser/changing table (used to store fabric until my baby came along)
-three different bookcases, two of them repainted
-a lovely cream-colored ceramic lamp
-several pairs of earrings
-an awesome, colorful, tapestry-fabric jacket
-that aforementioned vintage 20s dress. In acetate. With a hint of a train.
-a set of buttercup yellow dishes (matches and extends an existing set of dishes)
-plain glass plates (collected for use at my wedding reception)
-a cherry wood veneer china cabinet and hutch
-a pair of elegant brass candlesticks
-two different rocking chairs
-a steamer, a tea kettle, a set of silver dessert forks, and demitasse spoons I use for eating ice cream, and the list goes on.

Then there're items that have been passed on to me. An abridged list includes:

-a ten inch cast iron skillet (replaced an oversized skillet I could barely lift)
-the baby's crib
-hundreds of baby clothes items and other baby gear

I realize I am flirting with issues of hoarding and shopping, here, but I'm not too, too worried. I'm not running up debt. I'm not hoarding that toilet paper, although I've had to take a stern approach to my love for glass jars. I do need to throw more stuff away, but I've been passing on outgrown baby clothes as fast as I can. At least I am not collecting adverts and logos any more. See, I have some restraint!

One question I try to keep in mind is: Do I already have one like it that serves the same purpose? If so, tough patooties, unless the thing it would replace is hideous or dysfunctional.

The even bigger and better question I try to keep in mind is: Will I be trying to get rid of this later? If so, it can stay right where I found it.

And sometimes, the new thing is such a cheerful, cool, neato item that I can't resist. And if I get a lift every time I look at it or use it, what is the harm?

Every time I get out the vintage salt shakers or the set of stainless steel mixing bowls I bought twenty-five years ago for $19.99, I still get satisfaction from how perfectly they fit in my life. They were indulgences then, but now, they are an essential, happy part of my life.

No doubt I'll be complaining about all my stuff again soon enough. But meanwhile, I'll bring home a mini curtain rod for the baby's room and a new container of no-salt chili powder, thank you very much. And isn't that nice?

No comments: