House For Six

How To Squash The Need Machine

Deme Crinion28 Comments
I did it again.  I told myself I would go into Target for groceries and only groceries....

But somehow my cart first made it's way into women's accessories and then through the entire home department juuuust to see what might be on sale/clearance.

And somehow I managed to find my cart piled up with an area rug for the living room, an entry rug, rug pad, a small bench, a few cheap frames, and a ceramic turtle...before I so much as glanced at the grocery section.  At which point there was no room for the groceries.  You know, the things I actually needed.

Since I was not there for home decor, nor really had the extra money to spend on home things, I spent minutes and minutes mulling over the rug purchase.....get the rug or not?  I've been looking for a rug for a long time...its such a good price and the color is great....but it's not in our budget right now...and am I sure that's really what we want for the room?.....but it's a great price...

I threw it on the cart, walked around some more, tried to shove a box of cereal between all the crap, realized I was CRAZY, and eventually put everything back except the frames and small bench (which I may need to return because it's not quite the right size).  

Then, I got the groceries.  #dangyouTarget 

Honestly, I left there feeling awful.  Even though I walked out with only two "add-ons", I had wasted SO much time in there conflicted over things I didn't need- but would I forever regret this amazing steal??

And sadly, this was not the first time I've done this in the past couple of weeks.  I know that Target requires will power, but I've just had this overall feeling of UGH when it comes to our house lately.

Maybe because there are still parts of the house that are chaotic and disorganized from moving....maybe I have stage fright of sorts since I really want to capture our tastes with this house, but can't seem to make a decision about anything design related and feel like I might hate everything I chose down the line...maybe I'm too busy looking around at everyone else's more complete homes.....or maybe it's just my heart.  

So, what do we do if we find ourselves unhappy with where we are and longing for more?

tips when you feel like you don't have enough

1.  Count Your Gifts

It's really scary how quickly I can forget how much we are blessed.  Hello!  We have an amazing home to call our own, in an amazing area to raise our kids (who are healthy and thriving) also happens to be a big ole blank slate prime for the DIY taking.  I really couldn't have asked for more in a home.

Taking just a second to think about what we do have can usually pull me right out of that needy funk.  Saying it out loud or putting it on paper is even better.  There is joy in giving thanks, but self control seems to make it's way back around through gratitude too. 

gratitude quote

2.  Give Things Away

In the parking lot today, I thought back to when I was feeling this way about my clothes...not so ironically, the Target clearance racks were a vortex then too.  I was all about getting a "great deal", whether or not it was flattering, fit well, or was something I truly needed.  I ended up filling a closet full of clearance steals that I hardly wore and would stare at my closet packed with great deals feeling like I didn't have anything to wear...and needed more, or at least needed the "right" things.

It may seem counter intuitive but when you are most feeling like you need more and are not happy with what you have, that's usually the best time for a purge.

I ended up doing a massive purge of my closet going down to a versatile 30-piece wardrobe.  And it was the best thing ever!  The only things left in my closet were things that fit, flattered, worked a number of different ways, and were items I truly loved, not just liked. (You can see that full post with an example wardrobe and free shopping printable here).
30 piece wardrobe

 It was completely liberating.  But clearly, I haven't had the same epiphany with the house just yet.

A purge doesn't have to be massive, but getting rid of what you don't like/use/need is so freeing.  It reminds us that we don't need to hold on so tightly to stuff.  Getting rid of the closet/house/brain clutter gives us space to breath.  If we only keep those things we need, use, love, and have special meaning, then two things happen:  we better appreciate what we do keep, and we're more selective about what we bring in.

Purging literally frees up space, but it can also do a 180 in us....turning our focus outward and back onto others, instead of on ourselves and what we want/need/don't have/whine/whine/whine. 

We have a new house with a totally different layout than our last.  It's bigger overall, but the rooms are smaller.  We could use a couch in the family room and a rug or two, but they aren't necessary right now.  The bedrooms, however, have far too much stuff and could stand to lose a few things.  Not to mention the toys that multiply while we sleep, and the random linens and home junk we've accumulated.

Right when you're starting to feel like if you just had that one [fill in the blank], all would be right with the world, go give some stuff away.  It feels good to give and good to shed the excess.  Don't be afraid!  Purge and purge good!

If you need some tips or help with how to purge your stuff, check out this post here.

3.  Avoid Your Dens Of Temptation

For me, Target is obviously a weakness.  Do I need to go there to buy my groceries?  No.  There's this nifty place called a grocery store where all they sell is food.  So, personally if I only need food, I should go to the place that just sells food.  Because I can not resist the lure of the home decor aisle or a clearance end cap...I'm weak and I know it!

Maybe your weakness is clothing stores or even thrift shops.  I'm a huge fan of thrift shopping, trolling Craigslist, etc. but as the saying goes, if we're not careful we can "go broke saving money".

I mostly find myself impulse buying when I'm alone.  So, going places with James, the kids, or a friend who can hold me back when I try to break for the Nate Berkus display helps keep the non-budgeted spending in check.

The other day, we stopped at Target for soap and a few groceries, but I drove the cart into the women's clothing section first.  Mia says, "why are we over here, Mom?  I thought we were here for groceries."  Touche, Little Miss.  And thank you.

4.  Unsubscribe 

Unsubscribe from catalogs, promotional email lists, or newsletters that suck up your time or make you feel you need to jump on something.  You don't need to know about every sale you're missing out on, or to see all the latest and greatest from around the web/consumerville.  There will always be another sale right around the corner.

Wait until you're ready to buy, then start watching your favorite sites or stores for sales.  Ask what time of year they typically put those items on sale.  Then try to be patient. Once that sale comes, you can get what you need knowing that you've planned and are ready for that item.

5.  Stop Looking Everywhere Else & Take A Break.

Whatever it is....a neighbor's home, magazines, other's success, that mom who's lost the baby weight...whatever makes you feel like what you have and who you are isn't enough, cue the Frozen soundtrack, and let it go!

Take a break from Pinterest/TV shows/magazines that make you feel inadequate, edit down your blog list, resist stopping into your favorite stores as often, take a Facebook hiatus, change up your routine.....because:

6.  Be Good At Returns & Better At Grace

Don't beat yourself up over a bad choice.  If married, talk to your partner...if I'm hesitant to tell James what I bought (namely how much it cost), then I know it was probably a bad choice.  If you know hands down that the impulse buy needs to go back, return it ASAP.  If you're not sure, live with it a couple days.  If you still regret the purchase and the budget is hurting, take it back.

I can't tell you how many times I've done that, only to see it marked down even more a couple weeks later when I can actually afford it.  Other times it's gone forever and I just need to move on.

Because in the end, it's all. just. stuff.   And we all know that true joy doesn't come from the things we have, but the people we share it with. 

Breaking free from the "need machine" is hard.  And it's something that tends to come in cycles for me.  I'll go through periods where I don't feel the pull towards getting things for the home or updating my closet or needing to look a certain way.  Then, I quickly find myself fighting the urge for more or to measure up. 

I think that's because joy and contentment are things that require regular maintenance in a way.

There will always be something pretty and new.  There will always be birthdays and holidays that bring more things into our homes.  The physical act of purging is something we need to do on a regular basis to keep the excess from piling up again.  Just like the internal act of gratitude and detaching our hearts from material things or expectations is needed on a regular basis in order to keep our joy intact.

This season of Lent I've been trying to focus on better serving my family. I have a few specific ways I've been doing that, but it's mostly been an overall attitude adjustment for me.  Part of that is the way I've viewed our home.  I'm such a visual person that having the house in a chaotic state from moving and nothing finished stresses me out.  It's been difficult to be patient with the process, even though I know that home doesn't happen overnight.  Moving right at the start of the coldest winter in 50 years forcing us inside at all costs has not helped.

I can get so paralyzed by all there is to do that I have difficulty starting anything.  But small steps is the goal here.  Little things add up to a lot over time and I need to tackle some of the areas that are causing all of us some serious stress around here.  Like the ridiculous pile of stuff taking over the dining room.

I don't need a new rug or an awesome bar cart.  I need to stop avoiding our house!

Anyone else been there?  How do you combat the need for more?  Does anyone else suffer from chaotic home paralysis?  How do you move forward?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!