The Secret Reason We Buy Too Much Stuff

(Picture: Jerry Bakewell)
There are many reasons why we indulge in retail therapy, but one of them isn’t mentioned very often. It’s so obvious we don’t even think about it.

Sometimes we buy things just because we have the space for them.

This realisation struck me when I moved house recently (when they say it’s the most stressful thing you can do, they’re not kidding!). I moved from a huge art deco apartment to a decent-sized two-bedroom flat with one less room.

I’d already given away a lot of stuff before I moved but was amazed at what I still had.

The most surprising thing was that I had quietly amassed a collection of thrift store pictures over the almost ten years I’d been in the apartment. I had a total of more than thirty pictures altogether! This is without any conscious collecting on my part – just a desire to fill the empty spaces on the large walls.

The irony is that there are very few picture hooks at this new place, and I am reluctant to ask the landlord if I can put them up at this early stage in the tenancy. So the majority of these pictures are going to have to go – I’m intending to sell some of the better ones on eBay.

Having amassed all these pictures has taught me a lesson in restraint. I did get very skilled at picking pictures with future potential – the more kitsch the better – and was proud of the way I arranged them in my apartment. And I will keep some of them at the new place, and rotate them on the few picture hooks I have so I don’t get bored.

But nothing is forever, and I will let the majority go with grace.

I know now there is always a new picture around the corner. Only a week ago I found myself staring longingly at a large, abstract print in an op shop in the inner city suburb of Port Melbourne. I knew I didn’t have room for it. When enough pictures are sold, perhaps I will let myself buy one or two new ones.

So next time you're about to buy some little knick-knack or a piece of furniture it’s worth asking yourself the question: am I buying this just to fill space?

Perhaps there is just one thing you buy too much of, because you’ve started a collection – collections have a tendency to constantly demand that they be added to!

If you tend to do this, next time you could rethink whether you really need the item. If it still ‘calls’ to you, is there something you already have that you could get rid of?

Another question it's worth asking when you’re buying a piece of decor: is there something else the money could be used for, like a great experience or a large savings goal?

Until next time!

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