How to stop being addicted to stuff

Clutter, disorganization and unhappiness. Sound familiar? If yes, it might be time for an intervention.

Here’s my prescription:

  1. Watch The Story of Stuff, an informative way to spend 20 minutes. It will get you thinking about your own role in the consumerism cycle.
  2. Stop watching television. TV makes people want more things. People who live in want of more things tend to be very unhappy. Unhappy people go shopping, because it’s a quick way to feel better for a short amount of time, but in the long-term it leaves them unsatisfied with their lives and smothered in their own possessions.
  3. Politely say no to all freebies. Just because it is free does not mean you need it in your house. Keep in mind that getting rid of something is 10 times harder than acquiring it.
  4. Teach yourself to shop mindfully. Ask yourself: “Do I really need this thing, or do I want it?” and Why do I want it?” Take time to honestly and thoughtfully consider the answers. If you decide you must obtain this item, wait one week before purchasing it. Then ask yourself these questions again. Imagine your life without this item. Would you feel an emptiness? Could you fill the emptiness with something more fulfilling and long-lasting — such as spending time with a friend, calling your sister on the phone, going for a walk, or volunteering?
  5. Feed your soul with friends, family, love and leisure time rather than stuff. My personal favorites are playing board games, holding hands, meditating, having a potluck with friends and reading to kids.

To read about people who have stopped shopping altogether (and are doing just fine), check out Good magazine’s post called The Anti-Consumers.

Thoughts on this? Other perspectives? Post a comment, or write to Crystal and let her know!