When I was younger, it was only when I had to wash my clothes that I realize that I had more than I needed. There were too many things to wash. I asked: “What if I had only one cloth?” Then I would only have to wash one cloth and not too many like I was doing. It sounds stupid today. That question was born out of laziness and not anything that has something to do with philosophy. Who could ever rely on one cloth all his life?
It’s possible one could. But will our society today allow someone with one cloth to thrive in peace?
I believe my wife has too many shoes. She believes she deserves more though she has some shoes she hasn’t worn for over a year. She mostly will pack her clothes in chairs for the lack of space in her closet. We have a baby’s cot my baby never slept in. Today, that baby’s cot has become a mini closet. There seems to be no space around her but she hasn’t stopped buying.
We buy things we hardly have need for at present with the hopes that the need will come along the way. Actually, the need never comes but we still keep those things anyway.
But who is to blame? Who’s fault it is that we’ve become owners of things we have no need of? And why do we seek salvation in ownership and in having the power to own more everyday? Why do we buy when we already have what will suffice our existence?
#1. To cover up our deficiency.
She bought a make-up kit so she could be able to hide the spot and the blemish on her face. He doesn’t feel handsome enough so he bought clothes that will make him look like the models on the screen. She will only appear confident if had a specific designer bag. We buy and buy with the hope of filling the hollow spots in our lives.
Then we realize that the confidence we gained from what we bought yesterday has vanished. We need to buy something else to patch things up. So we continue buying and buying. Instead of working on the things that make us deficient, we rather hope we’ll have some reprieve from the things that we buy.
#2. To seek validation.
We feel we are not good enough until another person tells us we are good. People tend to tell us we look good when we are in new clothes or when we fix our hair in a different style or when our make-up is (as they usual say) on point. The validation we seek from people can only come when buy—buy a new car, own the latest personal gadget or even live in a posh area of town.
Remember, a beautiful dress isn’t equal to a beautiful life. When people say to you; “That’s a beautiful car you have right there.” I believe it’s a compliment to the designer of the car than it’s a compliment to you. Well, you chose to buy a beautiful car, that’s all it is. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a beautiful life. Life’s beauty isn’t only about owning more and more stuff. It’s about the little things that gives you unparalleled joy.
#3. Believing in what is said in advertisement.
All advertisements have only one message: “You live in hell! It’s only when you buy our products that you can walk the road of salvation to a place called paradise.” And we see these adverts a thousand times over and we begin to believe them. We begin to get scared because we don’t own what they are selling. All of a sudden we feel hollow and believe the hollowness will go away if only we get what they are selling.
Who doesn’t want to live in paradise? So we buy and buy and buy. After each buy, we realize we need more. After we buy A another sales person knocks on our doors and tells us to buy B because A was a mistake. When we open up to advertisement and believe what they tell us, we would never stop buying. Remember, these marketers are people who want our money and they’ll go a far distance until we dip into our pocket and make a purchase.
I’ve been in midst of ladies who wanted a style of a dress just because they saw famous person wear it on TV. They’ll go through magazines scavenging for new make-up style and follow superstars to know accessories they are using. All these lead us to buying what we actually don’t need or even want. The only reason we want it is because it’s the new style in town and all friends are doing it.
Truthfully, whatever solves someone’s life’s situation isn’t necessarily a solution to yours. You don’t have the problems of the celebrities so why want what solves their problem? A celebrity wears an expensive dress to an occasion just so she’ll keep her brand and make a fashion statement for her brand. But you want the same dress to wear to church or to a program you were not even invited in the same place just to show off?
#5. In future we will have need for it
“We don’t need it for today but let’s buy it, maybe tomorrow we’ll have need for it, it’s even on discount” This reason has led to many purchases of things that have taken spaces in our lives but have no use for them. The fact that things are on discount today tricks our mind to spend. After all, tomorrow it would not be on a discounted price so it’s better we buy it today.
If you didn’t need it for today, you’ll probably have no need for it tomorrow too. The future has a way of bringing its own needs. These needs are usually not solved by yesterday’s purchases.
Before you spend money on anything, pause for awhile and ask; “Is this the solution for my needs at the moment?” If the answer is clearly and specifically ‘yes’ then go ahead with the purchase. Look into your room and space and ask; “What here if I didn’t have, I wouldn’t have bothered spending a dime on it?” Anything that answers this question should be given away.
Declutter your life. Let things you have no use of go. Make space in your life. Stop buying more and more just because you can and rather buy things that fulfills a dire need.