Monday, August 13, 2012

Getting Rid of "The Gimmees"

You know all about "the gimmees" don't you?  Sure you do!  Usually we associate this phenomenon with a toddler who sees a toy or a treat and exclaims, "Gimme!"  Unfortunately, while social convention dictates that we outgrow our inclination to shout "Gimme!" whenever we see something we want, most of us continue to suffer from a severe case of the gimmees throughout our life.

Shopping is the national pass-time in America.  It starts in our youth where we are told that we must have the latest toy or fast-food kid's meal to be happy.  According to A.C. Nielson, the average child sees 20,000 30-second TV commercials in a year.  As we get older, we start to hang out at the mall with our friends. We buy magazines designed to convince us that the stuff we have is not good enough and tell us that we need the newest, latest fashions or gadgets to be complete.  We grow up and get a place of our own which we feel we must fill with stuff.  And then we get a bigger place so we can have even more stuff.  So it goes, always obtaining and never satisfied.  And that is the saddest part of all:  we are never satisfied, never content.  It's not ever enough.  The thing we bought last week to bring us happiness often ends up stuffed in a closet, a drawer, or the garage by next week as we move on to the thrill of pursuing and obtaining the next big thing.  We end up with kitchens full of gadgets we hardly ever use, closets full of clothes we never wear,  attics stuffed to capacity with things we don't use, and enough hobby supplies to open our own craft store! And even while we are being slowly suffocated by our stuff, we still have the gimmees.  We pore over catalogs that come in the mail.  We shop on line with gusto.  We wish for shinier cars and bigger houses.

So, how do we change this?  How do we change ourselves?  Well, the first step is seeing the problem for what it is.  A person can organize and declutter all they want, but until the reset button is hit and we truly get cured of the gimmees, decluttering will only be a temporary solution. It is necessary to realize that the practice of constantly seeking and wanting more things is toxic and does not really bring happiness.  It is relatively easy to acknowledge this truth intellectually, but changing our heart and our habits is much harder!

One way to overcome the gimmees is to assess what you already own.  I started with my wardrobe, culling all the clothes I never wore or didn't like.  Then I began going through the attic, drawers, cupboards and closets, pulling out things we didn't use or need and setting it free.  With each bag or box of stuff that went out of my house, I began to feel lighter and freer.  Somewhere, during all this process, my heart began to change.  I began to see things as just that -- THINGS, inanimate objects.  I'd ask myself, "Do I use this?  Do I love this?  Does it bring me joy?"  It was amazing how many things were not in any of those categories!  So why was I keeping it?  As it became easier to let go of so much stuff, the desire to obtain more stuff began to decrease.  Let me repeat that, because I think it's very important:  As it became easier to let go of so much stuff, the desire to obtain more stuff began to decrease.  I am beginning to enjoy the space I have created.  My home is starting to feel more peaceful.  I am getting closer and closer to owning what I love and loving what I own.  Now I laugh at advertisements and billboards. I avoid the mall like the plague. Catalogs go straight into the recycling.  I do not shop the internet for household items or crafting supplies.  I want to enjoy what I already have.  I am happy to say I believe my case of the gimmees is currently in remission and I hope to keep it that way!

1 comment:

*Michelle* said...

I think I have developed PTSD from reading the Bearenstain Bears book of the same name about 400,00 times in my life!!!

Completely agree with what you've written here. Sherrill & I are trying to do much the same this year. Must be something in the water!

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