Image courtesy of Mohamed Hassan and Pixabay.

My recent move convinced me of two things: 

  1. Next time I move, pack well ahead of time and hire a moving company. It’ll save my back.
  2. I have too much stuff.

I guess #2 makes me a real American, doesn’t it?

Most days in January, I have left work and stopped off to do a bit of shopping. Either I needed something for dinner, or some bit of furniture or fixtures for the new apartment. By the time I got home, I was either too tired to eat, or too tired after eating to get anything else done. As a result, I have a lot of writing projects that have gone unattended. (That, and I have boxes of notes and manuscripts that I still need to get through.)

So I’ve decided‒no shopping in February.

This is a direct response to the constant urge we experience in the United States (and sure, in other western countries, but this is the one I’m most familiar with and the one I’m living in now) to constantly spend. Emo ergo sum. I have a few retailer apps on my phone and if I let them I would get dozens of notifications a day about buying this now that it’s on sale or buying that before they run out. We are surrounded by advertisements—on the sides of buses, on the YouTube videos we watch, on every single website we visit. We are constantly told that in order to be a real person, we must constantly spend money. If you’re not buying something, you’re less than a real person.

No thanks. I have other ways to form my identity.

I’ll pay the bills and put gas in the car, but other than a few perishable groceries (milk, bread, lettuce) and eat out of the freezer and pantry. I know there are some things I’ll probably run out of, but I’ll find a way to make do. I’ll post again at the end of the month with the results.

If you’ve done something similar, feel free to drop a comment below to let us know how it went for you.

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