I kept the 10% off coupon in my wallet until the day it expired. I received the coupon after selling off my first batch of clutter – some books I never read on topics that only half-interested me I purchased significantly discounted from some local closing bookstore – and had intended to stop by that favorite store to buy more things at 10% off. Discarding the coupon from its prominent spot was sublimely cathartic. “That coupon was top-of-mind awareness.”
Why do we let sales influence our purchasing behaviors?
I wrote this essay the day after Black Friday. There is currently nothing I own that I am in desperate need of upgrading and there is no new toy I am even remotely passionate about owning. Sure, I could use some better computers. My gaming rig can barely even run FEZ anymore and I could write quicker on beefier laptops.
How about cheaper items? A discounted CD, book, or action figure?
The one time I did stop by my favorite store, the 10% off coupon was already mentally discarded, and nothing caught my eye. Until recently, I didn’t have a discerning eye toward clutter, so I would buy something that would even casually catch my interest, maybe play around with it for a few minutes or hours, then move on.
Every item whose purpose doesn’t enrich my lifestyle should go.
Every item of clutter I’ve thrown away, recycled, donated, or sold conceptually represented an attempt at trying something new. As my interests narrowed into a comfortable groove of writing, I became less interested in attempting to start other projects other things, so rather than hang onto them, it’s important to let them go.
This realization led to a sharp decline in purchasing superfluous items.
If I’m selling off boxes of books I’ll never read, why should I buy another book at a slight discount? Is that a book I need to read or just one I’d like to own? Why am I so attached to this concept of ownership of goods? Why not rent or borrow it? What’s the appeal of having a shelf-full of things? To appear to be well… owned?
I have not consumed most of the items in my collections.
I confess publically that I have not watched a majority of my movie collection or read a majority of my books. My videogame backlog will never be completed. I still own at least 196 CDs I haven’t heard. I think the real reason for this is that I’ve chased after the appearance of having watched/read rather than watching/reading.
I’d rather play EarthBound than half of all videogames.
I listen to the same bands on a monthly rotation. I might listen to more, but compared to years ago, I’ve been much less exploratory, and I don’t think it’s a reduction in the quality of my life. Quite the opposite. I’m not chasing after the 10% off deals anymore. I’m chasing after the 10% that will make me the happiest.
Everyone else can go after those future clutter items.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: The title just popped up as I was finishing writing “Moves Until Moved.” Maybe thinking about that coupon had some regret attached to it? I mean, Half-Priced Books is my favorite store and I’ve bought many things from them, but at the same time, how much of it was stuff that has significantly enriched my life? That I bought randomly for 10% off? That I couldn’t have bought later or elsewhere?|
|Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.|
|Picture: A quick simulacrum of the coupon.|
|Written On: November 24th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|