Do you suffer from Affluenza?

As I look around my home today I know I want to make a few changes to streamline a few areas of my home.  While I don’t want my home to lose the feeling of comfort I don’t like clutter.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want my place to look like the home of a monk just a little more pulled together.

Take for instance this plant pot.

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I loved the pot when I found it and have had it since 2002.  The aloe plant in it has suffered for 3 years after my grandson in wanting to touch the plant knocked it on the floor.  I hate to look at it, it gives the feeling of neglect to my home. It finally gave me a new sprout which I have repotted, so it’s time to bid farewell to this poor plant.

Looking in my one drawer in the kitchen I realize I could use that space better.  I pared down my kitchen utensils when I moved, but I think it’s time to go through it again.  I saved utensils with the thought that I would buy a hot plate to cook on, but that hasn’t happened in a year and a half so I realize I don’t need it.

John De Graff (filmaker) coined the term Affluenza

Affluenze is an illness that comes from having too much of what is not fulfilling and not enough of what is.

I had suffered from Affluenze for years. I  had too many things needing my attention to keep dusted, cleaned and maintained.  They stole time and money from me with my permission, without giving me the pleasure I thought they should.   I have learned this past year that I don’t need even those things I held on to a year ago,  believing I couldn’t live with out them.

One item I let go of this year was my car.  Living in town everything is within 2.5 miles of my home, most being less than half a mile, why should I  hold on to a car that costs me so much.  I have found ways to make this work, first I gifted the car to my son and  his wife.   With his work schedule and the children getting older they really needed a second vehicle.  My son also owns a SUV to get to work, this was needed after finding his car wouldn’t handle well on roads not yet plowed on his drive home, but he is thrilled to have the little car which saves on gas during the nice weather.

Giving up the car was a strange feeling. I didn’t want or  need it, but it was one of those things that was just a part of my life.  Everyone around me has at least one car.  I decided to swim against the tide, someone has to.  I am looking forward to trying out public transit when I need to head into the city for something.

What do you need more of (and less of) this year?

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34 thoughts on “Do you suffer from Affluenza?

  1. Enjoying your new vision for your blog!I have used the book your money or your life as a guide since the mid 70′s.
    I haven’t heard of the top documentary films site or Affluenza. I bookmarked the site and watch the video,
    I wish everyone could view it.Thank you so much for sharing both of these.
    I find simplifying my life is an ongoing journey.I began in my30′s and am now in my 60′s. I always find
    inspiration in all that I experience,read,or find in sharing with others.

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    • Glad I was able to help you find a free way to watch documentaries. Affluenza, I enjoyed a great deal. I too read Your Money or Your Life, but realized I was a little late to the game when the interest rates began falling, that part of the book isn’t worth much to start investing like that now.

      The book I found as I was getting rid of my stuff and wondering what I wanted next was Get Satisfied. There were so many personal stories in it about finding the life that worked for each person, but as I was seeing my apartment emptied of stuff the one that rang home was about the woman who gave up everything to live in a small home without her car or the fancy belongings. She mentioned she was down to 2 keys, one for where she volunteered and one for her front door. It was exactly what I knew in my heart I wanted, I just had to find my place.

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  2. Congratulations on releasing your car. I am sure it will make a huge difference to your finances too. There is something about the new year that gives me the de-cluttering but too. Generally I keep on top of clutter, but you can always find some when you clean out a cupboard. Today I’m checking out the bookshelf. I intend to be ruthless.

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    • I no longer have a book shelf, it was one of the first things I got rid of, and the only thing I actually sold, when I started purging my last apartment. I gave the car up this summer and love the freedom I have from it. I never thought I would enjoy not having a car!

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  3. I love the new look! I also really liked your idea that some things may give us a feeling of neglect. I think that is true of some family items that I have inherited. I’ve been putting off getting rid of them, but they are worn, and serve no purpose other than mementos. Far better for me to release them and enjoy the open space. Thanks for the kick in the pants!

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    • Hope I didn’t kick too hard:-) I too went through the problem of what to do with items inherited. It was hard, but first I offered the pieces I didn’t use to family members to keep it in the family, then friends. Finally, I had a few left which were donated. A few things over the years I had changed to update them, but they still weren’t me. Good luck letting go of the pieces that aren’t satisfying you.

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  4. Love your blog,you talk so much sense. Today was the last day of the holidays and since my eldest was recovering from a chest infection i decided to clear my bedroom,living room and put the Christmas decorations in the attic. After getting all that done my body feels tired but my head feels really happy :)

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    • I’m sorry your eldest is sick! I’m sure after all that your place feels like new life has been breathed into those rooms, but I bet you are tired after that much work. There is something about January, after all the gifts that were hiding around for Christmas are finally gone it is the time I get that decluttering bug and want to reclaim my space…more a after effect of Christmas for me than the dawning of the new year.

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      • Yeah.christmas decorations are nice when they’re up but on taking them down the place just feels cleaner. I’ve got so much craft stuff I need to find a permanent home for.

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        • I don’t have too many craft items, when I moved here I picked up a storage ottoman for extra seating and thought about keeping the little ones toys in it, instead that has become where I store my craft supplies, with the exception of paint which is stored under my sink.

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  5. You’ve caught the decluttering bug I see! I have it constantly recently, and with the New Year I decided to keep a list of everything I have decluttered in 2013. Day 2 and already 45 items down! And this is when I thought I had nothing else to get rid of. If you don’t mind, I will come along for the journey with you :)

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    • I welcome your company. Yes I am decluttering, I really thought when I moved here that I wouldn’t need to do this again as I had gotten rid of so much. When I moved to my last place I needed a 14 foot truck, and filled it to the roof, not a square inch to stuff any thing else in it. When I moved here I used the trunk of my car (a small Mitshubishi) for two trips, the back of my sisters car for one more and then a friend brought over my bed and table in his truck. It was such an easy move compared to all the others in my life.

      My count today isn’t as impressive as yours, this is day one but I’m down 10 items just from my kitchen drawer although one is a group of 24 plastic kebob sticks that I just didn’t know what to do with because they couldn’t be recycled.

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  6. The new-look blog is lovely – pretty yet with a clean, fresh feel to it.
    Affluenza is an affliction which dogs many of us to some degree. Best wishes with your revamping the apartment. I think doing a little bit gradually is definitely the way to go.
    Congratulations on going car-free. That is not something I could achieve where I live but it makes great sense. My younger daughter has lived car-free (no licence) in 3 cities in 2 countries, since moving out of 8 years ago. I am sure it would be somewhat easier if you had never got used to the idea of just jumping in the car at whim.

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    • I’m impressed by your daughter. Here it’s like a rite of passage to get your driver’s license as soon as legally permitted. Neither of my daughters-in-law had ever wanted to drive and I couldn’t imagine that. Of course with babies they did learn to drive for doctor appointments and the like.

      I think Affluenza became a problem when so many of us tried to follow the Jones’ feeling the need to keep up with everyone else. Marketing is so influential and pervasive in our lives today as well with 24/7 television and the like.

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    • Great documentary wasn’t it? Since giving up my television I find that when I have a need to zone out and watch something I tend to want to watch something that makes me think. Have you found Top Documentary Films? It’s filled with hundreds of documentaries, and it’s free.

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  7. I’m also loving the new look ;) I would like to get rid of some well-worn items of clothing and just replace the old reliables. Actually that goes for clearing out and replacing some objects too, under the category of as you say those that “give a feeling of neglect” to my home. I also would like to clear out some items that I’ve been storing for friends in my basement this year!

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    • One thing about moving to a small apartment, people have quit asking me to hold things for them. Good luck getting rid of the things that aren’t yours this year. My children were famous for asking me to hold this or that for them, but no more!

      One of my projects this year is to replace the sheers on my front window. They have tab tops and always look messy. I’m constantly trying to reposition the tabs to be evenly spaced. When they aren’t they feel like one of those neglected things, at least to me.

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  8. Good post. I was just saying I’m tired of my plants. I only have 5 and they’re fine on the porch during nice weather but in the cold months they have to come inside. They drop leaves and are a pain.

    I really like your studio apartment (just saw the pictures).

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    • Hi Sky! I know what you mean about plants that have to be brought indoors during the winter. I have finally given up on plants that must be brought indoors. What I have outdoors by my front door are annuals, I pick up a couple cheap packets of seeds usually 3 for $1. and enjoy them while they last.

      Glad you enjoyed the pictures. It is funny to try and take pictures of one room. I see so many wonderful rooms pictured online and off, and think my pictures probably seem very strange to people who are used to much larger spaces.

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  9. 1. I did not recognize your blog — I LOVE the new look. It’s very streamlined and pretty. Love it.
    2. I love this post and the description of affluenza!
    3. I don’t know what I need to pare down yet, but I have an ever-increasing need to purge. This post is a great motivator, thank you!

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    • Thank you Caitlin. I was a little worried about making such a big change to the look of the blog, but I felt it needed to be done. Yesterday, New Year’s, I did nothing sort of. I read, worked on some cross stitch, and did a little tidying up after having the little ones. Today I’m on a rampage around the home moving things around, streamlining some areas.

      I wish I could take credit for the definition of Affluenza, but I can’t. It is a great word and definition isn’t it? Since, I’m busy purging I welcome your company it would make it more fun to do it with someone.

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        • I just did the reverse 100 things challenge last month, but I don’t think I did it well enough. December isn’t a great month for me to purge and declutter because of Christmas. I have gifts waiting to be given, and decorations I pull out (of course you saw how little I decorate). January is when I get the bug. Have fun in your closet:-)

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