Friday, October 22, 2010

You can never have too many shoes.

Except that... you can.

I came across this picture one day somewhere. I don't even remember what it was for. Did it instill me with envy? Wonderment? Awe? Nope. I was filled with disgust. This is not an image of a store; this is someone's home. In what world does anyone possibly need this? I know, I know, it's not about "need", it's about "want". Seriously? I look at this and think, THIS is actually a disorder. My judgement call? My humble opinion? No. This is gross. This is an abuse. This is a disease. It's not cute, it's not enviable, it's sick. Plain sick. And bad for everyone.

Unfortunately, it is a disease that we are encouraged to have every day from every side. TV, magazines, billboards, ads everywhere tell us THIS is what we want. We DESERVE it. An article I read some time ago mentioned that walk-in closets are a fairly American concept. Many "average" Europeans do well with fewer and higher quality clothes. I personally have a serious love affair with boots, but I do not own 50 pairs. In fact, I've been holding on to a gift card with plans to buy what would be my 3rd pair, replacing another pair that are more utility than dress. I can't seem to pull the trigger on purchasing them. Surely there is something else more practical I can buy! Even my husband says, nearly daily, "Did you order your boots yet? Why not?" (I love him!) While the message out there is to have more buy more trash more, I'm cool with keeping things simple.

Why the American obsession with having more more more bigger bigger better? Why the walk-in closets that are bigger than some apartments? My husband and I like to dream of our own home, so we go to open houses on the weekends in our favorite little town. Most every place we look at has huge closets. Sure, I love them, but they make me laugh, because I know how empty ours would be. Room for all the towels and linens, for sure. Then what would be in the linen closets? We laugh. And yet there has been, as you have noticed, such a growing abundance of storage rental facilities. Seriously??? No, I can see the need for those when you are moving and need to stash your stuff for a month. Tops. But keeping a storage unit for months and months and years?? I don't get it. First, our garages are too full for our cars because we have too much stuff, and now we overflow into storage units. Why? Safety in stuff? Longevity through belongings? We moved from a one-bedroom to a larger 2-bedroom, and actually, we got RID of stuff. I have empty cupboards. It's a nice problem; I like it. I feel no need to stuff them to overflowing.

Gross and unnecessary consumerism should not be written off as a personal choice for some few sick people. It's dangerous and it's a drain on everyone's resources. It affects you, it affects me. We need to make better choices, we need to stop being slaves to the whims of ad agencies and big corporations who say buy more more more or you're a loser, and we need to instill better values in the next generation. I get the feeling they are going to look back on us and say, "What were you thinking???"

We weren't. But we can start now.