What if I need it again?
What if it breaks?
What if this is discontinued?
What if I can't replace it?
Hoarding and anxiety go hand-in-hand. For many people, including hoarders and non-hoarders, fear keeps us from letting go of objects we don't need.
It also plays a role in how we acquire objects.
Have you ever looked at something on a store shelf and had a sudden urge to buy a few extra? I perpetually have this urge. If I see something and love it, I want to buy more than one. Just in case. Sometimes I can tell myself no, like the time when I bought a $200 ring for myself and loved it so much that I wanted to get another in case the first broke. Fortunately the $200 price tag kept me from going back to the jewelry store.
Unfortunately it's much easier for us to grab extras of smaller items and consumables. We justify these purchases with the idea that we'll use it, or it'll be a backup.
Today's object is a set of lip balms I bought back in early college. My lips used to chap quite painfully and this was the first balm that contained an anesthetic. Without even trying one out to see if it worked, I bought four. These things would solve my problem, I thought, and I wouldn't want to run out. No kidding.
Fighting the Fears
FDR said "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Admitting that we're purchasing things out of fears is hard. I purchased lip balm because I was afraid. Afraid I'd run out, afraid I wouldn't have anything to stop the pain of chapped lips, afraid I might never find the lip balm again. Seriously!? These are the things I angst about in my life?
The fears that drive hoarding habits are often irrational fears like these. Those fears can do an incredible amount of damage when we don't counter them.
Those of us with hoarding tendencies can't be told to simply "think about whether you'll use the item" before you buy it. Totally ineffective. Of course I'll use it! It may only be for a while, but sure, I use Eucerin hand cream. I use blouses. I use dental floss (okay, not always.)
Am I using my head? Probably not. I'm using my fears.
Finding the Rational Thoughts
Lately I've been asking myself two questions to curb irrational thoughts when I shop:
1. Why do I feel the need to purchase more than one of these?
2. Is some kind of fear or insecurity driving this purchase? If so, is it a rational fear?
Respond to the fears
What if I need it again? You can always buy or borrow another one. You are blessed to have the financial resources to purchase things you really need. And if you don't need it, you *can* live without it.
What if it breaks? You can always buy or borrow another one.
What if this is discontinued? You can most discontinued items on eBay. If not, you'll find something newer and better.
What if I can't replace it? You'll live. It's just stuff.
Find your freedom from these fears.
Item 65: A collection of four lip balms from my college days.
Fate:The trash can!
Cost: These were $1.50 each. I only used about half of each for a total of $3.
Total money wasted on stuff: $ 390.