The Ambition to Shop vs. the Desire to Give Away: A Guest Post

peony leaf in fall - ambition to shop

Cheryl Magyar, who blogs at handcraftedtravellers, has written today’s guest post, The Ambition to Shop vs. the Desire to Give Away.

Battling with societal norms we are often left in a thoughtful quandary. To buy or not to buy – that is the question.

When we go to a friends’ housewarming party shall we bring a gift of wine and laughter along with our delightful company, or should we buy something more practical for the kitchen or a piece of art to put on the wall? Why do we automatically assume that we are expected to participate with joy in the cluttered act of consumption?

Our human ambition to shop and spend our hard-earned money is a strong one. From the moment we are born we are propelled into ceremonial gift giving and it is surely looked down upon to do anything but give when the occasion comes up on the calendar: birthday, anniversary, Christmas, baby, etc.

Luckily for us minimalists, and soon to be minimalists, times are changing. People are becoming aware of the amount of environmental resources it takes to fill our homes, the place where we live our lives.

We are beginning to understand that less is more, that more stuff does not make us happy by itself, that wealth cannot be measured by how much we own.

When our things no longer bring us joy we need to accept the fact that something needs to change.

After a good long look around your home you may come to the conclusion that it is too cluttered, too hard to keep clean, or maybe something more elusive is missing in your life – a deep void that no amount of belongings can fill.

That is when and where the desire to give away kicks in.

Start with the easy stuff and get rid of the most obvious clutter. Bin the broken and unrepairable things and toss out the stained clothes. Then move onto more complicated rooms and emotional belongings.

Take time to go through your home, your life, thoroughly.

Take time to listen to your heart and your intuition, see where simple quietude can take you.

When the ambition to shop is finally overtaken by the desire to give away, then you are fully on your way to a clutter-free home. From there, you can embrace as much space as you can handle – and have more time to enjoy the outdoors too.

Cheryl is a decade old minimalist currently living out of a backpack, carrying everything that she owns. A great tidy-upper, she has a keen eye for eliminating clutter, so if you need a helping hand, you can find her uncluttering services wherever you are in the world.

I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.