It's All Madison Avenue's Fault

Hello. My name is Brenda, and I'm a shopaholic. 

There. I admitted it. It is out in the open for the whole world to see. Yes, I'm have a shopping habit that has raged out of control for so many years, that the clutter seems never ending. Just when I think I have gained control, I find a trail of shopping bags through the house, leading to the evidence: more clutter. 

Why do we do this? Well, our world is based on consumerism. We're constantly being assaulted by advertisements telling us that our lives do not truly exist unless we have the latest and greatest in gadgets, games, clothes, shoes, cars, homes, furniture, appliances, and so on, and so on. It is as if we cannot escape the constant barrage into our brains that keeps us thinking we must have more and more to exist. 

Well, unfortunately, it is not true. Madison Avenue just wants you to spend in order to line their pockets, and not to make you happy. They like to sell happy pills, that turn out to just be sugar pills that accumulate on our hips. And let me tell you what, it isn't pretty. 

So, after you fall for Madison Avenue's grand scheme so many times, you turn to look in your home and all you see is clutter. Clutter doesn't necessary have to be ugly, it can be that shiny object you thought you just had to own, but don't use. And probably never will. It is up to you, and only you, to determine when enough is enough. It isn't up to me, or any other self-help guru or blogger to tell you when enough. It is only you.

So, how do you ask yourself and get the right answer? It takes a lot of introspection and self-awareness. It is like with the Konmari way of decluttering, where you hold the piece in your hand and ask if it gives you joy. If not, it goes. If it does, it stays. Simple as that. But you have to really be able to be at the right point in your life to be able to do it and to stick to it. You can't decide to go minimalist and simplify your life if you are going to turn around tomorrow and start the whole process over again. You have to change who you are at your very core. 

One way to start is to limit your brain's access to advertising. It is too easy to get caught up in the feel good moment that an advertisement depicts for owning such an item. So, the only way to escape from it is to literally turn it off. If you can't live without that latest new show on television, pay the extra few bucks to have the premium Hulu subscription that does not have advertisements (I think this is approximately $11). This way you see the show, but are not having subliminal advertising enter into your thoughts.

Another way to start is to give yourself a spending grace period. This means if you see something you think you just have to have right now, go ahead, find it on Amazon and add it to your cart. Just don't purchase it for 48 hours or more, depending on your own ambition. This will give you 48 hours or more to determine whether or not that item is worth the space or not.

My favorite way is to put what you would be spending into a jar, or a special account specifically set up for that purpose. This way you can visually see what happens when you go on a spending spree, thanks, again, to Madison Avenue. You'll be surprised at how much cash bleeding you will be able to stop by doing this method. 

So, to summarize, clutter isn't just going to go away overnight. And a minimalist and simplified life isn't as easily attainable as others want you to think it is. It takes time and effort in order to reach that point. I'm right there with the rest of you. I still haven't reached that point. But I have reached that a-ha moment where I'm recognizing where my spending has outpaced my storage space. My advice to us (you and me) is that we start now to change the tide and free ourselves from Madison Avenue's death grip, and begin to live a more simplified life.