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Chapter 8. Lightening Your Load > Where Your Attachment to Stuff Comes From - Pg. 78

Lightening Your Load 78 Guilt So you paid $300 for that fancy kitchen mixer, but the closest you've come to baking a cake from scratch is defrosting one of Sara Lee's finest. Even so, you can't bring yourself to give it away despite the fact that you curse it every time you see how much counter space it takes up in your kitchen. Or maybe it's tools, clothes, exercise equipment, or something else you paid an arm and a leg for but haven't gotten more than a week's use out of. You feel guilty for spending money on things you aren't using, so you keep them around to trick yourself into believing that they were worthwhile purchases. It's not just the big-ticket items that cause the guilt, either. Maybe you tend to make impulse pur- chases while waiting in the check-out line of stores. If you threw out all the useless little trinkets and gadgets you've accumulated that way, you'd be admitting that they were foolish purchases. Action Tactic If you tend to hoard stuff and have limited space, then follow this rule: Every time you bring something new into your home (anything from a magazine, to an item of clothing, a piece of furniture, or whatever), discard or give away something comparable that's already there. Guilt also plays a role when you've received gifts that you don't like or need. It seems ungrateful to get rid of something that was a gift, so you keep it out of guilt. Finally, you might be keeping things because you feel guilty about having what others don't have. Maybe you're unwilling to throw out that can of fruit cocktail that's been sitting in your cupboard for eight years because you feel bad for the starving kids in some country halfway around the world. Never mind that you and no one you know likes canned fruit cocktail and you don't know how you ended up with it in the first place. Solution:Stop buying things you don't need. If you have a problem with impulse buying, make yourself put more thought into each purchase. If your shopping in general is out of control, admit it and seek professional help. Also, tell people who regularly give you or your family gifts to stop doing so. Realize that letting a gift sit around un-used and unappreciated is just as bad as giving it away or throwing it out, so you may as well get rid of it. If you're worried about people less fortunate than you, then pack up your food, clothes, or whatever and send it to them, or drop your donation off at a local soup kitchen or shelter. Quicksand! Auctions on the Internet and the popular Antiques Roadshow television program have made more people than ever aware of the money-making potential of antiques and collectibles. Don't let this turn you into a packrat just because you think your junk might be a treasure some day. Save only what has at least a remote chance of becoming valuable.