Buy and Hide: My Weird Little Habit

I know that on a spectrum, my weirdness sometimes falls past the bell curve. But I have spoken to several people who relate, even minimally, to this. One weird thing I do is I will buy something I really really like, only to never use it because the occasion is not “special enough” to warrant it.

Does that ever happen to you?

This can be clothes, but it can be other things too.  For example, there was a candle my mom got me a few years ago. We were at Marshalls and I told her I didn’t want to spend $8 on a candle. In a typical Nena move (that is what I called her) she bought me the Jasmine Neroli, my favorite scent. I brought the candle home as something special, and then I tucked it in my pantry for that ‘just right’ occasion. Maybe when my parents come for dinner, or thanksgiving, or whatever. It would be perfect. And then I forgot I had it. Guess what I found cleaning the pantry this weekend?

Yep. You got it. The freakin’ candle. It had been in the pantry for at least two years waiting for the ‘just right’ moment to come to life. My mom and dad have since passed away, and I never shared the candle with her or anyone for that matter. I guess the special occasion had never come.

Now some of you may relate so far. Here is where my weirdness takes me to a different level.

This is my pantry, as you can see it has a few candles. The two half used ones I don’t love. But I got them, and so I must finish them.

The one in the box is also lovely and special. And it’s still in the box. But the one I was referring to is waaaay in the back.

That one.

This is not about price, the boxed candle is probably more expensive; it’s about the smell is my favorite.  Okay, stay with me while I go on an interlude here.

We are moving to Taos, New Mexico for one year this summer. My husband Joe and I decided we will only take with us what fits into our cars. Nothing else. Granted, I am a darn good packer and over the years of long road trips I use every inch of trunk space available.

#PackLikeABoss #StillPlentyOfSpace

What does not fit in our car will have one of two fates: it will either go to storage or to the donation pile. Storage costs money, and in our plan to reduce costs we will only store things we KNOW we will use in the future: furniture, cookware, pictures, etc. Candles, don’t fit in that category. Nor do soap scrubs, bath bombs, stationary, and the like. All things that I love, buy, and never use. All things that would occupy space I don’t have either in my car or in the storage.

To my little ‘buy and hide’ vice, add this. Since my parents just passed away my sisters and I had to clean up their home. There was SO MUCH stuff. I mean, SO MUCH. Stuff I am sure my mom forgot she even owned (hmmm…I wonder where my hoarding tendencies come from?) Every once in a while, my sister would say “you thought we were done with the flashlights, (or envelopes, plates, cups, notepads, whatever.)” Just to be followed by: “but wait, there is more” in her best infomercial voice.

Do you think there can be more of these porcelain chachkas?

But wait, there’s more.

We held two estate sales, a two day garage sale, we had a truck full of donations and 1-800-GOT-JUNK took the trash. Still, we had stuff that we don’t what to do with: a stamp collection we didn’t feel we could donate, a coin collection that might be worth something to someone, a beanie baby collection that no hospital would take. Paintings, silver trays, cutlery, little porcelain pill boxes. After a few weeks of sorting, my sisters and I just said “let’s stick this in a closet and deal with it later.” And in a closet it is … in my house. And do you know where all that stuff is going? To storage. Where it will sit for god knows how many more years.

I feel like there is just too much of everything and I don’t fit in the spaces I want. I am selling everything or donating everything we don’t use when we come back. And for the little things I love and have been waiting for a special occasion to bring them out …. I am USING them. What a concept.

I took the candle from the back of the pantry shelf, and lighted it on my desk as I worked. I also used a body scrub that had been tucked away in my bathroom, and it was delightful. I had an epiphany.

Deep breath.

Life is made up of all the days between special occasions. Well, actually today is the special occasion. Not tomorrow. Things are meant to be used. Not stored. Presents are given to be enjoyed, not saved. And if you don’t have a use for something, give it to someone who does. Or better yet, don’t buy it in the first place.

It’s such a simple thing, but the effect on me has been more significant than I anticipated. I began to notice all the things I had which I liked so much I hid from myself. Clothing, make-up, even notecards. Why I did this is a whole different ball of wax … I am not interested in diving into psychotherapy to figure out. I recognize the opportunity I have to do things differently right now.

I no longer want to wait around for the “just right” moment. The moment is now. The candle will bring me joy today. Another day it might be a different candle. I don’t have to keep, I am not fond of collecting, I can create space for new things and new experiences. A house full of things waiting to be used is no guarantee those opportunities will come.

So cheers to these next two months of finding my hidden jewels and actually allowing myself to enjoy them. And cheers to a future where the money I spend will be on things I need and will use when I buy them. I have enough of everything else.

To all those who collect and love the act of purchasing things or get great steals at garage sales, I mean no disrespect. We are different. I want just enough to be able to enjoy and live today with what I have.

All right, your turn. What’s your little vice? Do you “buy and hide” like me?

Want to know more about our Taos Adventure? Click here!








4 thoughts on “Buy and Hide: My Weird Little Habit

  1. I don’t do this anymore actually. I actually drive people close to me crazy with pressure the other way. I feel like there is no guarantee for tomorrow so we need to do everything RIGHT NOW!

    My mom actually was a believer of use your china whenever you want. That stuck with me and I never even registered for fine China because it just didn’t matter to me. It drives me nuts to have things that I don’t use.

  2. So much respect to try and get everything in one vehicle. I have been in the same house for 29 years, and I can’t even imagine the thought of being able to do what you have done. I am looking at 5 years down the road to retire and downsize and am slowly giving away stuff that is used occasionally and sometimes we don’t use Well done. 🙂

    1. I have never been in a house more than 5 years. But I think I see a business opportunity here! My in laws have been in the same house for over 30 years and I volunteered to go help them cleanse 🙂

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