Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Between Christmas and Easter

What is it about approaching holidays that makes me want to houseclean? Maybe it’s the probability of company, although I’ve never had company inspect my cupboards and drawers. Regardless, when this spirit moves me to clean, I obey because that is the only time I will get into those hidden places and look at what I have. Without fail I discover packaged food that has expired, congealed and dried up cleaning products, out of style clothes, books I bought because I had a fleeting interest in the subject, and the list goes on. What disturbs me, though, is that I bought much of this stuff in ‘anticipation’ of need, which approaches hoarding. When I see a familiar article in the shop that hasn’t been available for a long time, I pause, I consider, and if the temptation is great, I buy it. Not because I need it, but because I need to have it - ‘just in case.’ In case of what?

I always took for granted that the products I want will be available, but within months of living in Jordan, I learned that ships unloaded every few weeks/months and supplies were limited. That’s the time I began to stock up when I could afford it. I know that frequent instability and wars in the region increased my nearly panicky need to hoard. Now I find that my need to buy is made worse by marketing skills so efficient even the most reluctant shopper is lured. I dislike being wasteful where there is so much need, so I will fill a box or two with salvageable items during these cleaning frenzies knowing someone will be able to use them. This soothes my conscience somewhat. Now I resolve that between Christmas and Easter I will consciously control my urge to stock up and hope that I will get over this habit. I have also discovered that writing blogs this week has allowed me to ignore the cleaning spirit- maybe it will go away and leave me alone until Easter.



Blogger Cathy Boyd said...

I, too, am discovering this urge to clean - that I definitely can't ignore because I can't tell you the last time it happened! I am ashamed of myself to find all the things I have purchased over a fairly short time (having only moved here a little over a year ago) in anticipation of needing it. I don't have the excuse of war or unpredictable shipments to explain this behavior.

When I stop to analyze my day to day life - what I really do with my time and what I enjoy doing - I could reduce my life to 3 rooms: my office, my bedroom and the kitchen (actually 4 - the bathroom). The collection of cookware, clothing, office supplies and makeup are enough for...either a long time or a lot of people.

What makes us do that? I don't think it's inherited. That feeling that you just have to have something. What would happen if we just walked away from that feeling? I'd like to overcome it..

I have many trips to the garbage for outdated toiletries that may have been used once and to the Good Will for clothes I'll never wear.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006  

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