An Important Non-Consumer Message

by Katy on May 13, 2011 · 17 comments

I have written over a thousand blog posts through the years, and there comes a time when I need to repeat previous ideas and themes. So here goes:

Stop buying too much stuff and it would be good if you could figure out ways to bring in more money.

Whew . . .

Sorry if this Non-Consumer message was a repeat for long term readers. 😉

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Bellen May 13, 2011 at 4:31 am

I think a repeat is necessary to jog our memory and keep us on track. Seems I repeat this to my husband about every weekend when he peruses the Yard Sale ads 🙂


Danica May 13, 2011 at 5:54 am

Hear, hear!


Megg May 13, 2011 at 6:16 am

How do you deal with people who do not follow this excellent advice? Does it frustrate you? I realize this is a lifestyle choice and we should just let things go, but I still get frustrated seeing friends buy a lot of “stuff” they don’t need.


Katy May 13, 2011 at 6:23 am

I do not get frustrated with other people. I can only control my own actions. If other people wish to live their lives differently and it doesn’t negatively impact me, then it’s not my business.

After all, we need these people to pay top dollar for their stuff so it can go to Goodwill for me to buy at a later date. 😉



Ellie May 13, 2011 at 8:12 am

Okay, NOW you just need to tell me how to convince my in-laws not to buy me STUFF for Christmas and birthdays! LOL!

The way it’s SUPPOSED to work in their family is that requests for specific gifts (i.e., grown up “Christmas lists”) are honored. That would be fine with me – I have zero problem asking for theater tickets, museum memberships, gift certificates for massages and restaurants, etc. Sometimes hubby and I ask for “consumables” like wine and liquor as well. I’m no ascetic – I’m ALL ABOUT self-indulgence of the sort that doesn’t require acquiring more “things”!

Problems is, most of my in-laws are DETERMINED to buy me STUFF! (All you want are gift certificates and tickets? Isn’t there anyTHING that you want?) Sigh! No! I put “gift certificates” and “tickets” on the list cause THAT’S ALL I WANT

Guess that rant was kind of off-topic, but the “other people’s actions” set me off liek a trigger! 😉


Jackie May 13, 2011 at 7:44 am

I’m working on the first half, but right now the second half is alluding me. Can’t wait till grad school is over!


Ann May 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

Love this!!! Thanks for the reminder, Katy!


Jennifer May 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

So funny that you said this today. There were tons of garage sale ads in the paper but I decided instead of buying more stuff, maybe I should stay home (I work from home) and work. Great minds think alike!


Sara May 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Love the comment about in-laws…my MIL LOVES giving me stuff because they love having lots of gifts at Christmas, regardless of how useless or silly it is. I used the excuse of having to move again soon and cut down on the junk last Christmas, but there was still plenty (really, ANOTHER purse? lol) I started a regift box and plan to give that stuff away.

My best strategy for not buying more stuff is to think about how long it took to pack for our cross country move 8 months ago. I don’t know if it took me longer to sell unwanted stuff on Craigslist or to pack up the rest. Its a good reminder that we have way too much already!


Shelley May 14, 2011 at 3:46 am

I’ve finally reached a point where I’m finding my ‘stuff’ oppresses me. I’m tired of trying to take care of it, find a place for it, having to move it around, not being able to find things. We rarely ‘go shopping’ anymore unless there is a list of already identified needs. Before we went into the grocery yesterday we reviewed our list to make sure we had everything we needed on there, so it would be easier not to impulse-buy. When we made a trip to a mall in another town and ‘looked around’ in Ikea (a dangerous thing for us) since were there, I killed all but £5 worth of spenditure by saying “Did we come in here looking for one of those?” and by taking photos of things we might want to consider for future purchases. Felt like a small miracle only spending £5…for things we would actually use immediately.


Tracy Balzy May 18, 2011 at 6:33 am

A-men to that, Shelley! I wish this blog had a “like” button for readers’ comments!!


Bauunny May 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm

On the topic of “stuff” — we are in the process of cleaning out the home of a dear deceased relative whose husband collected and catalogued and cross-referenced an entire basement full of stuff. It makes me want to take a week off and empty out MY house. This of course was 45 years of accumulation and I am sure the organization of everything was actually a hobby of sorts. What they say is true, “if you don’t deal with your stuff, someone else will”. So now I am really motivated to “deal with my stuff” and it has also dampened my enthusiasm for Goodwill too (but I am sure that is not permanent as I like to “refresh” from time to time).


Carla May 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

My mother passed away a few years ago. Now my father wants my brother and me to take ALL the stuff they accumulated in nearly 60 years of marriage into our houses. At the same time my MIL just moved into assisted living and wants (thankfully, 5 children) to take all her stuff. I will take some of it but most of it is just… stuff.

This is an incredible burden that I wish I didn’t have to face.


Katy May 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

This is a big issue with people around the world. Is there a graceful way to decline other people’s treasures that are just Stuff to us?



A. Marie May 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Ellen Lupton, a curator at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in NYC, wrote a brilliant NY Times blog post on this topic not too long ago ( As she points out and I concur, there are no simple answers.


Elaine May 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

Great post. I’m always amazed at the value people put on their stuff just because it’s old, or because they treasure the memories so much. It’s sad for them that others don’t see this same value.

I have my mother’s china (first owned by my dad’s aunt & uncle) and Mother’s silver flatware. I’m ready to get rid of both (offering to family members first), but my sister isn’t ready to give them up yet.

I just want less.


Kimberly May 15, 2011 at 7:36 am

Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that take the most pounding to make it into our brains.


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