Moving forward – when no means no – Clutter ye shall not pass!

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I have to put down my purse and step away from the funky store with the groovy dresses!


This short journey has made a difference.  Journey is a term often abused by reality tv – “well, Oprah, my journey started when I turned on my husband’s computer and noticed…” or the Biggest Loser – “well AJ my journey started the day some young boys threw stones at me at the beach and called me a fat cow!” 

These items are not necessary to break the pattern of acquiring clutter


But in a serious vein I have realized that all too often we become consumed with acquiring possessions and with the energy that is required to maintain the possessions we already own.  A sofa I left behind in NZ became a burden for my friends who passed it from garage to garage until I decided I was staying in Oz and so they gave it to the Methodist Mission.  In the distant past a friend of mine burnt down her bedroom by leaving a candle burning in the window (next to a draft and curtains)– she and her flatmates went out for a bonding meal and came home to fire engines.  They lost the tenancy and she lost everything.  But she wrote to me saying the only thing she felt bad about was the water damage to personal possessions her friends had suffered (eg photo albums).  She realized all she really needed was a mattress on the floor and a few items of clothing.

These boots were made for moving forward!!

Certain recent events have impressed upon me the importance of friendships and relationships – “stuff“ is like thigh fat, chainstore pizza and saturated fats – often prevalent but totally unnecessary and actually harmful if you start thinking in detail about it.

I think that these guys in San Francision have found the answer – on a website called the Mother Nature Network is the story of a woman who wrote on her year without spending –  only buying food and necessities – to which the participant  has noted:

“It’s interesting that not buying things has made me focus more on what I DO have. And as I get rid of the crap, it’s like lifting a curtain or coming out of a fog. I’m really starting to see how STUFF has kept me busy and distracted, and disconnected from the things that really matter.”

A cautionary op shop tshirt

For myself it is a brave new world.  How much money and time will I save by stopping shopping altogether?  As I step out and into the threshold of a new life all I can say is “watch this space”.  For as Napoleon wrote:  ”A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.”


Redfern Scarey house

Is a year without spending really going to be that scarey?!!


The Cat Protection Society Op Shop

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2010 at 7:14 am

“Hi. My name is Tinkerbell and I am four years old. I was very sad and scared when my dear person suddenly passed away earlier this year. Because I am deaf I didn’t know my crying was so loud but I did figure out that people were concerned for me……”
You would have to have a heart of stone not to feel pangs for Tinkerbell – if you are a cat lover you are probably hysterically sobbing by now. The Cat Protection Op Shop, on 105 Enmore Road, Enmore is on a mission – to save lives! Jesus and Che Guevara would be proud. I ask for permission to take photos and the kindly woman at the counter has no objection.

For those seeking a discerning beanie

If items of clothing and bric a brac made sounds this place would be a cacophony. A jungle of colours and a jumble of items greet the visitor. Ties for $5 a bundle. A pile of spoons that could serve an army.

These spoons were born from many mouths.....


A local man comes in carrying two large black plastic rubbish bags full of donations. After he leaves there is heated discussion as to whether some of the items he has donated are Royal Doulton.

You don't have to be a dummy to like what is on this dummy!

I am starting to consider a future blog on altruism. The critics of Gandhi say he neglected his family, and due to his strong support of vegetarianism wouldn’t allow his seriously ill son to drink a bowl of chicken broth, as doctors tending to the son fervently recommended. Critics of Mother Teresa lambast her point of view that suffering was an intrinsic part of the cycle of life. Not all saints are saints – but what about the people who give up hours for causes they believe in such as the local cat lovers who founded the Cat Protection Society? Is there some brain chemistry that differentiates these people from the money hungry who consider Gordon Gecko an inspiration?

Anyone who willingly gives up a weekend afternoon to be surrounded by dusty items of bric a brac is right up there with Mary McKillop as far as I am concerned.

There really is something for everyone in this shop!

I am intrigued by the variety of items for sale. Find a pair of black boots but they are far too big. The search continues…. A large stuffed penguin is a sentinel over proceedings. There are some interesting items – a pile of faux framed masters paintings catch my eye

Masters Paintings

Treasure or Kitsh? The buyer will determine....

– but they fall into the domain of kitsch (however as a child I would have loved them). I spend $11 on two tops and a black sari-ish piece of material – none of these items are necessities. But the stories of Alice Brady, Sascha, Rob, Sandy and Tinkerbell resonate in my psyche. I am not adding to the piles of clothing and clutter already stashed in one of my built-ins – I am saving lives!

When clutter is pathological

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2010 at 3:44 am

Imelda Marcos's hand me downs

Any writing on shopping for clothes – op or otherwise – really needs to look at the issue of hoarding.  Why do I have a cupboard full of unresolved boxes from my move to Ashfield in July 2009? (unresolved = opened, but not decanted).  Am I certifiable? Fortunately wikipedia has the answer.  Wikipedia’s article on compulsive hoarding defines hoarding as a problem when it ‘interferes with basic activities, including cooking, cleaning, showering and sleeping.’  Fortunately my boxes of stuff can be hidden in a cupboard and do not inhibit access to the stove, tv set or shower.

I could use an extra pair of hands to sort out my clutter!

I need to curb my collation, but I am nowhere near as bad as this guy.

Does anyone else remember the scene from Sex and the City where shopaholic Carrie Bradshow realises she has blown the equivalent of a downpayment for a New York apartment on Manolo Blahniks?

Last  year the show I was working on at 2SER, Double X,  looked at over-shopping  for one of our shows and its relationship with hoarding.

(Currently I have my own show, The Thursday Daily).

Double X interviewed Randy Frost, an American Psychologist, who commented, in response to the question as to whether the addiction is to hoarding and having more material goods; or is the addiction to the process of shopping?  He responded that compulsive buying in its relationship to hoarding is much about the attachment to the object – an often very emotional attachment – but interestingly, he commented that once the object is acquired, the person still feels an intense attachment but they tend not to use it and sometimes the objects just pile up.  He added that the person can become fused with the item and if they were to lose it or get rid of it they can feel as if they are losing a piece of themselves.

....I feel connected to this somehow, I need to give it a home

On a very sobering note the interview ended with his observations that those who suffer from compulsive buying have usually gone through all their money and are usually more in debt than the average person.  However this debt still can’t stop them from buying more things – and when having a shopping ‘episode’ he commented that the person enters a different state of consciousness during which they often forget about the context of their life.

He surmised , “They forget about the fact that they’ve got 30 thousand in credit card debt, that they can’t pay off; they forget that their home is so full they don’t have any room for this – all they can think about is the thing in front of them waiting to be acquired and it is not until they acquire it and start home that their context of their life comes back – and that is what causes them to feel so badly about it.”

In the same show, I spoke to former overshopper Neradine Tisaj, wrote about her journey from significant credit card debt to now being a reformed shopper.  Nowadays Neradine hardly ever enters the shopping mall.  Before her reformation Neradine said that financial advisors told her she had to cut back her spending, but it wasn’t until she was rummaging in her wardrobe and found two identical blouses, that she realised she had no recollection of purchasing the second blouse.  She went on a shopping detox, limited to only purchasing food and transportation.  Her first few visits to a supermarket were extravagant and one night she realised she had transferred her overshopping and abandoned a full trolley in the supermarket and went home.  Her resulting book ‘How to Give Up Shopping’ outlines her journey back to finding a way of nurturing herself during stressful times that doesn’t involve spending any money.  She emphasises finding a fulfilling hobby and keeping a list of 2o things that you like doing to relax, that don’t involve spending money, in your purse next to your credit cards.  “Look at the list of 20 things you like doing that will make you feel better,” she concluded.  “Rather than buying a pair of expensive shoes that you won’t wear.”