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Yard Sales and Thrift Shopping

What makes a person hoard, or collect things?

Was it what triggered my mother's frequent visits to thrift shops and yard sales? She seemed to have a never ending compulsion to buy up trinkets, knick knacks, kitchen ware and clothing.

She had various collections over the years. I remember the rooster stage. The house was full of them. Then there was the "copper kitchen" phase. Her Hummel figurines and angels had their own shelves strategically placed throughout the house. Still, she culled and cleared once in a while. Her sense of being a dutiful housewife had not been overidden her desire to own things. Underneath it all, she was a clean freak.

If Mom had a penchant for signs of abundance, I'm sure it was due to the poverty of growing up in the post depression era. It was a time of little food, clothes made out of papa's worn shirts and going without shoes all summer to save the expense of buying new ones. She owned one doll in her whole childhood, and one little child size teapot she cherished until the day she died.

In order for me to come to the decision of becoming a minimalist, I am affording myself a look upon that which has brought me to this point as I tackle the not insurmountable task of divesting myself of "stuff". The last ten years, I have lived in one house, beginning with it empty, except for bare minimum of belongings. Now, I'm guessing, my belongings could accommodate the needs of several families.

I have diligently discarded margarine tubs, and not allowed myself to have sentimental attachment to Christmas cards and magazines. (Paper is my weakness.) I've regularly made a run through my house de-cluttering and discarded things a la Fly Lady. But, like my mother, I have a penchant for the delight of finding a treasure at a bargain price whether it be a teacup edged in gold or sturdy bedsheets.

About five years ago I gave up stopping at yard sales! It was sort of like severing my arm from my body, but I needed to lighten the burden of my "things". I wanted to let go and be free of excess. It's an addiction difficult to break.

At first it was extremely challenging to drive by without taking a wistful look. I learned to carry no cash. Who would take a check for even my most avid purchase? And it certainly helped having someone else do the driving, admonishing me, "Don't Look!"

Today, however, I stopped at the thrift shop on a whim. They take credit cards, you know. The store called out to me, I swear. "Stop! Don't pass me by!"

Or was that "buy"?