Saying NO to the Gimmes.

New Pie House Rule: All catalogs are strictly verboten.

Personally, I stopped looking at them all a year or two ago. It used to be fun to earmark pages and dream of all the things it would be nice to have. But eventually, it did nothing but stress me out. I got so TIRED of wanting. It wasn’t fun anymore.

So I quit. Cold turkey. It was easier than you’d think, considering the number of very talented people out there who make a living (and are very good at) pushing our “Buy Buttons.”

The feeling is so … liberating. To be free, truly free? To be satisfied with exactly what I have and to not want (much) more? Positively amazing.

I don’t claim to be perfect. Of course there are still small wants. But nothing big. Nothing I PINE for. Nothing that will put me in debt. Whereas before, I might have pined for new patio furniture or a leather couch, now, my wants have been downscaled to a magazine subscription, or a few books, or getting my hair colored. Because, seriously, if I don’t NEED it, I’m over it. I’m sick of it. For the most part, the last surviving wants are things I wish for MP.

The catalogs still arrive in impressive numbers. And, since I never crack ’em open, God only knows why I don’t just throw them out immediately. Actually, I take that back. I DO know why. I put them in the catalog pile with the intention of taking them to recycling. Somehow, I never make it there. The size of the pile is staggering.

This is where we get to the really sad part. I’ve had to impose a ban not only on myself, but now, my four-year-old. Her catalog obsession has gotten outta control. She insists on having them when she’s on the potty. She takes them to bed to read at night. And she WANTS EVERYTHING. The love of things — SO not a value I want to instill.

I guess I remember looking through the toy sections of the JC Penny’s and the Sears catalogs. And WANTING. So, maybe it’s not all that unusual. But FOUR?!? And really, some of the toys…

Hey, MP! Forget that dollhouse. How’d you like a nice INSECT bracelet?

REAL bugs! As jewelry! Preeeety.

Seriously. What’s life without one of THESE?



Filed under At Piece with Things

22 responses to “Saying NO to the Gimmes.

  1. Hey, I want a no want lifestyle too! Oops, bad start.

  2. Ewwww to those bug bracelets. Um, who in the heck came up with THAT?!?

    I’m working on wanting less and appreciating more. I have so much. A place to live that’s safe and peaceful and beautiful. Small, but beautiful. It’s enough. And good healthcare and healthcare providers I like. A wonderful, tight-knit family that loves and supports me. Good friends. Fresh, healthy food available. Safe transportation.


    And I’m learning to appreciate what I’ve got.

    You can’t always get what you want…but, well, you know the rest!

  3. I don’t want much,,,,but that bracelet looks fun !!


  4. From SEARS to SAKS… you’re right, the obsession starts early. I still remember staring at the Barbie Dreamhouse and thinking- it will never be mine. Now I look at even local mags like DC MODERN LUXURY at real houses and think … not in my lifetime. It is so depressing! I do the same thing- toss ’em out upon impact. I also admit to being a chronic virtual shopper. Going online and filling up my cart for two hours and then abruptly logging off without pushing the purchase the button. For some reason it gives me som weird unhealthy rush.

  5. Oooh, the Barbie Dreamhouse. I SO wanted that.

    Maybe you have the answer with your virtual “shopping” — you FEEL like you bought something but didn’t actually spend anything!

  6. My Son would totally want one of those. I might get him one for Christmas. Not even kidding.

    I just read through you whole last week of posts which I missed while on my (far less glamorous) vacation on the beaches of New Jersey, city streets of NY, and amusement parks of PA. Your photos of Hawaii are gorgeous, and they make me long to go back right. this. minute. I’m so glad you had such a good time, and the anxieties of pre-trip largely melted away in the good time.

    Aren’t sea turtles the most amazing thing to swim with? We had a fantastic time watching them.

  7. The sea turtles WERE amazing. Such gentle creatures. Can’t wait to read about YOUR trip!

  8. I’m so with you on the catalog thing. Pottery Barn catalogs needed to be burned just to remove their unnatural influence over my life.

    And while Toots isn’t into the catalogs just yet, she wants every On Seen on TV product advertised on Noggin. Right now, she’s pining over this:
    (totally serious).

    I’m worried I’m raising one of those old ladies who sit in front of the Home Shopping Network past midnight, petting their 300 cats, and picking up the phone to order Joan Collins jewelry.

    Pray for us.

  9. Doog, I WANT one of those.

    That Toots wants it – hilarious. MP’s totally into the whole TV commercial thing too. We were in Walmart the other day and she saw a box with a T-Ball set, and in her best radio announcer voice, immediately launched into, “Better Batter BASEbaaallll!”

    Sure enough, that’s what it was called. I’d never even seen the commercial. I was horrified.

    But THAT was a toy. Toots wants real cookware. You’re in my prayers.

  10. See, now, we prefer our bugs all shellacked and encased, so those bracelets would be great for my bug-loving-but-phobic-of-the-buzzing/stinging/biting-kind-and-how-do-you-tell-the-difference kids.
    And I applaud your no-catalog policy. I had to wean myself off of a few catalogs when I realized I was walking around discontented because my house/body/backyard didn’t look like anything I saw. I still get catalogs (a lot) but I don’t COVET anymore, and it has really made a difference.

  11. I loooove the Pottery Barn catalogues. The other one that I dig is Lillian Vernon. Oh sweet mother of pearl I covet everything in those books.

    I can’t tell you how much “personalized” crap I’ve purchased for my kids from the Vernon catalogue. Gee, I don’t know why I’m broke.

    Lucky for me, the only catalogue that comes to my home now is, Touch of Class. How ’bout, “Touch of No Class”? I pretty much want nothing in that catalogue and have no idea why it comes to my home. Great money saver.

  12. Pottery Barn was my downfall. And Lillian Vernon?? I’m SO with you on the personalized crap, Sister. I’m a sucka for it.

    Touch of Class — I get that crappy catalog too.

  13. my 4yr old son enjoys looking at catalogs, but has yet to start pining away for stuff.

    you know about my husband’s weird fascination with collecting dolls and selling them on ebay… well, this “pasttime” means that he also has tons of doll/action figure cataologs/reference guides.

    …my son will sit down in a chair for long periods of time looking at the pictures of superman, spiderman, captain america, catwoman, etc. a great thing when there are dishes to do, bottles to wash and blogs to read. heh.

  14. Omagah. You guys must seriously have THE BONANZA of randomly weird catalogs.

    And keeping your kid occupied? I gotta admit, that’s why MP reads the stupid things in the first place — totally my fault.

  15. We actually have Better Batter Baseball. My husband dreams that one day he will coach a little league team in which his daughters will be be the only two girls. They love BBB.

    What I hate is when my two-year-old runs around the house yealling, “It’s my money and I need it now!” Those commercials are on way too much.

    Anyhoo, I love the idea of living a catalogue free existence. Sounds so freeing. We get PB, PB Kids and PB Teen (my fave). And about 100 other catalogues a month. At Christmas last year we actually had a kerfuffle with the post office when they started holding our mail because we were getting so many catalogues that they couldn’t fit them all in the box.

    It’s just way too much. And I hate that pressure of want want want, need need need.

    You are very wise, grasshoppah.

  16. Erin

    Coupla things:

    1. I use catalogs to shop for Christmas. I get great ideas from catalogs for everyone on my shopping list. Here’s the catch: when you find something for someone, rip out just the page it’s on and recycle the rest of the catalog. I have a drawer in the coffee table right between me and the T.V. (that’s usually where I am) to put them in. Then, when a birthday or other celebration comes up, I just dig in the pile of pages. Even better is when I circle what I liked and write down the recipient next to it.

    2. You can call the catalogs and cancel your “subscription.” They have to honor your request. If you do a couple of these a day, eventually, you’ll have none left.

    But that’s when you realize you really do need that “Touch of Class” catalog to buy your aunt a new tissue box cozy.

  17. Hi, I’m BHE and I’m addicted to catalog shopping. On the flip side, I feel like stabbing my eyes out whenever I have to go to the mall. Am I in the right therapy class?

    I SO would have worn the bug bracelets when I was young. Heck, I might even consider it now with just the right amount of wine in my system!

  18. My mom used to get so many catalogs that it drove her crazy. One day the mail lady suggested that Mom black out her address label and give the catalogs back to her, the mail lady. She then put them into the mail boxes of several senior citizens on her route who enjoyed them.

    Probably not legal, but darned neighborly, and better than recycling because someone actually enjoyed them.

  19. My 12 yr.old daughter’s comment . . . “EEEEWWWW” Pause a beat. “I WANT ONE!”

  20. This is a great idea. I tend to rip out pages of things I want and pile those up.

    If nothing else, I get a good laugh around the holidays when the really freaky catalogs start arriving. Last year’s favorite was “Gifts from Monticello.”

  21. Catalogs are dangerous. I swear they reproduce at an alarming rate, like cockroaches (though, to be fair, catalogs are usually prettier – the above might be the exception).

    If you don’t want them anymore, call the numbers at the back of the catalog and have them take you off the list. I’ve done that with most of mine and subscribed to their e-newsletter instead.

    Of course I still get an impressive amounts of magazines every month, because we have something like 7 subscriptions *shrinks in shame*

  22. I love catalogs! I rarely buy from them. But I love the feeling that at any second I could pick up that phone and do it…if I wanted to.

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