We live in the world of consumerism. Most of us have an over-abundance of “stuff” – clothes, appliances, sporting goods, household goods, and general bits and pieces cluttering our spaces - at home and at work.
However, several studies have shown that having a lot of goods does not necessarily make us happier.
Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a study on acquisition habits. When participants were made to feel rejected or guilty (controlled by the researchers) they resorted to acquiring more things shortly afterwards. They indicated that it made them feel better about themselves.
The researchers concluded that the more anxious people were, the more they were inclined to acquire or make purchases. Hence anxiety was a sensation that could lead to over-consumption.
De-clutter companies and individual consultants increased due to the demand by people seeking counselling and assistance to “let go” of stuff in their homes. Over the past few years, people are re-considering the need for belongings and an excess of goods. This has resulted from changing technologies (such as kindle readers that lead some people to reduce their purchases of “real” books in favour of electronic books) and a new wave of anti-consumerism.
Researchers have explored the psychology of acquisition. They found, in a series of studies, that experiences, not belongings, elicit true feelings of happiness.
The good part about de-cluttering, down-sizing, and reducing the amount of household “stuff” is that it enables us to pass the unrequired goods to relatives, friends, fetes, and charities.
Giving stuff away is providing people with a sense of “release and relief” as well as charitable feelings.
Giving stuff away has benefits for both the releaser and the receiver, so think about your ‘stuff’ – do you really NEED all of it?