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post #21 of 255
THANK YOU for posting this, OP!



I totally agree--"stuff" has too much power over our lives.

And gifts have sometimes become a substitute for spending quality time with children--relatives who ONLY see my kids at Christmas insist on their right to give them presents.
post #22 of 255
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
I agree that it is complicated. I did not mean to suggest that if we were culturally healthy, we would naturally give and receive more. I actually suspect we'd be giving and receiving less, and more thoughtfully... giving might shift from tangible things to gifts of service.

I compare it to eating. It seems to me our bodies know what they need to be healthy, but few of us naturally choose foods that our bodies like, and we've lost that ability to respond to what our bodies really want. Something is going wrong; something is creating a disconnect between what we think we want to eat and what we need to eat. To write if off as mere overconsumption or consumerism seems to me to miss an important opportunity for healing at a level that goes beyond nutrition. Same with gift giving and gift receiving. After all, its not really a gift if the person it is given to doesn't like it. Something else is at work here, and I suspect it involves a set of unhealthy cultural beliefs about the worth of the individual and screwy ideas about desire, fulfillment, emptiness, deprivation, and righteousness. If I had to give our culture a DSM diagnosis, I would say our culture has Borderline Personality Disorder - it constantly seeks to fill a "hole" in a way that causes the hole to get bigger, and it responds to this by trying the same maladaptive patterns harder.

I think people like the OP are realizing that this maladaptive pattern isn't working and want to find something that is more healthy. But overconsumption and underconsumption are just two sides of the same coin. There's got to be a way that the solution isn't merely reactive to the problem, but goes beyond that to address the issues that created the problem in the first place.
Yes! This is where I was hoping the discussion would go. Less about who does not like plastic or who's grandma is crazy with the unwanted princess paraphernalia and more about where this is coming from and how as a culture we can address more than just the symptom of the problems. I really want to know about the deeper feelings and reasons why we are finding ourselves here. Making lists, cutting off family members, and hiding kid's gifts are clearly not effective or kind strategies. Maybe getting more to the root of how givers and receivers feel might help
post #23 of 255
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I think that's a huge part of it, though. What one person feels comfortable saying no to, another person doesn't have to say no to. I think that's a huge driving force behind some of these threads, but at the end of the day the issues are similar. It's not about nit picking, dang. I picked up one part of your post because that was the part that stood out the most, and all I meant to do was point out the differences in how the same situation is percieved by two different people, and how that may colour any particular thread. You have no problems saying no to certain things, while I don't have to. We have a common goal, however, which is to not end up with a house full of crap we don't need (or really want).

Clearing I've missed the boat on this one.
Sorry that I came off as snippy. I just was worried this thread would dissolve into a toy tolerance/ideal thread rather than a more global look at the gift issue in general. it is not about not liking Barbie or Cars but more about why we have become to driven to overdo gifts and why we seem to be powerless to talk about it openly.....like a big elephant in the room. Really, this subject applies to much more than just toys and kids.
post #24 of 255
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post
I agree that gifting has gotten somewhat out of control, just like the overconsumption of ALL other things.

I understand having ideals about what you want your children to be exposed to but what I don't understand is how those ideals can trump caring and loving other people. To me, putting limitations on what gifts are allowed, sending out wish lists, etc., makes it ALL about the gifts and does take the fun out of it.

If we got things as gifts that did not fit in w/our ideals as a family, or were just too much, I would think it would be a perfect teaching opportunity. For a young child I would talk to them about having 3 baby strollers and how other children don't have any and have them pick out 1 or 2 to give away. For older children we could get more into a discussion of the whys.

You don't teach children your values by sheltering them from all other ideas, you use real life to discuss they whys and hows of the things important to you so that they can develop their own understanding and internalize that belief if that is what they choose.

That's how I see it anyway. The LAST thing I want is ungrateful kids. Ungratefulness leads to entitlement which leads to a disconnection to the world around you IMO.

BTW, I really don't judge any of the people on this thread or IRL who see it a different way. I am confident that most people make decisions that make sense to them out of a genuine love for their children and a desire to do what is best for them.

I am with you in theory. I do not believe in sheltering my child from differing views, customs, love languages, you name it..... I think using differences as a teaching tool has it's place and is likely "the best we can do" right now about this particular issue.

It just seems like we are eventually going to get to a point where it just has to be addressed and discussed. A few too many toys? No biggie, build a new shelf, donate some toys, rotate into the attic, etc.... A few toys you would rather your kid not have or shatter that the peace in your home, cool....it's a phase....the toy will break or the kid will lose interest eventually. But when it starts to assault how you teach your children to respect the earth, be mindful of human suffering, to not be ruled by your belongings, etc..... it becomes more than just a teaching moment, it becomes a way of life.

Take the stroller situation. Let's say dd likes stroller number 1 and wants to donate the other two. But grandma, who gave dd stroller number 2 will be really hurt if she finds out dd chooses to donate it. You see grandma was too poor when her own children were young to be able to buy a toy stroller. This is a very big deal for her. And Auntie Grace, who gifted stroller number 3, saved it from her childhood (because she married into the family and did have a mom who could afford to buy her one) and was hoping dd would keep it forever and pass it on to family until the end of time. Introduce guilt, obligation, and someone just trying to guiltlessly offload their own clutter onto future generations. The stuff and what happens to it starts to develop a life of it's own. And we have not even talked about dolls number 1-15, cradles number 1-4, and the two highchairs Uncle Fred couldn't decide between at the store and decided to get both Now you have a 6 yo that is fretting between what she wants and will actually play with, what she has space for, the motivations of the givers, and the guilt of putting too much emphasis on STUFF that might not have been asked for, wanted, or needed. Meanwhile she cannot even walk across her room. I cannot figure out how to make that a positive teaching moment.
post #25 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
like a big elephant in the room. Really, this subject applies to much more than just toys and kids.
Oh sure! But in the context in families, I really can't get past the idea that so much of it has to do with respect. Purposely spiting someone through gifts, and being passive aggressive through children? Why would people like that hae the opportunity to give your child a gift in the first place? Simplistic, I know. So when you have element thrown into the mix it DOES become an elephant in the room. Even just the issue of people blissfully ignoring another family's ideals. Not cool, in my books.

Personally, as someone said above, we're more about using unwanted junk as a learning opportunity and are more focused on our daughter making decisions for herself than moderating the [gift giving] act it self. Maybe it's coincidence that she'll choose to draw or ride a bike instead of playing with a plastic little people school bus, maybe not. But we don't give it a lot thought around here. It's a toy. An object. What we DO during the day is so much more important than the things we touch. If that makes sense.

In fact, I think the more emphasis is placed on "buy this" or "don't buy that", the more the stuff ends up having power over us again. Kinda like the bully philosophy. If you ignore them they'll leave you alone. I think the holidays, and life in general, have become so materialistic because that's what people focus on. If I were to post a thread about the holidays it would be about my favorite recipe, or what my favorite decoration is, or about traditions. And yet some people are actually distraught over the giving and receiving of gifts. It absolutely baffles me, especially when they're distraught in the name of anti-consumerism. It seems like an oxymoron to care that much about STUFF while claiming the issue is about instilling values onto their kids about... you guessed it.. STUFF. "Things" have power over us because we allow it! Even if I had weird relatives with exorbitant gift giving practices, food and traditions would STILL be what I'm focusing on. Because that's what is important!

Is what your kid plays with really that important? Or are the conversations you have, the stories you tell, the things you do, the people you talk to, etc what REALLY count? For us, that's the stuff that matters.

In terms of the inlaw threads and gift giving dilemmas, all these issues seem self inflicted to me. There is so much more to life than worrying about THINGS. And if we worry about things - how much of them, what they're made of, etc - I think they're still garnering the attention that we are sometimes trying to avoid. (Though I really do understand putting your feet down on things that simply won't fit into your house, common sense and all.. )
post #26 of 255
I don't have anything to add at the moment because I would like to digest what I've read first. Very interesting thread! TBH, I kind of dread holiday time on MDC b/c someone is always complaining about something.

I would just like to say that the post below has got me thinking the most. Why is it that there are two distinct camps: "must have lots so we are better" and the "must have less so we are better". Hmm, lots to think about! Great discussion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
Wondering whether we have gotten too priviledged is another symptom to add to your list of "Is Our Culture Sick?"

Its kind of like nudity and sex. If people were completely healthy about it - if it was accepted as natural and good, if people didn't blush or make jokes to cover up their embarrassment of even accidentally seeing animals procreating, if nobody blinked an eye if half the world was naked during the summer, we'd be a lot healthier. It is this belief that something is wrong with sex, or that we need to place artificial boundaries around it to keep it contained and make it acceptable, that has made our culture so unhealthy around sex, and led to pathology around sex.

The secret belief that maybe we really don't deserve what we want, and the twisted ways we try to keep from feeling that very sad belief are what has created rampant consumerism and the backlash to rampant consumerism - which is the idea that somehow you are more holy and righteous if you choose a minimalist's life. Its fun to give and fun to receive, period. If people felt really and truly that they deserved everything good and that everyone else deserved everything good, we'd be way more relaxed and healthy around gift giving. Entitlement isn't our problem - the opposite is the real problem.
post #27 of 255
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shera971 View Post

I would just like to say that the post below has got me thinking the most. Why is it that there are two distinct camps: "must have lots so we are better" and the "must have less so we are better". Hmm, lots to think about! Great discussion!
I am running out the door but wanted to say I am mulling over the same thing.
post #28 of 255

an essay

my sweet dh wrote an article on gift giving/from an anarchist/anticapitalist perspective, if anyone wants to read it:
http://news.infoshop.org/article.php...71214101742649
post #29 of 255
This thread is very, very interesting to me! I'm coming from a completely different viewpoint than anyone else, and I have to say that all the gift threads have me amazed.

See, we are poor. I don't mean "we're living on a tight budget". I mean flat out poor. DD is getting one gift from us this year, just as she has in previous years (actually, her first christmas gift was some new cloth diapers that she needed, hahaha). This year I'm making her a tutu. I think she will love it and be thrilled, but honestly...I'm kind of counting on the presents from my family to make this a good Christmas for her. Not because I think Good Christmas= Plenty of Gifts, but because DD is completely bored with the toys she has and really does need some new, age appropriate, things. Whatever they give her, I will be pretty happy with. I've already had some friends ask me if they thought that their gift was okay, and I'm quite shocked that they asked for my approval!

So I can't help but wonder if some of this is just all about class. The whole idea of "must have lots so we are better" vs "must have less so we are better" just doesn't apply to plenty of people out there. Some of us just want more because we actually need more.

Heck, I'll happily take some of those dreaded plastic toys/ big toys/ noisy toys that are creating too much clutter for some of you!
post #30 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by clicksab View Post
This thread is very, very interesting to me! I'm coming from a completely different viewpoint than anyone else, and I have to say that all the gift threads have me amazed.

See, we are poor. I don't mean "we're living on a tight budget". I mean flat out poor. DD is getting one gift from us this year, just as she has in previous years (actually, her first christmas gift was some new cloth diapers that she needed, hahaha). This year I'm making her a tutu. I think she will love it and be thrilled, but honestly...I'm kind of counting on the presents from my family to make this a good Christmas for her. Not because I think Good Christmas= Plenty of Gifts, but because DD is completely bored with the toys she has and really does need some new, age appropriate, things. Whatever they give her, I will be pretty happy with. I've already had some friends ask me if they thought that their gift was okay, and I'm quite shocked that they asked for my approval!

So I can't help but wonder if some of this is just all about class. The whole idea of "must have lots so we are better" vs "must have less so we are better" just doesn't apply to plenty of people out there. Some of us just want more because we actually need more.

Heck, I'll happily take some of those dreaded plastic toys/ big toys/ noisy toys that are creating too much clutter for some of you!
That's how I grew up. In fact, one year our doorbell rang on christmas morning and we went outside and there was black garbage bag full of gifts for me and my sisters, all wrapped, all with our names on it. I got my first purse! (I was about 11/12) To this day we don't know who it was, maybe my mom knows but she hasn't told us.

I remember my mom starting Christmas shopping in October and putting stuff in a box and locking it up in the carport. I use to think she was the world's stingiest person for locking up a bottle of gherkin pickles in October. But the fact was, having a 3 dollar bottle of gherkin pickles on christmas eve HAD to be budgeted for 3 months in advance, or we didn't have it.

I wonder how much of the minimalist movement has to do with privilege, verses a genuine desire to reduce waste and consumption. It weighs on my mind a lot, because I have never, ever, met a low income person/family who has complained about a gift. (And that's spanning my childhood and early adulthood in the low income/subsidized housing I've lived in all my life.) Now we're a middle to upper class family and this (not wanting certain "things") phenomenon is way too common. I realize this is purely anecdotal, but it doesn't influence my opinions on the nature of graciously accepting gifts.
post #31 of 255
About the etiquette aspect of receiving gifts, and whether or not we should "submit" to the rules, my feeling is that the etiquette is there to smooth over these tricky situations. That's the whole point of etiquette.

Someone gives you (or your child) a gift you don't want / can't use / don't need / feel is irresponsible / etc etc etc: the rule is always the same. You smile, you say thank you, and you mean it. Because what you are thanking the person for is not merely the object(s) in front of you, but the kindly attention you assume is behind the gift. The time, thought and money that went into it.

The rule is reciprocal, though. Once you've received the gift, it's well within your rights to throw it away, or donate it, or whatever, as long as you are discreet about it. Once we've given something it's totally out of our hands.

I just really don't think it's ok to dictate to others what gifts are acceptable or unacceptable. That said, ongoing discussions about gifting can and should be had. Last year, with my family, we all agreed not to give each other gifts and to make a donation to the local homeless shelter instead. Everyone gave what they could. It was anonymous, so there was no competition between family members. However, the kids in the family still got gifts from family members.

But that's more along the lines of deciding that each person will only buy one gift and drawing a name from a hat (another common solution).

As for gifts for children, my son gets a lot of gifts from very kind and well-meaning distant and far-flung family members. Some of them I've absolutely hated, but since DS loves them and plays with them, they've almost all stayed. In the end, it's about the joy of the giver and the person receiving. Gifts he wasn't interested in were eventually donated. Toys that broke quickly were thrown away. But he got to receive the gift, and the giver got to enjoy his response to it. By the way, the people giving him the most plastic-y, noisy, obnoxious gifts that tended to break quickly and irritate DH and I were almost exclusively from DH's side of the family, which is not American. Wanting to give LOTS of toys to children seems to be pretty universal. In that sense, I don't think it's a sickness related to North-American / European culture. The need to control every aspect of a child's life does seem to be a very North American cultural issue (my perspective, as a North American living in Europe and married to a man from a 3rd culture).
post #32 of 255
a bit OT from this thread (which I find interesting, so thanks for starting it) but I am getting a bit uneasy about giving gifts to young children at all! I mean, now I worry that it will be too plastic-y, too girly, princess-y, not environmentally friendly enough, something they already have, too commercialized/character related, too conforming/encouraging, not imaginative enough, too expensive, too cheap, MIC, and so on....

maybe I should just give cash -- except that's not proper gift giving etiquette, right? Honestly, I don't want to offend anyone, or have them worry about where they are going to keep the gift, or put them in a bad spot where they have to take it away from their kid, yk? I WANT what I give to be appreciated, and enjoyed. But, honestly, I'm second guessing several things I planned to purchase now. Even if you know someone fairly well, it can be hard to see things from their perspective sometimes.
post #33 of 255
I think that part of the problem is that we want to outdo what we've done before. Many parents want to give their children more than they had as kids, and more than they gave them last year. We just keep upping the ante. We want the kids to be wowed on Christmas morning. I think its a fairy natural human tendency.

We live in a culture where how much we can buy is totally out of wack because most of our consumer goods are made by people in totally different economies than ours. Our purchasing power is just wacky. I think this combines with out basic human desire to outdo ourselves to make a consumer frenzy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
At least Almanzo mostly got toys that would biodegrade and did not involve a whole lot of earth-wrecking processing, shipping, and packaging. Many gifts, until recently, were largely made lovingly by the giver. A far cry from how much plastic crap grandma can afford to charge on her credit card.
Since my kids have had a combination of earth friendly toys and plastic crap, I've noticed that the plastic crap doesn't stay nice. After a while, it can may be OK enough to donate to goodwill, but might just need to go into the trash.

The earth friendly toys, however, stay really nice. We have lovely wooden things that are nearly as nice a decade later after two kids as they were on Christmas day. We are saving them for our grandkids. Which makes a different problem, when you buy nice things that last for years and years, even buying just one toy per child for Christmas, it ends up being a lot of stuff after a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clicksab View Post
So I can't help but wonder if some of this is just all about class. The whole idea of "must have lots so we are better" vs "must have less so we are better" just doesn't apply to plenty of people out there. Some of us just want more because we actually need more.
Agreed. The toy problem is a problem of affluence.
post #34 of 255
I consider "smart" ecologically to be part of "smart" economically, just to clarify my previous post. I really and truly believe that every culture with enough wealth to acquire a lot of things, tends to have an over-gifting problem in at least part of the population.
post #35 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post

Someone gives you (or your child) a gift you don't want / can't use / don't need / feel is irresponsible / etc etc etc: the rule is always the same. You smile, you say thank you, and you mean it. Because what you are thanking the person for is not merely the object(s) in front of you, but the kindly attention you assume is behind the gift. The time, thought and money that went into it.



I just really don't think it's ok to dictate to others what gifts are acceptable or unacceptable. That said, ongoing discussions about gifting can and should be had. Last year, with my family, we all agreed not to give each other gifts and to make a donation to the local homeless shelter instead. Everyone gave what they could. It was anonymous, so there was no competition between family members. However, the kids in the family still got gifts from family members.

. In the end, it's about the joy of the giver and the person receiving. Gifts he wasn't interested in were eventually donated. Toys that broke quickly were thrown away. But he got to receive the gift, and the giver got to enjoy his response to it. By the way, the people giving him the most plastic-y, noisy, obnoxious gifts that tended to break quickly and irritate DH and I were almost exclusively from DH's side of the family, which is not American. Wanting to give LOTS of toys to children seems to be pretty universal. In that sense, I don't think it's a sickness related to North-American / European culture. The need to control every aspect of a child's life does seem to be a very North American cultural issue (my perspective, as a North American living in Europe and married to a man from a 3rd culture).



I think its more worth looking into when did it get where we could send lists to people of the stuff we want them to buy or kids, instead of just letting them do what they want. Are we so privileged that we now not only want to control what WE buy for a kids but also GIFTS that people by for our kids, thinking of them, and how happy they would be with said gift..that is the real question.
post #36 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
a bit OT from this thread (which I find interesting, so thanks for starting it) but I am getting a bit uneasy about giving gifts to young children at all! I mean, now I worry that it will be too plastic-y, too girly, princess-y, not environmentally friendly enough, something they already have, too commercialized/character related, too conforming/encouraging, not imaginative enough, too expensive, too cheap, MIC, and so on....

maybe I should just give cash -- except that's not proper gift giving etiquette, right? Honestly, I don't want to offend anyone, or have them worry about where they are going to keep the gift, or put them in a bad spot where they have to take it away from their kid, yk? I WANT what I give to be appreciated, and enjoyed. But, honestly, I'm second guessing several things I planned to purchase now. Even if you know someone fairly well, it can be hard to see things from their perspective sometimes.
hugs mama...don't worry...i'm sure the gifts will bring much joy.

these are similar situations to mine and i try to either ask the child mom for some suggestions or observe what they have in their home, both type/style and size/amount and choose something that seems similar.
post #37 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by clicksab View Post
So I can't help but wonder if some of this is just all about class. The whole idea of "must have lots so we are better" vs "must have less so we are better" just doesn't apply to plenty of people out there. Some of us just want more because we actually need more.
Very valid point. Those of us who are actually able to choose which "team" we're on, are in a priviledged group and would do well to remember it! And I use the word team b/c sometimes it really does feel like a battle between the two schools of thought.
post #38 of 255
This is why I don't want to do much with my daughter. We plan to have quite a few children and I don't want to start with getting my daughter lots and lots and then have to make her "pile" smaller and smaller each year as we add another child. DP and I have agreed to buy her one classic dvd every year. We don't watch much tv but it's something he wants to do so I'm okay with that. This year we'll get the Peanuts boxed set of three dvds for $20. (the great pumpkin, thanksgiving, christmas tree) And we'll get her a snow globe every year because that's my thing. (I collect them so I'm passing that down to her.) Other than that, we may buy her one or two things, but that's it. And next year, we'll have another child.

I hate how people think they need to buy this and that every year. It truly feels like parents (and other family members) are just trying to buy off the children. That's how I always felt with my own parents. People seem to be so materialistic and it's quite sad. Whatever happened to everyone getting one or two gifts, maybe a big family gift (like a new tv or blu ray player and a blu ray disk or tow), and just being together for a nice meal with a few games followed by an updated family photo, to be mailed or emailed to everyone in the following week? With the family changing houses every year so everyone gets a chance to stay home, so everyone has to travel at least once in a while, so the ones with newborns don't have to deal with leaving their comfort zones?

My ideal holiday? Assuming my mother wasn't involved. I would love to gather my family together at my place (of course, that wouldn't work this year because our place really is too small for the whole family) and make a meal for everyone. We would eat and have a nice conversation. Then the children would open their gifts. (one or two from their parents, one from their aunt/uncle, maybe one homemade one from their cousins) If it's Thanksgiving, of course that would involve the football game. Either way, then we would play a few games and have dessert and just be together as a family. Maybe we could even have everyone stay the night and then have a nice breakfast in the morning before seeing everyone off. That would be ideal. That would be my perfect holiday.

But does that ever happen? Of course not. My family (2 hrs away) insists we all go there every year for every holiday. This means Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter. They still expected us down there, and threw a bit of fit, for Thanksgiving last year, when we had a newborn. And this year, they expect their son to be there with his 3.5 yo, 1.5 yo, 4 month old. And they have to travel 12-16 hrs! They're due to get in Tuesday night and want to leave Friday or Saturday. My aunt happily told me that she gave him a hard time about that. I used to live near where he lives now. I have made that drive, several times. That drive is hell. It's boring and it's long. All highway. I would never want to make that drive with a 4 month old, let alone two older children as well. That's three car seats, plus their dog and their luggage, in one car for that long?! That's crazy. I would never expect them to make that drive. I wouldn't even bring it up.

So I think it's more than just gifts sometimes. It's this stupid idea that we must all be together, no matter what, and we must pretend we are this big happy family, even when we aren't. It's like we're just putting on a show for ourselves to tell to others later. "Oh we had a great time being all together. And the kids got all these great gifts. Aren't we just the best family ever?"
post #39 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post

And gifts have sometimes become a substitute for spending quality time with children--relatives who ONLY see my kids at Christmas insist on their right to give them presents.
This is a great point. We have this problem with some relatives, also. How thoughtfully can a gift be picked out, if the giver really knows nothing about the giftee?
post #40 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post

In fact, I think the more emphasis is placed on "buy this" or "don't buy that", the more the stuff ends up having power over us again. Kinda like the bully philosophy. If you ignore them they'll leave you alone. I think the holidays, and life in general, have become so materialistic because that's what people focus on. If I were to post a thread about the holidays it would be about my favorite recipe, or what my favorite decoration is, or about traditions. And yet some people are actually distraught over the giving and receiving of gifts. It absolutely baffles me, especially when they're distraught in the name of anti-consumerism. It seems like an oxymoron to care that much about STUFF while claiming the issue is about instilling values onto their kids about... you guessed it.. STUFF. "Things" have power over us because we allow it! Even if I had weird relatives with exorbitant gift giving practices, food and traditions would STILL be what I'm focusing on. Because that's what is important!

Is what your kid plays with really that important? Or are the conversations you have, the stories you tell, the things you do, the people you talk to, etc what REALLY count? For us, that's the stuff that matters.

In terms of the inlaw threads and gift giving dilemmas, all these issues seem self inflicted to me. There is so much more to life than worrying about THINGS. And if we worry about things - how much of them, what they're made of, etc - I think they're still garnering the attention that we are sometimes trying to avoid. (Though I really do understand putting your feet down on things that simply won't fit into your house, common sense and all.. )
This is exactly how I feel about this subject. I've never been able to put it into words, but I completely agree that causing oneself anxiety over things, even from a minimalist point of view, is giving them too much power in one's life.

I wonder if it stems from guilt. I too grew up in a family with less money than a lot. I wouldn't call us poor, maybe lower middle class, but the worrying over how much stuff has never been something I experienced. I try to keep clutter to a minimum and go through my stuff to cull out things I don't use or want anymore but it doesn't affect me much. But the people I know who do struggle with these feelings all grew up with more money/wealth. So maybe this kind of feeling comes about from feeling "bad" about having more than others?
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