This time of year my mail seems to be mostly catalogs.
For most people, this would probably be nothing more than a minor nuisance, but I’ve previously discovered that I have a teeny little problem with catalogs. Two small boys at home makes it seem difficult if not impossible to actually shop for clothes in a store, so I often order them online instead.
So in the past when the catalogs showed up, I’d set them aside, on my counter or by the sofa, thinking I’d flip through them when I had a minute. Mostly I didn’t even manage to do that. They just sat there making the counter look messy. Even when I did manage to look through them, I inevitably found something I might like to get. So I’d dog ear the page and put the catalog right back in yet another pile–a “Save for Later” kind of pile, you know, that I’d look at someday when I really needed these items. Or when I had more money. My “Save for Later” pile was effective in preventing me from actually ordering any of these items, I guess, but as a filing and organizing system, it pretty much stank.
It seemed like once those stupid catalogs entered my house, they never left.
Of course, if I didn’t know I needed it until I saw it on a catalog page, I probably really didn’t need it at all. And the clutter made me crazy, so finally I decided that the catalogs had to go. I got on a few web sites to try to unsubscribe and I dumped the ones that did show up straight into the recycling bin. This method worked and continues to work extremely well–when I actually do it.
But when the holiday catalog avalanche started arriving this year, I made a crucial error: I decided to look through just a few of them for Christmas gift ideas.
I dropped these selected catalogs in my usual places–on the counter and by the couch. Of the few I managed to glance through, of course I did see a few things that might make good gifts for the boys or for other family members, so I marked them and put them in another stack.
And now I feel right back where I started.
The thing is, I’ve already bought almost all of my Christmas gifts, almost none of which came from catalogs.
Time to get rid of the catalogs. Again. Straight to the trash–okay, to the recycling. I’m even more convinced than before that they just make me want things I didn’t even know existed before, even when I’m looking for gifts for other people. And that’s the last thing I want to be thinking about at Christmas.
It’s a little thing, but it’s one way I’m going to try to practice simplicity this season.