dear hip tranquil chick . . .

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Q: One subject I’d like to have more input about is acquisitiveness and how to combat it. The more connected I am to podcasts, magazines, etc, the more I want stuff. This is a problem on so many levels: it doesn’t do much for my and my husband’s budget, it fills our little apartment with stuff that needs to be stored, organized, dusted, etc., and much of it is stuff that doesn’t really serve a purpose in my life, so I regret wasting my money and energy on it. While stuff might make me hip, it doesn’t aid my tranquility. In the long run, retail therapy doesn’t help me–though it certainly is one of my favorite passtimes! I don’t know if others feel this way or not. Any advice?

A: Ah, the accummulation of stuff is a tricky topic when balanced with savoring some good old fashioned retail therapy. Your question is very thoughtful and one that many of us can relate to. It all comes down to realizing what we need, what will bring a little dash of fun, and what you can simply enjoy browsing (over purchasing).

For example, while wandering around New York this past weekend after 12 hours at a tradeshow booth, I knew I was on a mission for skinny jeans and little black pants. I found them with glee but when I got home, realized that I needed to balance out my new finds by letting some other things go, so I’ve added “clean out closets” to my personal to-dos.

It’s all about balance. I am a tea collector (you should see my tea basket), bibliophile (you should see my over-flowing bookshelves), bathing products, candles, and have a passion for fashion. Other than that, I don’t have much. It’s important to ensure that your purchases relate to your values. Self-care, education, and looking/feeling great are all important to me.

Explore your purchase habits (encouraged in Chapter 9 of Hip Tranquil Chick) and reflect on what is drawing you to these items. There is nothing wrong with small indulgences that don’t break your budget (soy chai lattes, fresh baked croissants, bath bombs from lush), but remember my dear friend, it is all about balance. Never forget how much lighter you feel when cleaning out closets, reorganizing drawers, and releasing things that you no longer need and giving them, or your time and money, to those that do. Take action now and release the guilt.