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Perceived Scarcity.

May 28, 2010

Per Merriam-Webster, the definition of scarcity is “the quality or state of being scarce, especially: want of provisions for the support of life.” How does scarcity play a role in your life? Everything boils down to money and how much money there is to replace items or purchase some new item. It’s all about stuff right? Well, it’s not really a problem until you bring perceived scarcity into the mix. If you perceive that something is scarce, cannot be easily replaced or that at some point in the future you will have the inability to readily replace something, you may hold onto it. Example, I have 3.5 garbage bags full of children’s clothes in a gender I do not need, just in case, as I know how expensive it can be to replace some of these items. Especially the really cute clothes, which even at consignment still aren’t cheap.

Now, who really needs an entire double bi-fold closet door full of kids clothes? I have the gender I need for the next kid so that kid is covered. In the end, if I fail to deal with the perceived scarcity in the event that we do have a FOURTH kid (eeeek) then I will have held onto these items for years storing them in my home. What a waste of space and what a bunch of clutter!

My spouse has the same mental block regarding assorted and sundry car parts. You cannot imagine what the side of my two car garage looks like. The parts he hoards happen to be parts for 20+ year old MR2’s which can be difficult to come by, but there needs to be some form of storage solution there.

So perceived scarcity causes us to hoard and thereby increases the quantity of clutter in our lives, both mental clutter and physical clutter. The question becomes then, how do we overcome perceived scarcity and simply let go? For the older generation that grew up in the Depression, one does not let go, ever. For the younger generation, one gets rid of everything, because whenever they want something they believe it will magically reappear. Then there are those of us that are in between, living on our own, living on budgets, and well aware what things cost and how the economy is doing. If we listen to Glenn Beck, we’ll be huddled in a bomb shelter eating our dehydrated food while counting our gold. Really, he has some great points, but I think he has a mental illness as listening to him makes ME hysterical. Children’s clothes and food are the only items that I hoard, and I have a tendency to hoard food after listening to Glenn Beck, so I rarely listen to him anymore.

So I believe that the solution here is for me to get rid of these clothes, but I need to find a compromise that short circuits the scarcity problem. I’m trying to trade them for some clothes in my son’s size. I hope that goes well, or else I’m really up a creek! Good luck resolving your perceived scarcity problems.

Parting thought: Is your house a home filled with you in the present moment with your loved ones and family, or is it a house filled with possessions that emotionally drain you and require your time and ever increasing storage space?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 29, 2010 12:12 am

    Nice post,
    I learned a lot of information from this post. Thanks for the effort you took to expand upon this topic so thoroughly. I look forward to future post.

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