I think it is having so much (and not realizing it) that has turned my need/want filter off. While I do think there is some societal pressure to "keep up with the Joneses," I also feel like it is because I have all my basic needs met, that I have a harder time differentiating want from need. Somehow my suburban middle-class existence has made stuff like new brown shoes into a need instead of a want. As in "I really need a pair of brown shoes to go with this outfit." I already have two pairs of brown shoes, so I don't actually NEED new shoes, but in the moment, the fact that those two shoes aren't exact matches for my outfit make me feel like I NEED new shoes. In reality, I just want them.
This is the crux of my over-buying and over-consumption. I WANT things but haven't learned to differentiate my wants from my needs. I think that is what I'm going to work on next. Of course, some things are a want/need... as in I want to finish my scrapbook, so I need to buy some replacement pages. It will be tough to tackle THOSE types of wants.
But on the whole, when I find myself bemoaning the over-priced, under-sized nature of my house, or our lack of yard or whatever, I need only look around me at all that I already do have and be thankful for that.
In other uncluttering news, I tackled the shelf on my side of the closet and managed to get rid of 4 shoebox size boxes of stuff. I had boxes of photos and memorabilia that I had boxed up in the hope that I would scrapbook it one day. It is actually pretty sad, because I have all these great photos from trips, but they've spent the last 5-10 years boxed up and out of sight. So I went to target & got a few regular photo albums and filled them with my photos. Now I can actually enjoy those memories and if I get a chance to make a scrapbook for them, great, if not, at least they're out where I can see them. Added bonus was that I got to take a little trip down memory lane, I got to realize I'm much better looking with age and I got to find some great photos of me with my aunt who passed away this past March.
I've also decided to start a very simple scrapbook for all those cards & photos and other flotsam & jetsam that I keep in boxes. Same principle applies to these items as to the photos-- why have them boxed away when I could have them out where I can enjoy them more regularly.
The purge continues around the house. I got rid of some books-- always a difficult task-- and some knick-knacks I've been keeping around the house that I don't really like or need and some queen sized sheets from our old bed that I was hanging onto for the "someday" when we have a house with a guest room. It feels good to have another load of stuff to take to Goodwill.