The ‘want’ monster

I’ve got a set of samples coming from a new-to-me house but they don’t arrive till Monday. So, we’re going down this rabbit hole today.

I don’t need things. I whisper this to myself with some regularity. But the want monster still sometimes settles on my shoulder and says, “oh, wouldn’t this be nice?” Mostly I say feh to you, but every once in a while my brain goes frazzle and I find myself clicking the purchase bottom.

I’m not talking small bits and bobs, like samples; over-indulging at farm shop on four out-of-season silly priced peaches; going to town at the bakery; drooling over bulbs and plants (the pic below is of my papyrus plant — one of the most interesting plant things I’ve ever purchased); thinking about so-and-so being happier in a bigger, prettier pot. (I consider buying books, whether the physical item or as an upload, a necessity, so they don’t fall into the purview of this post.) I’m talking things that catch your eye and somehow fog your mind.

The house is in pretty decent shape stuff-wise (I’m not over enamoured of the living room rug, but I’m not going to do anything about that right now); the garden is fine. I don’t buy lots of bottles of perfume – I’m mostly in a sample, decant, small bottle (eg, travel sizes, Le Labo’s 15ml ones) state.

When I did a clear-out last Feb-March before moving to the rental when the building work started I got rid of a lot (and I do mean a lot) of stuff. So far, I haven’t regretted any of that (certainly not in the way I regretted getting rid of, during the post pregnancy fog, the beautiful, designer high-heeled brogues I bought at a Barney’s Warehouse sale decades ago – they pop up in dreams every once in a while). I do sometimes think I should replace the television that went, but I can watch most things (not many in any case) on the laptop. I realise TVs are way more social, but it would also mean replacing the very old aerial …

So, where did this come from?

The want monster did a big poke, poke , poke the other day which resulted in the purchase of a blender. I grew up with a blender (that sounds weird) – my mother’s lasted 40 years before it went goodbye in the clearing out of my father’s apartment around four years ago. I have good memories of pancake and latke batters and soups coming out of it. My mother was attached to it in the same way she, only once, bought a very expensive Coach bag which went everywhere and lasted for years and years and years.

I have a heavy-duty stand mixer, a small chopper and a hand blender (and my son has a smoothie maker). You would think that would be sufficient but clearly the want monster didn’t think so. I pushed the buy button on a mid-priced blender off amazon (amazon is the devil’s doing). It arrived, we put it together, and lo and behold, something was wrong with it. So, back it goes. Somehow, I think that was just desserts.

The want monster was very disappointed and did a serious sulk. But it was incredibly satisfying putting the not needed (or, it turned out, immediately loved) blender back in its box awaiting pickup.

I believe the want monster causes the release of certain pleasure chemicals in the brain in a way that need mostly doesn’t. I don’t know the why of this but I’m sure a medical person or a scientist would concur. And, interestingly, now that that small madness is behind me the want monster has returned to its closet, cupboard, whathaveyou.

I’m sure it will emerge again fairly soon – just because that’s what it does. Mostly. It didn’t make an appearance for around two years, when I was quite poor. However, as soon as I was earning decently again, there it was – big grin on its face: “You’ve paid off the loan and the Visa bill – time to do some damage!”

So, where are you in this? Do you indulge the want monster? Show consummate restraint? Aren’t interested? Have a closet full of beautiful but neglected stuff?

  • Dina C. says:

    We have been on Low Buy status for several years now while putting our son through college, but the Want Monster definitely whispers in my ear from time to time. I fob it off with budget purchases and try to practice the spiritual discipline of Contentment, which is a very difficult thing for greedy me. There are things I want to replace in the house (carpeting, kitchen remodel), trips I want to take, and of course, a long list of scents out there to be sampled yet, once we have the ability. I’m sorry the blender was a dud. What a letdown!

    • Cinnamon says:

      I think I generally fob it off with those fancy peaches and visits to the bakery. But every once in a while things ‘happen’, like the blender. In general, those ‘experiences’ don’t end particularly well (mostly things get returned). Best wishes regarding your son.

  • Portia says:

    Heya Cinnamon,
    Yeah, I think the want monster is a big deal around here.
    Through my life there have been a succession of things I’ve loved, collected and then moved on from.
    Books, DVDs, Vinyl, Fabrics and all things costume related, Crockery/China, Art and now Perfume.
    It’s just the way may life seems to work.
    Portia xx

    • Cinnamon says:

      I’ve always had a lot of books but even with that over the past 10 years I’ve given a lot to charity shops. Def did vinyl years ago. My ex husband had a lot of ‘stuff’ (books, old magazines and pamphlets from his uni years, just stuff) and that had a negative effect on me over the years — ie, realising that he had too much ‘baggage’ and that wasn’t something I wanted to carry — physically and metaphorically. I’m by no means a minimalist, and I certainly find myself ‘wanting’ things, but not in the same way I used to.

      • Portia says:

        Yeah, I have downsized a LOT too.Most of the vinyl went to a dealer, all the costume making stuff went to new drag queens and the finished costumes went to dance schools. Most of the books, knick knacks and excess china went to charity and sadly I even threw out all my clippings and advertising from decades as a performer.
        There’s still way too much stuff in this apartment but it’s 100% better than the old house was.

  • Tara C says:

    I am a lifelong victim of my want monster. So much wasted money, excess stuff, unworn and neglected. I’ve donated or sold nearly all of the non-perfume stuff, but it’s hard for me to let go of the perfumes just yet. But to avoid a painful reckoning down the road I’ve drastically cut back on the buying and vow to get rid of the excess gradually. Somehow. It was alarming when I packed up to move last year…

    • Cinnamon says:

      I think moving brings into focus how much stuff we’ve accumulated and how much of a pain in the whatsit that is. and how something that made sense in one house simply doesn’t fit or work in another.

    • Brigitte says:

      You’ve done an outstanding job in getting rid of your unloved bottles and sending them to happy homes where lots of thunkin is going on. 😉

  • Musette says:

    well, as I have been in a rather overt love affair with my blender since forever, I can’t speak to that as a ‘want’. I use it daily (and it’s great for blending eggshells and coffee grounds for the garden). But I will say that this past year has been almost the persack opposite of Want Monster. And… I’m surprised. But, in general, I’m de-accessioning (I’m with you on books and I really don’t buy that many, preferring to library and give them decent monetary donations from time to time)
    I wonder if it’s because I indulged the Want Monster for such a long time, during my despair??? I could now easily halve the goods in this house and probably never miss the stuff.


    • Cinnamon says:

      I love the idea of a blender but I really really don’t need one. It would just be another item. So, you’re want monster has sort of receded (I stopped using our local library when I had to special order most stuff I wanted — I’m too far from the ‘big’ library to use it on a regular basis). I really do think indulging the WM results in the release of helpful brain chemicals. Problem is that’s so underhanded on its part.

      • Musette says:

        I am going to sound SO sanctimonious but! I find that when the WM hollas, I can assuage it by giving. I found Modest Needs on this sidebar, back in the Jurassic, and really enjoyed helping others out – the site (and its mission) seems to have changed (a lot more ‘I Want’ and less ‘I need’) which is a bit offputting but I can still search for those ‘for want of a nail’ which are gratifying (stuff like someone needing a new battery for their car so they can get to work and stay off welfare, etc). Gives me a nice endorphin rush, even better than if I haul yet another piece of Pyrex into this house.


        • Cinnamon says:

          I don’t think it’s sanctimonious. As soon as I was past my couple of years of poverty I set up a monthly direct debit payment to the local food bank. There shouldn’t be food poverty down here, as food is produced in the area, but there is. You don’t see the paying it forward stuff here you get in the US.

  • March says:

    HAHAHAHA during the massive purge over the past few months and weeks — handled completely differently than it would have been in the Before Times, when I’ve had consigned and/or donated much more (many of our places were not even accepting items until fairly recently) I’m getting a hard lesson in the fruits of my casual spending over the years. It’s not just the wasted money, it’s the incredible effort of sorting out what to keep and then how to get rid of so much stuff, even if it’s via multiple Craigslist curb alerts. I’m practically throwing things at casual passersby. It’s … miserable. And since I’m downsizing to a 1BR I still might have too much. I’m hoping this lesson sinks in and sticks for awhile.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I was wondering how you were doing with things while I was writing the post. I used to think moving was exciting but this last one for me just wasn’t and that was eye opening. Hopefully once you’re done and in transit it will all feel so freeing in some way. Will most stuff go into a van and into storage once it arrives while you find some place you want?

  • ElizaC says:

    I have a want monster for antique garnet or vintage taxco jewelry ;). Other then birthday and Christmas gifts, I’ve dealt with it by going onto the Goodwill site and doing some auctions. I very rarely win the auction, so keeps me amused without loading me down with more stuff.

    • Musette says:

      well. Taxco. That… well, okay.. maybe you ignited a leeeetle Want Monster, there. 😉 xoxox

    • Cinnamon says:

      When I was in my 20s my parents lived near a couple of towns that had amazing antique jewellery shops. It was wonderful to trawl them with my mother. During my poor years I used an auction house here to sell around half my jewellery (not stuff that was family or that I was very attached to). Was amazed it sold and opened my eyes to how many people buy that way.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I am always dealing with the want monster. For the longest time, the want monster really wanted a bottle of Coromandel and was able to purchase it a few months ago. I lost against the want monster when I bought that bottle of Lyric and Rose Flash. I have been somewhat successful with winning the battle against candles. I have too many of them already and have to start using them before I can get more. Now it’s back to the same old song and dance of not a lot of funds to do anything frivolous.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Ah, candles. Yes. My Elle Decor magazine popped through the door a few days ago which has an article about the history of Diptyque on it’s (I think) 60th anniversary. The want monster had a bit of happy dance after I read that but there’s seriously no point. I might start to run out of candles I love in 4-5 years …