Beware Black Friday, Cyber Monday

   Written by on November 22, 2017 at 12:02 pm
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

How much time do you think Americans spend shopping each week?  The government estimates we each spend six to eight hours weekly shopping.  And, we only spend about five hours a week with family and friends.  Put another way, we spend at least a day every week acquiring more stuff rather than spending that time with family and friends.

What are your plans for Cyber-Monday?  The time Americans spend online during work on Cyber-Monday deals will cost employers $449.8 million in lost productivity!  Wow, that is a lot of time shopping.  How many times have you heard someone say “I need” when what they actually mean is “I want?”  For instance, “I need the new IPhone 10.”  Or, “I need the new Air Jordans.”  What do we really need?  Our needs are items related to our survival and basic comfort.  Our wants list is about wanting more, bigger, newer, or better.  Our wants can be so expansive that they are impossible to obtain.  This ever-growing list of wants can lead to stress, anxiety, and conflicts.

What can you do to feel happier and more balanced?  Just getting more money may not be the solution.  George Bernard Shaw’s advice is, “The surest way to ruin a man who doesn’t know how to handle money is to give him some.”

Maybe our focus should be on having less stuff.  Epictetus, a Greek philosopher who lived about 100 years after Christ, felt “wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”  Having less stuff has many benefits.  Just think what you could do with eight hours a week.  That is time to enjoy friends and family, explore the outdoors, read, listen to music, play with your kids, attend a bible study class, exercise, garden, learn a new skill, or enjoy a hobby.  In other words, use these hours to enjoy life.  Art Buchwald expressed it best when he said, “The best things in life aren’t things.”

Instead of spending time acquiring more stuff, try spending these hours organizing, and decluttering the stuff you already have.  Living in a place that is open and spacious makes you feel psychologically comfortable and at ease.  Remember, starting a new project is often the hardest part.  Don’t overwhelm yourself.  Start with one area of the house.  For example, pick one closet or one drawer that will take about 15 or 20 minutes to organize.  You won’t be overwhelmed and the success of organizing one area will motivate you to continue.

The general rule is, with some exceptions like Christmas decorations, the stuff that you haven’t used in the last six months you don’t need.  With each area you organize, begin by sorting the contents into three piles: keep, donate/sell, and toss.

Your closet is a major area to tackle.  Step one.  Sort your clothes by size and style.  Step two, remove all clothes that no longer fit or are out of style.  Did you wear the outfit last season?  If no, it goes in the donate/sell pile.  Remember, we typically wear only about one-third of the clothes that we own.  The rest is there for “later.”  So, be honest with yourself and be generous with your donations.

Organize the keep items back in the closet or drawer.  The toss items take to the dump.  The donate/sell items divide into a donate immediately pile and the items you will try to sell.  For the sale items, think about how you want to sell these items: at a garage sale or online through EBay, Etsy, Craig’s list, or Facebook’s local “garage sale” feature.  Be realistic about your ability to sell the items and if they don’t sell, donate them.

Hopefully this exercise will help you see that you really don’t “need” all that stuff.  A second benefit is that your donations will help those that really do have a need.

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  I John 3: 17-18


Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or


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