What do I want?

You, like me, may go through your day and think of lots of things you want.

Working at home seems to lend itself to this want mode. As I get up from my computer or leave my office and walk from one room to the next I always seem to see things/think of things that I want/need/would like to have or get for our house. A side table here. A new shower curtain there. An old typewriter for my office. An old flat file. More art for the walls. A mug without a handle would be delightful for my coffee too.

Most of these things are not necessary stuff like toilet paper. They are things that would be nice to have but I/we don't really need. Sometimes they are things I see online posted by some of my favorite blogs/inspirational sites or etsy. Sometimes they are something that I think would help me organize something else.

Because I like to go to antique/second hand stores for lots of these sorts of things I decided to start a little book that sits right below my computer monitor. Easily accessible. And tangible. A home for all these wants. And something I can take along with me to remind myself of the things I have wanted (and I can add things like dimensions + such for larger pieces).

But what I am really working on is not having to have things right now. Or maybe even at all.

I am working on holding off on buying stuff. So far I have found with this little book system that I am often satisfied simply by the act of writing it down. And then time goes by and maybe (often) the want goes away. It is helping me remember that I really already have everything I need.

The wants that do stay around seem a bit more worth it after the wait.

Stamps used on this little Moleskine book were acquired in Tokyo in 2006. Leslie sometimes has them available here.

121 thoughts

view more comments
25 of 121
  1. Lorrie M.

    2008-01-09 09:23:24 -0500

    I started the same thing just last week. Granted, mine was not as good of a home for this as yours - I had simply started a list of things in my dayplanner. LOVE the idea of having a dedicated space for my wants - and like you I hope this process may leave me getting things that I don't really need. Such a great thing to help me as I am pearing down things in our home. Funny how so many things I needed (mostly for the children) have went largely unused.

  2. christen

    2008-01-09 09:29:39 -0500

    for us list makers this is a great idea! i keep a word document with a list of gift ideas going...it helps me remember websites and other ideas so that when i need to buy something for someone i can remember a thought i had months before!

  3. alyssa

    2008-01-09 09:37:16 -0500

    Love that you have a whole *freaking cute* book dedicated to this! I did a similar thing in my journal a year or so ago when I was going through quite The Stuff Phase. It was so nice to actually write/cut & paste it all down... Having all the stuff contained in one place was great in the few cases I did actually decided to make purchases. Having it as part of the journal really helped me see all the other stuff that was fueling those wants, and that was the best part of all. Got me to the same conclusion you've already found - everything I NEED is already with me.

  4. sue

    2008-01-09 10:39:50 -0500

    Another good idea.

  5. Debby

    2008-01-09 11:18:28 -0500

    Great idea. Maybe that will curve some of my wants and make me focus on my needs a bit more. Thanks.

  6. Tina

    2008-01-09 11:59:59 -0500

    Wow - another great idea! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Jean Laporte

    2008-01-09 14:24:45 -0500

    Oh, Ali, what a wonderful time for you to bring this up! I LOVE the idea! We just bought a house and are working hard to save more $$ and pay off credit cards. I have a horrible shopping habit and this might be just the thing that helps me curb it. Thanks for the idea!

  8. Laura Craigie

    2008-01-09 15:15:35 -0500

    If you want to not want stuff, then you SO need to watch this!!!
    It is a must see, 20min video.!!

  9. noel joy

    2008-01-09 16:58:32 -0500

    love the inspiration links. thanks for sharing those! :)

  10. Katie

    2008-01-09 17:02:59 -0500

    oooh I LOVE this idea! I've been posting some of my "wants" on my blog but I like the idea of something physical to hold and flip through :)

  11. lindsay

    2008-01-10 03:02:34 -0500

    this has nothing to do with your post today, but i saw this on my local news and thought you might be interested.

  12. Sonja Chandler

    2008-01-10 04:50:55 -0500

    Love it. Maybe a little box too. Write a want down, toss it in the box. Made a box yesterday for my sisters birthday surprise (posted the process)Thought it would be good for a Valentines day gift but you could use it for your want box also. I titled my sisters box "What Gold cannot Buy" Maybe that's a box we could do too. Come up with all the things that we want that we can't purchase with money. Thanks for inspiring.

  13. Molly

    2008-01-10 07:36:43 -0500

    Such a good idea! A way to keep your treasures, think about them, let them drift away, fantasize. I find that linking to them on my blog ("I'm currently into: x, y, z") also helps. I can pretend they're mine without actually accumulating *more.* Because I'm anti-stuff now too. :)

  14. Molly

    2008-01-10 07:38:02 -0500

    Such a good idea! A way to keep your treasures, think about them, let them drift away, fantasize. I find that linking to them on my blog ("I'm currently into: x, y, z") also helps. I can pretend they're mine without actually accumulating *more.* Because I'm anti-stuff now too. :)

  15. emily ruth

    2008-01-10 09:24:52 -0500

    sometimes when i go to target or someplace else where the visual stimuli is so wonderful & overwhelming i'll just put things in my cart that i like & when i get up to the cashier i'll say 'i decided not to get these things, can i give them to you?' & she happily takes my pile of love & miraculously the need for them goes away...just having them for a minute in my cart is enough...funny how things work isn't it?

  16. J. Ruck

    2008-01-10 10:43:36 -0500

    Great idea! My husband and I are challenging ourselves in 2008 to NOT buy anything new. Now of course this excludes a few things such as food and other consumable goods. But so far so good...10 days...only 355 to go:)

  17. Penny

    2008-01-11 02:52:19 -0500

    I *want* that book.:-) Made my mind up awhile ago to buy only what I ABSOLUTELY love and try to keep it to necessities. I've been good.

  18. kelly

    2008-01-11 03:07:50 -0500

    I have one of those! :)
    Great minds?!?!? :)
    I just went through my "first of the year" list from last year and looked at what we've accomplished house wise. Feels SO good to write it out and have a "semi-plan" to go by.

  19. Jennifer H in AZ

    2008-01-11 03:21:17 -0500

    Can I say WOW!! This just totally hit home for me, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. There are so many things that I see and want, stuff I don't need & don't have the $ for but I just WanT. I am so going to start one of these books & maybe like you said just the act of writing it down will statisfy my wants.
    Take care,

  20. amy

    2008-01-11 05:08:09 -0500

    um..yr cool
    i already love you

  21. amy

    2008-01-11 05:08:31 -0500

    um..yr cool
    i already love you

  22. Nichole

    2008-02-11 02:47:48 -0500

    What a super great idea! I am making one PRONTO!
    I've had Life Artist for weeks now, and have read it several times...but am only just getting around to finding your blog! I also love your Flickr photos!

  23. Maryjo

    2008-07-05 19:39:57 -0400

    What is great with your idea is that you shared it with others.
    How wise you are to actually know what we really need, and what we don't need in life.
    Personally; I was raised without money, then I had money... then I had no money.
    I am forty years old, and I am thankful to know that money alone does not make me happy, and the things money buy do not make me happy.
    What does make me happy is love, the love of my family and my friends. Without these things we are left empty.
    Bless you for sharing your wise idea. You made us all wealthier, you have enriched our lives with your idea, and the sharing of your wisdom. Thank you.

  24. Sierra S.

    2008-11-11 07:50:22 -0500

    Brilliant idea! I've been using this now for a few weeks and it really helps prevent those impulse buys. Additionally I find that it allows me more time to really research what I want as well as time to find what I want for the best price. Thanks for posting this!

  25. lex

    2012-01-12 21:45:10 -0500

    i can relate. there are so many things we want but it is just a temporary feeling after buying said item. i have the notebook in your pic. its a beautiful recycled product

Login or Register to comment.