Five months into a new rhythm of pandemic life, my favorite retailer, Loft, sent me a birthday coupon: $10 off any purchase. Typically, I would be delighted by this gift. Instead, I felt a sense of vague interest mixed with indifference. I starred the email and made a note on my calendar of the coupon’s expiration date.

When the date neared, I casually navigated to the clearance section of Loft’s website and scrolled through dozens of tops. I picked out four items and added them to my cart. After a few moments, I removed two of the pieces, keeping only the ones I liked best, and stared at the total. The indifference mounted. I closed the page and in the weeks since, have never once regretted the missed opportunity to buy a few clothes as a birthday gift at a steep discount.

The culprit for this general inclination against making the purchase, even in light of a less-than-ideal birthday? It all boils down to the apt title of a BuzzFeed article: “I Don’t Feel Like Buying Stuff Anymore.”

The why behind the sentiment is multi-layered. Unemployment, furloughs, and stay-at-home mandates have gripped the country. And while I’m incredibly grateful that my job has been stable and I’ve been able to work from home, it’s not lost on me that many people are struggling. I’ve also become more cognizant of the need for a robust savings account. In light of all this, purchases that used to feel like well-deserved treats now seem like frivolous luxuries.

Working from home has also illuminated a few blind spots about the way I interact with my possessions. I’m around my stuff all day, every day. Over the past few months, I’ve rearranged my bedroom, ordered a desk, organized my closet, and noticed the things which I simply never use or don’t even care for. “Being with your stuff all the time can make you resent it,” writes Anne Helen Petersen in the BuzzFeed piece. On the flip side, I’ve never cherished the things that I love as much as I do now. 

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