saving things for a special occasion materialism wear and tear

On Special Occasions And Wear & Tear: Why Are We So Afraid Of Letting Our Things Look Worn Or Used?

Life is way too short.

Do you care if your things look used or are you a “save it for a special occasion but eventually never use it” kind of person?

Related: 5 Signs It’s Time to Clean Out Your Closet

Every time I hold a favorite item of clothing, perfume bottle, or makeup product and find myself thinking do I want to use this right now? I don’t want to waste it, I try to fight against the urge to “save” yet another item for a more “special occasion“. These days, I’ve been thinking more about how so many of us ascribe to that kind of mindset, effectively limiting us from use things for their intended purpose for the sake of aesthetic or because we’re afraid of “wasting” them.

@artizzlexo REMINDER to USE your nice stuff 😭😭 stop saving it for “one day” LOL!! #samplingsamples #makeupsamples #benefitgimmebrows ♬ original sound – Bar Rescue

Over on TikTok, or any social media TBH, you can see how people are obsessed with keeping their items, especially things like expensive bags or shoes, looking pristine and perfect—to the point of never using them for the purpose with which they were designed. You may be familiar with the sentiment of not letting your sneakers crease. That sentiment makes the rounds in real life and on social media. I’ve grown to be increasingly more critical about it.

All of these instances, and my own internal response to them, eventually got me re-evaluating my own mindset about using things for special occasions. If we’re going to live in this increasingly consumerist world, we might as well make good use of the things we have. Things are meant to be used, and not just for special occasions that may or may not come. Is living our life every day not special enough of an occasion?


The value of certain items, whether monetary or sentimental, is a primary reason why we’re not very keen on using them on “ordinary” days. Rare, special, or things that have sentimental value are of course things we wouldn’t want to ruin or use up. Those often get a pass. They don’t make those celebrity perfumes like they used to!

It’s also understandable to want to save fancy items for fancy occasions—we’re not saying you should immediately finish your bottle of shockingly expensive perfume in one week or use the pretty dinner plates every day. People can also want to save things so they can pass them down, or to make them last.

Essentially, things we’re talking about here are like apparel or accessories, functional items or pretty things that you got for the purpose they were designed for. A gorgeous dress, a pair of boots, an aromatic candle. A sticker or journal, even! Ultimately, it’s your prerogative to decide on what you do with your things, but it’s worth examining why we are so often afraid of using things or even just letting them look worn or used.


Apprehension towards use could stem from the thought that it’s not worth it to use something unless it’s a special occasion. It would be a waste! And honestly, what with the state of the economy, that’s such a valid thought. Why regularly use and immediately use up an expensive item? Why put your shoes in “danger” of wear and tear when you can’t afford another of that pair? Things cost so much these days—wouldn’t want to spend more than you have to.

If you use up something to the point of emptiness or ruin, you essentially will no longer own it. And in this world, ownership is huge. Ownership can become a status symbol, a marker of identity, even. In this capitalist, consumerist, materialistic world we live in, who we are is what we own. The more perfect they look, too, the better.

No, this isn’t meant to be an excuse to use your things up so you can buy new ones. You could—that’s another reason to use ~things~. But we’re trying to break away from the mindset that ownership of more items in perfect, unused condition, waiting for special occasions, is the peak of existence. It’s not a waste to use something for the very reason it was made, and it’s not a crime to ruin perfect condition in the process.


@cleosharkie just do it just do it just do it #relateable #keepgoing #shineyourlight ♬ Softcore – avdloss

Waiting for that special day to use something or not using it for fear of it no longer looking flawless often leads to that item getting truly wasted, in a way. Perfume expires, leather cracks, your tastes change, things get forgotten.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to free ourselves of the apprehension that stops us from using the things we love? Granted, it’s a tall order to be more cavalier with our things, but little by little, we will stop letting our material items run our lives. They’re important for a myriad of reasons, of course, from making our lives easier to serving as an outlet for self-expression. But what good are they just sitting somewhere? Just to look at?

Use, wear, and tear signify something is being used for the purpose it was designed for, and is well-loved, imbibed with more meaning than just being another purchase. Life is more than just what we own and how perfect they look.

So place that sticker you have in your drawer on something you like. Wear that outfit you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Spritz on that perfume. Write on that journal. Crease your shoes and wear them down. Use what you have well and love them, even when they no longer look perfect. Out with saving things for a special occasion, in with making every day special.

Continue Reading: How Long Does Makeup Last? Here’s When It’s Time To Throw Away Products