Hello, all! I hope the weekend treated you well. I have been staring down this rainy, cold Monday in the face determined to be productive. I always find these to be the hardest days to sit down and feel accomplished, however I am slowly but surely getting to a good place. Maybe it’s the extra energy from eating well and exercising- either way, I am happy to be making progress!
Last year when we moved, I began to get this itch to just clear out the house. We were a year into marriage and already had an attic, basement and garage full of stuff. So.much.stuff. I remember just standing there staring it at. I felt so discouraged by what I had allowed in my home. There were lots of contributing factors to this. We had brought together two furnished apartments, received two carloads of wedding gifts and also had piles of hand-me-downs from family and friends. In a word: it was a mess. I hated tripping over boxes and old tables and chairs. It pushed me beyond frustrated to angry. The moment I found myself yelling at stuff I knew something had to change. So as we packed up to make the move, I looked at what we had and gave each item careful consideration. From that point on, only items that I 1. used on a regular basis 2. really cared about came with us.
Somewhere along the way, I became really attached to stuff growing up. At 25, I felt like a mini hoarder. It was the no-don’t-get-rid-of-that-I-wore-that-on-my-first-day-of-school syndrome. Every item had a story and I felt a need to make more memories with every piece I brought into my house. It was all too much. So this year, I am working on changing my mindset. I believe there’s value in loving the items in your home, but there has to be a balance. When you love because it’s filling a hole, that’s a problem- a huge problem that I struggled with.
Like a lot of people, I love a good bargain. Fortunately, I’m really good at finding them too. Which, for day to day living is a good thing! But when you couple that with a heart that is searching for wholeness from stuff, it’s a slippery slope. I have a really hard time passing up a good deal so that fact coupled with my ability to often find the best prices has caused a lot of trouble to both my soul and bank account in the past. With this self reflection in mind, I had several points to come to terms with.
1. Small amounts repeated over time equal big amounts. This probably sounds like a no-brainer but when you’re shopping in the moment, it doesn’t seem to compute. A $10 purchase where you’re saving $20 seems like the obvious choice. However, make four of those purchases over the course of a month and your purchase costs more than the original prices.
2. When you make flippant decisions on purchases, you won’t value the item in the long run. If you take away anything from this post, carry this with you! Saving money is awesome and I’m all for it! However, when you only have saving on the brain, you’ll begin coming home with bags full of stuff that looks great in the moment, but will lose it’s luster after a short time.
3. Sometimes, buying cheap means sacrificing quality. This is really big when it comes to clothes and even food. Think about it. If you’re trying to save money so you go and buy a cheap $5 tshirt that ends up losing it’s shape after only a few washes, you’re going to end up re-purchasing that shirt maybe a quick month after you purchased it. Repeat this cycle and you’re buying a new shirt every month. So, at the end of the year you’ve spent $60 on your $5 shirt. Yikes. Now, this is just an example. There’s obviously no way to give an exact formula to bargain shopping. But let’s say it’s half the amount and you spend $30 on the shirt. You could have purchased the same shirt from a different brand for maybe $25 and had it all year long. So you’ll save money, not to mention the time you spend running around re-purchasing.
4. It’s a big world out there, and it’s always going to be full of more bargains and cute pieces. This is a hard truth for me. I will see something in a store or online and immediately think, “that’s it! that’s the perfect thing for that spot and I’ll never ever find something as perfect as that!”. When the reality is, I probably will find another perfect something some other time. Plus, it will probably look totally different than the first item so there’s really no way to keep up with the constant overflow of stuff out there. There will always be adorable, perfect pieces out there.
These are tough concepts to take into account. Positive ones, though. So with those ideas in mind, I have tried to re-assess how and where I spend my money.
First of all, I want to start by bringing less stuff into my house. I want to be careful about what I’m purchasing and to be buying with intention. This means staying out of stores unless I have the intention of buying something specific. This also means that if I see something extra from the list while I’m out, I need to give it some time and thought before springing for it. I need to go home, think about it for at least a week and only go back if I truly have a use or proper space for it in my home. If I can’t think of a good use for it, I need to let it go.
The next thing leads me to the new series I am starting about investment pieces. I want to become the type of person who gives careful thought to what I purchase but who also purchases items that are going to last the test of time. This applies to both quality and my affection towards the piece. I have found that when I have to save money for a special item, I tend to hold on to it for longer since I have actually had to work hard to get it. Since they are usually a bit more expensive, the pieces are better quality and can last longer physically as well.
This year, I want to holistically assess my life when it comes to everything I bring into my house. I will use this series as a way to take a good hard look at what I have, decide whether it’s something I really need and to purge the stuff I’ve accumulated that is just not useful. Hand in hand with that, I want to make lists of investment pieces to work towards in all areas of my life. Moving forward, I want to work towards these goals to break the pattern of buy, waste, give away, repeat. I want to have purpose for my life in all areas including my home.
I will start posting weekly updates to this series next week. I hope you all join me in this journey to find fullness in all parts of my life.
Until next time!
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