The Year of Living Minimally – Week Thirty-four


I’m writing most of this blog on Monday (for early Friday publication) and we’re expecting a foot or more of snow on Tuesday into Wednesday. March can do that to us here in southern New England – tease us with springlike days of sun and mild temperatures, then wallop us with whiteout conditions. So it looks like like the garage clean-out is on hold – again. (We got 14.5″ of snow)

credit cards

In this cashless society, it’s so easy to just swipe. How much actual cash do you carry around with you? For me, it’s usually about twenty bucks, same with my husband. I never carry my checkbook with me. The ease of swiping a credit or debit card also brings the ease of buying, even if you don’t need the item. It’s why so many people have tons of stuff – and they’re still miserable.

So before you swipe, ask yourself if you really need the item. Really. Make it a habit to pause and ask. Would you buy this same item with cash?

coupnos

Remember coupons? There used to be tons of them in the Sunday newspaper (remember newspapers?). Manufacturers wanted you to clip coupons to save on purchases, but most of the time you ended up buying stuff you didn’t really need or want. Save a dollar when you buy two boxes of rice. But you don’t need two boxes of rice. Still, you want to save a buck, so…

There are coupons, and online coupons, everywhere. And there’s nothing wrong with shopping smart – heck, if I can save ten bucks on a pair of shoes that I need and want, I’m going for it. But ask yourself (again), “Do I need this?”

When you buy, try to purchase high-quality items that you need and want. Shopping can be an escape, an emotional high, and very satisfying, but you don’t want to regret the purchase when the credit card bill arrives. (And I don’t need to remind you that debt, especially credit card debt, is a four-letter word!)

Now, where should I donate lots of extra plates and cups and glassware?

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Twenty-two


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I can’t claim to have been successful this week. My ‘Big Three’ ~ the garage, my office, and the extra bedroom, look the same. They all need major purging, but I didn’t touch any of them this week.

Some weeks, Thursday rolls around and I reflect on what I did, what I didn’t do, and what got in the way. Sometimes there are good and valid excuses for not making the progress I’d hoped to make. Some weeks, I can’t find an excuse. This was one of those weeks. Sure, I kept up with the day-to-day necessities. But I didn’t accomplish anything related to this project. And I have to own that.

I’ve written previously about this Christmas being particularly minimal, and I’m happy with that. I thought I was done – mostly food gifts for siblings and friends, a few asked-for books for my husband. Then, this past Sunday, I met a friend for breakfast – yay! – and afterwards, she suggested we stop in to one of my favorite boutiques. She had a little shopping to do. I was feeling confident – my shopping was done, and as much as I love the place, there was nothing there that I needed.

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But then…..I was surrounded by stuff. Fun stuff, shiny stuff, sweet stuff, adorable stuff. Buy me! No, buy me! Wait, buy us both! Okay, not really. But I felt something inside – pressure? guilt? – something that kept telling me I could buy just a few more things for the people I loved. So I did. Forty bucks of stuff – true, it was all food, and the recipients will enjoy everything, but still. I bought only because I felt an internal pressure to buy, not because anyone told me to, not because any of it was necessary.

And I’m not saying it was wrong! Giving gifts is fun, and being with my friend was a treasure. I even got a kick out of watching her choose items, ask for my opinion, knowing she’d make others happy. And the boutique is a small business, so I’m very happy to patronize them, even if it was just forty dollars’ worth.

This weekend, with nothing else on my calendar, I’m determined to tackle my office space. I’m not even sure I can take a ‘before’ picture. It’s horrendous! But check in with me next week, and together we’ll see what I was able to accomplish. 😉