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10/04/10

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Permalink 01:49:52 pm by cassie, Categories: Announcements [A]

I'm in the midst of a purge phase of life. I'm currently minorly obsessed with the whole minimalist movement, Buy Less Stuff, Zen living, etcetera. I don't take it to nearly the extent that some do, although I think if Mark were on board and I wasn't already a stingy spendthrift as it is, I think I'd love to live with 100 things or less like some of the bloggers I read.

I've always been interested in the idea of living with very little, even if I don't always act on it. I'm used to living thrifty; the majority of my wardrobe is either thrifted or bought on super sale and I keep a pretty tight grocery budget, blah blah blah. I allow myself some true luxuries (iPod touch, I love you) and treats (Dunkin' Donuts coffee on the days I work, I also love you very much), but I like a good deal usually more than buying a really exciting thing. I've found that there are certain things I really enjoy having and use that are worth spending a solid dollar's worth, but those things are very few, and everything else it just kind of... accessorizing. I spent years trying to find a pair of cheapo sneakers that didn't make my hips and knees ache and finally coughed up the eighty bucks for leather Danskos that I've worn nonstop, in perfect comfort, for the last four years. I spent more on a sturdy and versatile everyday pocketbook than I've probably spent on clothes in a year, but that makes sense because all I ever wear are jeans, tee shirts, cardigans, and shift dresses. They all cost, like, ten bucks a piece on average, I don't have to match them because they're all solid colors, and I wash them all in my washing machine together, college-fratboy style. I'm a low maintenance girl.

The price of the thrifty mindset, though, is that you end up buying a lot of things for five bucks that are not as awesome as they should be. You still spend less every year on a whole wardrobe than some people spend in a week on a couple of items of clothing, but you end up with things you really aren't as thrilled about as you might have thought and that's just as much of a waste of space, time, money, and sanity as anything else. I truly have to work at weighing the elation of a good, cheap, quality find with the question of whether it's really something I need and will use. Tricky, tricky.

I like my house uncluttered. After sixteen years of sharing a room with multiple siblings, when I moved out of the house into my own, I was ready to have things be open, fresh, clean. I feel better with an empty counter and sparse drawers. It's taken me all of my married life to whittle down all the junk I had in my old bedroom to a couple of Rubbermaid bins, but every so often I get the urge and go though them again and I find I care less and less about the tchotchkes and extra stuff that I can't remember the significance of. I need fewer tee shirts and pairs of jeans and shift dresses. I give away things that I know I'll never miss even a week from now. I love that feeling, so freeing.

Somehow even with this and the less and less of my own things I have, I always feel like I'm still too much in excess. Maybe someday when I am a little wiser and more resolved, I'll feel so free as to be living out the 100 Things life. For now, a few extra bags to the Salvation Army, a few more things given away and thrown out, and I'm happy for a few months with my clean counters and emptier drawers. I'm ready for the change of season and being holed up in my house by the chilly days it brings with it. I'm looking forward to keeping things simpler than ever and focusing more on the things I can enjoy that don't stifle me with their sheer presence, things like chocolate chip cookies, good books, apple crisp, and evenings at home with my favorite people. I think those things are worth keeping around.

3 comments

Comment from: bd [Visitor] Email
bdWe periodically go through "household purgings" where we rid ourselves of belonging that haven't been touched for several months.
The hardest thing for me to deal with is hobby-related goods (ie: backpacking equipment). Every hobby comes with it's own slew of "stuff." I wanted to get into brewing (beer) but when I started looking at the sheer amount of "stuff" involved, I decided I'm just fine trying out my friend's attempts at brew, and the local breweries probably do a better job of it than I could anyway.
The other problematic possession is books. Abbey and I both suffer from this ailment, but we've managed to keep it in check by donating a boxful of books every now and then.
10/05/10 @ 19:36
Comment from: Karen [Visitor] Email
KarenLiving in a cluttered house does something to people. I hate having clutter. Sometimes I even get in such a mood about the cluttered kitchen that I want to toss the microwave just to have a clear counter.

I'm pretty happy about moving into a smaller house since the pack rat side of me is being forced to purge some unnecessary things, like the 4 sets of measuring cups. This is making the minimalist side of me much more at peace.
10/14/10 @ 09:00
Comment from: Cassie [Visitor] Email
CassieIt totally does, Karen. I think it makes you feel trapped or something. I feel the same way and sometimes in my mini fits about things in my own house, I think I do go a little crazy. If I was seized at the right time and nobody would care, I might end up tossing a microwave or something. :)
10/14/10 @ 10:10
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I like to multi-task: wife, writer, nurse, Christian, ne'er do well. I do all with equal gusto.

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