Oops here and there…!

Hello everybody! Just before my quest to give up clothing purchases for six months, I caved and spent about $50 at Old Navy.  Since then, I have debated about returning two items on that receipt that I have not worn.

Earlier this week, I finally bit the bullet and returned a $12 pair of ill-fitting shorts!  And that’s not even the best part!  Going into any clothing store is just the absolute death of me.  I ALWAYS buy something, even if it’s a dinky little keychain that I don’t need but is on sale for 50 cents.  So, of course I went in, with the evil little voice in the back of my head saying, “Well, you’re already here, you might as well look around…it can’t hurt.”  EVIL!  Because being the kind of consumer I am, I ALWAYS buy something when I “look around.”  Prior to this no-clothes-buying task, I didn’t even give a thought to the idea of “window shopping.”  Looking and not buying?!  What’s the point?!

BUT, I am thrilled to say that, while my eye wandered initially upon walking into the Old Navy, I walked straight out once I had returned the shorts!  I felt amazing!  After that, I did walk around the mall for a bit, but small children on tricycles convinced me that I just didn’t belong there.

I left with a slight giddiness that I’ve never felt at refusing myself browsing time before.  I usually get grumpy because of potential items I might have missed if I am rushing through a store, but this was much more sense of relief due to my not breaking my six month ban.  I would have felt really bad if this post were to include an apology to all of you.

So I did it.  And I am happy.  Another small, itty bitty, ever so tiny win on my part.  But a win’s a win! And I am now $12 richer for it. 😀

 

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Out with the old…

One step further to simple living!  One of the things I recalled from Lyz’s blog when I first read it was that, during her six months of liberated shopping, she actually managed to get rid of some of her clothes that she found she was not wearing.  Since I read that, I just couldn’t put it out of my head.  Surely, the reason I shopped before was not because I needed three identical tank tops in three different neon colors, none of which I have worn more than once since purchasing.  Maybe I should reevaluate the things I already have in the hopes of learning what I really need.

I spent all of last month and part of this month living at a friend’s house to look after her dogs.  Once I was done and moved back into my much smaller apartment, I had a hard time putting all of my junk away in a respectable place.  I still haven’t entirely unpacked…

So I decided I was going to go through all of my stuff and take out what I had not worn in the last year.  I have a slightly bad habit of wanting to try on everything I think I might not need, which only leads me to say “hmm, well, it doesn’t look so bad on me…I’m sure I can find some excuse to wear it even if I haven’t touched it in 10 months!”

As I may have mentioned before, I recently lost a lot of weight since last summer, which has made it somewhat difficult for me not to buy new beachy clothes this season; nothing I had this time last year fits me at all.  But this means that I was able to get rid of a bunch of stuff that was too big on me.  As for wanting to buy new clothes?  I haven’t, and it turns out that I have plenty of tanks I use as layers during the winter, and one, yes ONE pair of cut off shorts that I try alternating with jeans and long skirts.  I’m quickly finding that wearing pants in the summer really isn’t all that bad (being from Florida and all…).

You can see below the meager (but winning) pile of junk that I sifted from my closet and dresser.  Mind you, this is all stuff I have previously scoured and decided worthy to keep in my wardrobe.  That, my friends, makes me even happier to announce that I was able to get rid of it and walk away with $30 in cash from Buffalo Exchange!  I like to think I’m helping my lady friends in need by giving away clothes that are in good condition and are stylish but just don’t fit me.  I’ll admit, there were a couple (literally 2) blouses that I just couldn’t part with for sentimental reasons.  Though they do still fit me, so I am going to try to fit them into my wardrobe in the next month.  Otherwise they go in the next “Buffalo Exchange” pile next time around.  I want to make this a regular occurrence (maybe every 3 months?).  But, I can happily say that I can hang everything hangable in my closet AND still have space for empty hangers! Trust me, folks, this has never before been possible.  I have become good friends with the iron in the last year.

One thing I am learning to do throughout all of this is that, aside from this not being easy, I am learning to value the little wins.  I know I only went through my clothes and that I have two full-size book shelves in a 10×10 room (when did this happen?!), and a desk that I cannot put anything on for all the clutter… but if I focus on the things that still need to get done over what I have actually accomplished, I will get overwhelmed.  Keep on keepin’ on, essentially.  Wish me luck!

Declutter

Today I got rid of my old phone.  The screen died earlier this week, and I was unable to do anything but make outgoing calls by blindly dialing numbers I had memorized (like, a total of 3), and receiving incoming calls.

hello?

I am devoting an entire post to this because of how I felt around the issue.

In today’s technological jungle, people generally have their personal electronic devices for less and less time before it breaks or they upgrade to the next newest device.  Being the frugal, sensible person I am, I don’t see the need to upgrade or buy a brand new anything unless I absolutely have to.  I have had my phone – a simple, non-smart, touch screen phone – for almost two years.  Maybe that’s a lot for some of you, I don’t know.  (My boyfriend has a new gadget replacing the old one about every 3 months or so) But I just didn’t see the need to get a new phone if the old thing worked.

That said, you can only imagine how much information was on this non-smart phone.  Well, it was a lot (to me, at least).  I had photographs of my dogs, family, friends, and places I’d been.  I had saved text messages from loved ones of sentimental and informative value.  I had messages from people I no longer talk to.  I didn’t have the sense to back it up on a SIM card (which didn’t come with the phone), so after multiple attempts to blindly back up my information, I decided to give up.  I had to send the broken phone back or pay for the new one.

This whole situation really got to me.  It awoke my old pack-rat tendencies, and my sentimental alarm went off.   I read a couple of articles on hoarding and how to get rid of stuff you don’t need (found here, here, here, and HERE), and related to just about every one of the things they attribute to full-blown hoarders.  I had attached sentimental value to the phone itself even though I had no way of retrieving the information that was on it.  I thought that by keeping the phone, I could somehow, some day figure out how to get my photos and texts off of it.  It kind of reminds me of people who cryogenically freeze their loved ones in the hopes of some day finding a cure for ailment or old age.  And I gotta admit, it’s kind of scary. (Though nice knowing I’m certainly not alone – Google will yield thousands and thousands of search results if you type in “clutter”, “getting rid of stuff”, or “living simply”)

Hasta la vista, telefono!

This morning, after stalling for over a week, I finally kissed my faithful old phone goodbye, sealed it in the prepaid return envelope and dropped it into the nearest mail box to me.  Done and done.

I’m sure many of you have done something similar to this, and can describe my forthcoming emotions.  Of course I feel some sense of loss for this inanimate object that I have come to place irrational value upon like any other well-bred American consumer.  However, I also felt an immense amount of relief and ease that I no longer have to worry about the information on this phone.  Luckily, the phone store was able to save my contacts which I would say is probably the most important part of my old phone.  So other than that, what did I really need from that phone?  REALLY.  I came to terms with the fact that I really didn’t need anything from the phone.  Not a thing.  Sure, I’d love to be able to show others what my dog looks like dressed as a pirate, and I do wish I could read that love-filled text my boyfriend sent me last month.  But I know that my dog is adorable.  If I really wanted to, I could dress him up again and take another picture.  And I know that my boyfriend loves me; I don’t need a text message to confirm it.

It took actually getting rid of the phone in every sense to realize that it didn’t matter.  Once it was out of my hands, literally AND figuratively, I felt relieved in letting go of something.  Lord knows I have plenty of other things to think about!

This was just one tiny, itty bitty step on my journey towards living more simply.  I take it as a personal win, no matter how small.  You gotta start somewhere, right??

Oh, and just in case any of you were curious:

Day something-something…

So it’s been over a month! Woohoo!

I cannot tell you how quickly this no clothes shopping thing is actually going! One month down! It’s remarkable. It’s probably because I went on a clothes binge right before my abstinence and now have plenty of things to wear for the summer (I know, I am still ashamed). 

Anyway, as most recovering addicts will tell you (hehe), it gets easier and easier the more you resist engaging in harmful behaviors. I really think the same applies for my “addiction” to clothes shopping. I don’t even think about it, really. Except for the other day driving by a cute second hand boutique the CUTEST dresses were on display outside and I almost ALMOST pulled over “just to look, I promise!” Luckily, my boyfriend was driving and he knows about my self-promise, and like any good boyfriend would do, kept on driving.

I have, however, made a few extraneous purchases I could probably have gone without…

I went to Vermont over the weekend with some girlfriends, one of whom owns a summer house there. It was absolutely beautiful, and my dogs had a total blast, but I spent quite a bit of money on gas and souvenirs.  Mostly gas.  Thank goodness my car gets good mileage, otherwise I would really be in trouble.  But even the amount I have gone through this last month tells me I need to slow it down.

I hate being restricted based off of my income.  I want to live my life spontaneously and be able to drive up to Vermont at a moment’s notice because it is super fun, and not have to worry about conserving gas.  I guess a lot of people can relate to that, but I really want to do something about it. As it is, I am still spending more money than I am making – I really don’t make all that much (darn taxes…). 

So now I am brainstorming ways I can earn some extra income while I start getting ready to go back to school and hopefully move into a bigger apartment. I’ll keep y’all posted on some good ideas I’ve come up with!

Stay tuned! 🙂

Uh oh…

I’ve come to a terrifying, alarming, shocking revelation.  I am not fitting into my summer clothes! 

Before meeting my boyfriend, I was on a weight loss kick and on the down curve.  And, while I’m not blaming him, I have since ceased to lose weight and throw all of my good eating habits out of the window.  So it’s really no surprise that I have to do the pants dance to get my shorts on. 

It goes without saying that I am starting my workout plan back up tomorrow, but this incident has really opened my eyes to this whole project. 

I have struggled with my weight all my life.  At the end of my high school career, I saw my weight balloon 20 pounds and then shrink a whopping 60.  Since then it has been one big roller coaster, and every time I throw the old clothes away as soon as I don’t fit them anymore.  I have since developed a MUCH healthier relationship with food, and have found a better way to maintain a healthy weight.  So no matter how much I want to go buy maternity pants in this bloat-inducing heat, I have made myself a promise, and decided to deal with my physical discomfort in other, more holistic ways.  (Staying hydrated, eating less salt and fat, etc)

I’ll let you know how my workout plan goes!

Ripped Jeans

Hello again.

So I have this pair of pants.  They are maybe 4 or 5 years old.  I don’t know how long people typically keep any one pair of jeans – I’ve never been the same size long enough to have them wear out.  But this pair I have that are 4 or 5 years old, they’re pretty worn.  And they’re my favorite pair.  They fit me like a…pair of pants that fits really well?  I just can’t bring myself to part with them, especially since they have been with me through two weight gains and losses.  But you can see here that there is a problem:

Yeesh...

Yes, those are massive holes.  Yes, they have been patched in other places numerous other times.  Yes, they are right in the crotch.  You can tell these pants have seen better days.

BUT

As per this no clothes-purchasing challenge, and my desire to save them, I have decided to keep them and see if I can patch them better than just closing up the hole.  I have seen it done, and don’t think it’ll be hard.  I’m just a big ole’ procrastinator.

I’ll let you guys know when I get off my butt and fix these.  I’m actually excited to do so – these pants and I have been through a lot and could use a little TLC.

I should probably stop wearing them in the meantime…

Poor pants...

Whew!

Ok ok I know…I am a terrible blogger!  I really don’t have any excuses for not updating in such a long while.  My meager attempt at an excuse might be that I have been out of town this last week very, very busy.  But I realize that’s not even half of an excuse…

Anyway, I have been really stressed about my spendings lately.  I went to Wisconsin last weekend to visit the boy’s family.  It was a bundle of fun, but also quite a blow to my wallet.  I ended up renting the car for 4 days since *someone* has terrible saving sense and spent all of his money on bills the month prior (cough, cough).  But that’s ok.  I feel good about contributing to some of the expenses for the both of us.  It’s just that I wasn’t expecting to spend so much when my total budget for this month was less than $200 and I had already spent a bunch on more gifts for friends and stupid retail therapy…

Yes, that’s right.  I caved.  I had a stressful day yesterday and ended up taking a drive that ended me up at Michael’s.  I have been needing some art supplies to get started on my painting for a while, so I guess it wasn’t entirely frivolous.  But I should have gone into it much more savvy-like.  As a mere human with infinite rationalizing and excuse-making abilities, I keep saying this was an investment for my future art business.  And it is.  But I still feel icky about spending so spur of the moment.  It’s not about my getting a new pretty easel 50% off when I needed one desperately anyway.  It’s not about my justifying it by saying now I can paint.  I could have painted without an easel and artist’s board.  So I am stuck between excuses and necessity.  *sigh*

I do hate spending without thinking.  The worst thing is that I was fully aware that I was stress-shopping when I was doing it; my boyfriend even vocalized my thoughts when he saw me digging through the clearance bin.  It’s true.  But now I have what I need to really paint without making any more excuses.  I need to get started.

That’s what this is really about.  Now I really don’t have an excuse not to do the things I have been meaning to do for so long.  That scares me.  The potential for failure and disappointment is ever closer.  I’m sure many people can relate.  It’s why most people never achieve the things they were destined for. I have to stop pretending that more things are what’s going to make me happy and let me achieve.

Amazing how this blog has turned into so much more than just clothing purchases.  I kinda had a feeling it would, but it’s interesting to actually see it manifest this way.

Thanks for listening to my rant. Here’s a little eye candy from my trip:

moo!

From my boyfriend’s dairy farm!

yay beach!