I’ve never been one to celebrate New Year’s as a way to make life changes. I’m a firm believer that those changes can come at any time and shouldn’t be put off until the first of next year. That being the case, I find it thoroughly ironic that since I’ve returned home from the holiday celebrations I’ve not done much other than purge my house and life of un-needed, excessive, or un-wanted items and activities. With all of the activities in my life (and the need to stay sane) I’m doing what I can to make life simple.
Notice I didn’t say convenient.
My daughter, Hubby, and I have rid ourselves of easily a 10×10 roomful of long unused items and an automobile (aka “The Hotrod”). We’re considering selling my little motorcycle since I haven’t ridden it nearly as much as my brother-in-law has. We’re making plans to convert our kitchen back into a full-blown kitchen rather than an eat-in chicken. We’ll get rid of our computer desks and our computers and switch over to laptops, thereby freeing up our office and returning it back to its intended purpose as a dining room. We’ve donated 3 large boxes of books and videotapes to the library. We’ve sold DVDs and CDs.
I’ve also been purging some unhealthy lifestyle activities from my system lately. I limit how much time I spend in front of the computer and the television. I’ve started working out again. One of my gifts was a Kindle, and I’m thrilled at the number of trees I’ll be saving. I’m also thrilled at the prospect of reading all of those classics I trudged through in high school and college once again, but this time for enjoyment purposes – and for free. We’ve even downloaded some “living books” for homeschooling. I think the Kid has had almost as much enjoyment out of the Kindle as I have.
I’m tired of cleaning all the time. I’m tired of having to move stuff out of the way just to clean other stuff. I’m tired of having to shut the spare room door because I can’t find room to store all the things we’ve accumulated. I’m tired of having boxes of stuff that I don’t even know what is being stored because we have so many dang boxes of stuff from our grandparents, our childhood, and stuff we’ve just kept! I’m tired of having to trash one room just to clean out another.
So – what does this bring me to?
Conveniently enough, a good friend of mine, Xan, all the way back up in Chicago is hosting a challenge this month: NoBuyFebruary. One that you can bet I will be joining even though I am limiting my electronic time.
For the month of February she is challenging that we don’t buy a thing that we don’t absolutely need. Seriously. Americans are renowned for all the crap that we have. We have stores dedicated to Crap (with a capital “C”). Most grocery stores carry Crap toward the center of the buildings, and for that matter, so do many Big Box Stores. All that stuff by the checkout line – CRAP. The stuff at eye level, yep usually Crap. Ask yourself, do you really need that magazine? Do you need yet another flavor of lip gloss or Chapstick? Will you absolutely die if you don’t take advantage of the white sale? How many Persian cat figurines or bobble heads must you have?
Why keep buying stuff if you don’t need it?
Oh, I’m so guilty of this too, trust me (why do you think I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff, given it’s 15 years of accumulated Crap). My Kindle is a month old, already full of free books that will take me months to read, and yet I actually bought a book the other night. Our hallway is decked in a collection of handmade and imported masks and I still find myself browsing through those at art stores. I bought a mini-evergreen as a Christmas tree because it was only $5.00 and I was too lazy to get our artificial out. I’m not allowed to go near candles nor yarn until I use up my stores. I almost asked for the $250 KitchenAid Pro (ON SALE!!!) for Christmas just in case my smaller model broke within the next year or so….
Here I am at Pier 1 eyeballing a new set of dishes because the cheap set I asked for and received 2 years ago is starting to chip already.
We have been trained as consumers to become hoarders… to compete with the neighbors to have the biggest inflatable holiday decorations, the nicest car, the best patio equipment, the rockingest entertainment center, the newest computer equipment. All of which will be outdated within a couple of years and be considered …. you guessed it.
And where does it all go when we’re done with it? Yep, the trash. And when 311,958,838 people throw out their Crap they run and get more, and in two more years that Crap will be replaced and so on.
So, do you think you can manage one measly month – 4 weeks – 28 days – and not purchase one thing except those things necessary for survival? Can you get by using the stuff you already have in your home? Can you imagine how much money you will save as a household? Can you imagine how little trash you will have?
If you went one step further, if you cleaned the “Crap” out of one room, how much trash would you have from that one room?
Please be sure to stop by and visit Xan at her blog and sign up for her challenge if you’re up for it. I think it would be interesting to keep track of your usual expenditures and see how much money you think you save this coming month. While Xan is not a normal writer for this blog (none of us are dabbling in normal after all), she is a regular visitor here and challenges my way of thinking often. Even if you don’t join us, at least give a second thought the next time you go shopping whether or not everything you need in your cart is a necessity or a frivolity.
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