Monday, March 10, 2014

Lost Weight, Found Felt

I'm glad to report good news in the downsizing my actual self  department. I have lost 8.9 pounds in the past three weeks, so that means the holiday weight and a few additional pounds are gone. I will be leaving the warm weather soon, so I will have to force myself to be vigilant about exercise. It happens a lot less naturally in the colder climate.

I have been continuing to take advantage of the many thrift and consignment shops around here. I still shop and buy at regular places, but I'm getting better at finding what I need second-hand. I think that will be economical as I lose more weight and transition to smaller sizes.

Finally, I learned an economical craft tip from my friend. You can make your own quality wool felt for crafts by buying 100% wool garments in thrift stores. Then you wash them in HOT water and dry them.Of course they shrink considerably into a nice soft felt. I found a wool skirt in a large size with a stain on it and did this. The stain disappeared, and I have a nice batch of gray felt for elephants. Once I have completed this craft, I will post a picture.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Shopping

Although I know people talk about unbridled consumerism and environmental impact and such regarding Christmas, I just can't let this one go. There will be presents, and they will be wrapped (sometimes in reusable gift bags.) I'm cutting myself some slack here because I save and reuse a lot of ribbon, gift trims, and boxes.

I'm trying to avoid things that won't be used, but it's just hard to know sometimes. It helps when I can fulfill specific gift requests, but I still like to retain some element of "magic" and surprise. I hate giving gift cards, but I know they're great to get (I love getting them!), but even sometimes that doesn't work out. After my mom died last year, my sister found a stack of unused gift cards and tried to give them back to whoever had given them (when that could be determined.) I also found a few gifts I had given her that I don't think she ever used, so they're mine now. When I do give gift cards, I'm going to try to present them creatively (like a wrapped set of hangers with the clothing store gift card inside the box.)

I don't mind if people re-gift if they think someone else will actually use something they won't, and I don't mind trades among my recipients (as long as I don't hear some obnoxious teenage [and sometimes young adult] rudeness like "Do you want this? I hate nail polish." Leave my house first before you audibly hate on my gifts. Yeah, I heard you.)

Although I sound a bit negative, Christmas Day is usually wonderful at my house. The negativity stands out because it is not the norm. There is good food and there are games and naps and movies and lots of hugs and kisses. I am looking forward to the part in which the majority of work is done and we can enjoy each other.

Happy Holidays! :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I'm back!

Wow, I haven't posted in quite a while. Lots going on, including a chronic illness (probably at least slightly based on my over-consumption of food in addition to an anatomical issue). Another thing that has happened is that we now have a second home in a warm place, and of course, we have purchased stuff for it. Some of the things have been purchased in second-hand stores and thrift shops, but there is a lot of new stuff.

Traveling is one challenge. While we try to bring stuff from House #1, there is a limited amount of room in the car (especially since the dog and his crate require significant space.) When we fly, we can bring even fewer things. And, sorry to say, there is a bit of a boredom/loneliness issue in a new place, so I shop. (Fortunately, there are many wonderful thrift/second-hand shops here, but that's not always where I go.)

Christmas shopping is another issue, but I'll discuss that in the next post.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fabulosity Forever

I am inspired by this:
At our age, "we've got closets full of wonderful things," says Rapoport. So the challenge "is what can I not buy?" And thrift shops provide the challenge. "I give myself a $5 limit," she says. "If I can find something, great. And if I can't, then I really don't need it."

Friday, March 29, 2013

Gave Away 11 Things, Brought Home 5

Younkers has a wonderful sale every year in which customers can donate items to Goodwill and receive a 25% coupon (for Younkers) for each item they donate. I took 8 dresses, two jackets, and the top from some set I had (I seem to have lost the skirt) and donated them. I used my coupons to buy a couple of jackets and a purse to freshen up a couple of dresses I already own and turn them into possible Easter outfits. I also bought two pairs of shoes. (Husband: "I hope you donated some shoes then." I did not. I have checked with my ESL students, and the female passion for shoes seems to be a cultural universal.)

I still have way too much in my closet. One of the things I need to downsize is my body. Things have really gotten out of hand, and a good deal of what is in there doesn't currently least not comfortably. I keep thinking I'm going to get back into a lot of that stuff, but I have to stop thinking and start doing.

Downsize total: -6

Update: I wasn't thinking about the new glasses I picked up today, so:
Downsize total: -5

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Just Don't Check Out

When I heard this story on the radio, it made sense. Shopping does make me feel better. I noticed when shopping online, I like putting things in the cart, then going back a day or two later. Sometimes I edit my choices and make a purchase, but other times I just abandon the cart. I wonder if that would work in a bricks-and-mortar retailer.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's Not the Money, It's the Stuff

I find material abundance emotionally reassuring, and I have since I was a child. I hesitate to say I was poor, in that I had access to three meals a day and a small home that was comfortable enough, but compared to many of my peers I was at something of a disadvantage. Now, in my 50s, I am trying to develop a healthy relationship with money and stuff in the same way that I am trying to develop a healthy relationship with food.

I remember being wheeled in a shopping cart by my Aunt Leona, who took care of me during the week when my mom was working. Her kids were big cereal eaters, and although I was not, I loved the rows of colorful, waxy boxes in the cereal aisle; they made me feel happy and calm.

Later, in my 20s, I machine-printed  sale and information signs in a JCPenney store. My work room was right next to the stock room, and seeing the shelves piled high with merchandise for sale gave me the same feeling of happiness and peace.

In between those two times, though , in high school, I was at a friend’s house. I happened to see her ENTIRE drawer full of adorable, neatly folded pajama sets. It filled me with admiration and envy. I had nightwear, of course. My mom would make nice flannel nightgowns for me, and I would freely steal nightgowns from my mom and sister. I remember being too hot one night and getting a pair of scissors and lopping the arms off of the gown I was wearing. What my friend, had, though, was a wardrobe of sleepwear. I thought she must have felt like a princess.

Now I have everything I need, and a good deal of what I want. I don’t think I’m going to be featured on an episode of a hoarding show any time soon, but it does get a bit messy. I find keeping my things clean and orderly time-consuming and somewhat oppressive. I also think more and more about the social and political implications of my stuff. Who made it and other what conditions? Where does it go when I’m done with it and what is the impact on the environment? On the other hand, if people don’t buy stuff, how does everyone stay employed?

In addition, I'm thinking about how I want to live in my retirement years. Clearly, I can't hold on to all these things and live  how I think I want to live

What I hope to do in this blog is to explore my own relationship with money and stuff in a personal, sociocultural, political and economic context. I hope you will join me in that conversation.