Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ridiculous Amounts of Stuff and My Buying Battle

Right now I'm reading, 
"7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess"
 Let me tell you this book has made me cry, laugh, and really made me look at my life and some of the things I'm doing and really ask myself, "Really Sylvia, this is the best you can do?" or even better, "Wow Sylvia, you need to make some changes!" 

At the beginning of the year I started the One Little Word workshop. A part of living my word Flourish was having a set of intentions and actions for how I was going to Flourish this year. One of the items that I listed that I wanted to work on this year was to reduce stuff, de-clutter, reduce spending, as well as reducing my debt. I won't lie this is by far the hardest thing for me. I'm not sure how but it never fails that I say I'm going to stick to a budget and then I do well for a bit then for some unseen reason I seem to fall off the wagon. 
Hello, my name is Sylvia and I have a spending problem! 
I was reading Jen's book, and in one chapter she list the different clothing items she had in excess, and I thought, "Wow, this is so me!" I continue to spend money and sometimes even use the excuse that, "I need it!" But really what can I really NEED?? So I decided to follow in Jen's steps and really take stock of what I had. I needed to get a good idea of where my excess was. I am not proud of the following list but here it is. This of course is just the tip of the iceberg...just a snapshot of my over excess.

23 Make-up Brushes (I have no idea why I have this many. In my defense I'm almost positive that most of them came free with make-up kits and such. Oh, and I figured out that I use maybe 4 of them.)
11 Eyeliners  (why do I own this many I have NO clue?)
19 Colored Lip Glosses and Lipsticks
27 Chap-sticks! (This is just the plain non-color type. I really have a fear of running out and buy them all the time)
55 bottles of Body Wash, Lotions, Scrubs, Face washes and Perfumes.
17 Different types of Hair Care products.
65 T-shirts (this has been reduced to 42, I know right! Not a big difference but I'm trying!)
23 Coffee mugs (this is not counting the dozen or so I have at work or use to hold paint brushes and pens)
22 Different flavors of Tea 
18 Different flavors of coffee in both K-Cups, beans, and ground.
13 Travel Mugs
16 Quilts, Blankets, and Throws
86 Paintings, Framed Pictures, and Wall Ornaments
72 Pairs of Shoes
188 Sharpies/Markers (Can I use the excuse that I'm an artist and I need this many for my craft???)
24 Scarves
4 Calendars (This one I happened to notice and really had to ask myself, "WHY?" and that's not even counting the ones on my computer and phone)

Wow...that list, well it's more then slightly embarrassing to see it like that. I really feel like I need to taser myself when I say I have nothing to wear or when I feel the need to toss items in my Target basket as if I'm stocking up for a small country. I already started to reduce and really need to do more. I need to have this list so I can have it staring at me when I go to buy more coffee, tea, beauty products, or shoes (or any of the mentioned items get the point!).
So I think my plan is going to be to do some research and find a good place to donate items. I have some students that I know could use some of my items I've been purging. In the past I have just made drop offs to a Thrift Store, but I want to do more then that. Honestly some of this stuff just needs to be tossed. Why is it that I seem to hold on to items that never really get used? I mean really, 23 make-up brushes?? That's not an item that you can donate and if I'm not using them why keep them? And I know that this will sound like I'm making excuses but some of those t-shirts and pairs of shoes are from all the way back as far as the '90's (which my nephew informed us was, "The really way back old time." 

How have I become so consumed with stuff? After Katrina I could fit my whole life into a Nissan Sentra. After I lost most of my stuff in Katrina I said I didn't want to collect things again, that I wanted to invest my money into experiences. I think some of that was my way of dealing with the fact that I was kind-of messed up with the fact that I had become attached to things and then felt hurt when I lost them. I decided that experiences and memories couldn't be taken from me so that was safe. I think this also played a big part to me deciding to traveling as much as I have. I want to get back to that mind-set. I want to invest in memories and people. I don't want to horde up things. It's easy to type this, harder to follow through. How did I lose the battle of buying stuff? Why do I feel better when I buy things and what does this say about me? I may have lost the battle with buying but I'm praying God helps me win the war!  The best part is I don't even live in a big place....I mean really I live in a very small space! I mean I still sleep in a twin bed...remember, because that's all will fit in my room. But I guess it's relative when you think about the fact that what I call small is considered normal for places like New York.

So I'm going to do a little challenge for myself. I'm going to go the rest of the month of Feb. and all of Mar. without buying any of the following items.

  1. Coffee (This does not include already brewed coffee...I can still hit up Starbucks especially since I have money on my card thanks to awesome people that gave me that as a Birthday gift! This is never a bad gift. It's something that does not add to my clutter and is perishable...and well it just makes me HAPPY!)
  2. Tea (I just went and ordered 4 boxes of my new addiction, Clipper Wild Berry tea, so I can be sure to make it through this challenge...I know! I'm weak!!!
  3. Make-up or beauty products. (The exception is shampoo and conditioner)
  4. Shirts
  5. Shoes
  6. Note Books, paper packs, or any type of paper craft items. (If you saw my craft room you would understand!)
  7. No pens, markers, or pencils. 
  8. Coffee mugs, tea cups, or travel mugs.
  9. Scarves
  10. No buying book downloads or itunes
  11. Jewelry 
  12. Underwear (I seem to have a ridiculous amount of underwear and for some reason I seem to wear the same ones over and over...I of course wash them in-between wears) 
  13. No lip gloss! (I won't lie just typing that makes me nervous and I did a mental count to make sure I had enough of my favorite kind the blue Moisturizer one to get me through the challenge)

    Ok, so just realized that the list ended on 13 items...coincidence, I think not! Me not spending is spooky all by it's self, so adding a little thing like a list of 13 only seems to add more Gris-Gris to this haha! But I got this...and I'm sure that all of my family and friends that have nothing else better to do and end up reading this will no doubt help to hold me accountable. 

    There were a few other items that I felt led to do after reading 7. I'm going to start contributing to my Dad's compost and recycle all perishable items. I'm going to try and find a homeless shelter to donate my items to rather then just dropping them off to the Thrift Store. And I'm going to check out the West Bank Farmers Market. 

    So in the spirit of Reducing I'm having a Swap Party on Friday. I was reading about them in Flow magazine and thought, "This is a great idea and looks like a fun time!"
    So I googled it and seems that they are a big thing and all over the place. I also found that they are certain types of Swap parties that are just for clothes or jewelry and some can have a lot of rules and be open to the public. I'm doing my first one with a collection of friends and were not sticking to a lot of rules. I used Facebook to send out an invite and this was what I typed up after looking at a bunch of different swap party rules, guidelines and different invites.  
    I sent the invite below to a friend who is going to use it to do her own. 

    You’re Invited to a Swap Party!
    We’ve all got perfectly good items that we no longer want. I jacket that just doesn’t fit right, a framed picture that doesn’t go with your new décor, a lovely jewelry box you got as a gift that just doesn’t work with the rest of your décor, picture frames you don’t use, or a piece of jewelry that is not your style.
    Well bring it to the Swap Party!


    Where: The Latham House

    What to bring:
    1. Some type of party finger food
    2. A minimum of 4 gently used items. (See examples below)

    *Please let’s all decide upfront that since we are all friends we won’t be offended if some of the items that are being swapped were past gifts from one another. This is about having fun, de-cluttering, and recycling instead of disposing of something some one else may be perfectly happy with.
    *Also, no one should feel obligated to take any items. If nothing strikes your fancy then no big deal. I know I’m trying to de-clutter but don’t really want to do a yard sale. Plus this just seems like a fun time.

    Swap Party Rules:
    1. Make sure that all items are clean and in good condition.
    2. Bring a variety of items. Also, bring the quality of items that you would like to receive.
    3. Items will be displayed and nothing can be claimed until the host opens the Swap.
    4. Each person will be given small pieces of paper to put their name on and they will use these to claim the items they want.
    5. If more than one person puts their name in for an item the host will pull the lucky winner from a hat.
    6. Everyone is responsible for taking home any of the items they brought that were not claimed.

    Examples of items to bring:
    -Jewelry: Ex: Necklaces, bracelets, earrings that haven’t been worn.
    -Craft items: Ex: Scrapbooking items, Journals, yarn, material.
    -Gently worn clothing: Ex: jackets, scarves, hats.
    -Purses or bags: (make sure they are cleaned out)
    -Household items: Ex: Lamps, framed wall hangings, dishes, candle holders, picture frames, clocks.
    -Gift Items: We’ve all been there, gotten a gift that just isn’t us. A candle that may not be a sent we care for, another journal when we already have a stack at home, another cute

    So I'm pretty excited and I'm sure a fun time will be had by all.  Well, I'm off to get ready for the week. I have to say that it was another successful weekend of no school work...Yay me! I'm still sticking to a work free weekend and using my planning periods for productive planning. I got to spend the day at church, then reading, and just relaxing and enjoying the lovely 70ish weather...pure heaven!

    ~Till Next Time

1 comment:

clairebear said...

A Swap Party sounds great...we just moved, and I am determined to streamline in the new house.