what january taught me + thirty one

So far, I have really been enjoying the 365 photo project.  It has pushed me to blog words I didn’t think I had and it has been healthy and  liberating allowing myself to write about the little things.  If you have not already, I encourage you to give it a shot and leave a link in the comments if you feel so inclined.

Yesterday also marked the end of our first month of serious budget living.  It was an event that was more empowering than I had first thought possible.  We did very well and managed to cut our grocery bill nearly in half while also paying a substantial amount down on our line of credit.  We also managed to stay out of overdraft for the entire month.  Instead of feeling poor, we feel rich.  Who would have thought it!?

This budget and having time to really look at my relationship with shopping has really begun to shake me down.  I have been wanting to go through my over stuffed closet and reduce my clothes DRASTICALLY to about 20 beloved and classic items.  I linked to this image a week ago and have been wondering if I could be ruthless enough to do it.  I know it is time to let go of all those jeans I wore when we began dating nearly 10 years ago.  I would also love to let go of the giant clothes I wore during my pregnancies; you see, instead of buying proper maternity clothes I just bought big things and looked like a house because of it (Oh how very thrifty of me).  There are clothes that are just a smidge too small or unflattering or uncomfortable, but I hold onto them because I like the colour, the fabric, or the quality or even have a memory attached to it.  I am thinking  I could sort it, put it all in bags and then hide it in our loft for a few weeks.  If something haunts me, I can dig it out, but if I can’t remember or don’t miss it, it is time to let friends pick out what they’d like and then cart it off to the local charity thrift store.  I think I am ready.

Yesterday, our basement/crawl space flooded.  At first we thought it was due to the insane January downpour we had the day before, but it turns out it was a clogged drainage pipe from our washing machine.  At any rate, it was enough to drive us both to distraction.  It made me really question why we even keep all that stuff hidden away.  It just allows us to continue to hold onto things that no longer serve us well.  We forget we have the items or we forget where they are and then buy new items only to find duplicates a year later.  Well, we managed to purge a good car load full of stuff yesterday and have a lot more to purge.

When Mike and I moved in together, I had never really lived on my own except for the 8 months I spent in a dorm room at college whereas he had already been on his own for years.  I arrived with a giant Uhaul truck full of things while everything he owned fit into his little Honda Civic hatchback.  We are very different people when it comes to stuff.  I am a nester; a collector; the safe one.  He, on the other hand, forms no attachment to his things, but had dropped everything so he could live in Uganda for 6 months before we had met.  I know now who had the better stories to tell.  I think, after nearly 10 years, we are about to find a happy middle ground.

We have all heard the quote ““Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”, but I think is time to really start living by those words.  Our house would not be considered “tiny living” at 1700 square feet, but we would like to start living by smaller means.  It is very true that the more stuff you have the more time you spend fretting over losing it, cleaning it, rearranging it, and maintaining it.  I get what the monks are trying to tell us now.  This may sound extreme to some, but the truth is, we ate better this month on nearly half of what we were spending in previous months, and I think we could be very happy with less, but higher quality stuff.

So yes, I feel motivated, hopeful, and even a little shaken up (in the best sort of way) by this budget adventure.  It is motivating to see that it is possible to stay out of overdraft and not have to dip into a line of credit.  It makes me hopeful that we can have the things we want (it may just take a little longer) and that by me saving  us money in the kitchen, it is just as good as me making money.  I am shaken up when I think of how I have filled small voids in my own landscape with things and shopping.

It’s time to get ruthless.  Will you join me?


go gently + be wonderful



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  1. Posted February 1, 2013 at 11:24 am by Julie | Permalink

    You’re giving me the urge to purge in a big way, and I thought I’d done quite a bit before, but now I want to get rid of more stuff. There’s so much stuff in our home, and it’s just too much. We don’t need it, it annoys us, and it’s ridiculous.

    I’m making it my goal by the end of the year to have purged the whole house from top to bottom every nook and cranny of stuff we don’t need, use, want or like. I did my closet a while ago, and the things in the bag waiting to be donated are not things I have missed even once. I do believe there are more items in tehre to be rid of, though.

    This weekend I”m going to do my closet and my kitchen cupboards. They need reorganized and things out of them we don’t want/need/use/like.

    I did my craft stuff last week, but have some paper to pass on to a friend also.

    Maybe I should make a list of my own as to where I”m purging and work my way through it all!

  2. Posted February 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm by Kim | Permalink

    Oh January has been so good to you. It is amazing how alive we feel when we meet and exceed our expectations. And it gets the ball rolling, moving you to make other changes.

    I am the purger in our home, my hubby is the nester. I pack up stuff for him to drop off or take somewhere and years later I find it up in the loft of his workshop. At least it isn’t in the house.

    Good luck on the purging, it feels so darn good when it’s done.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:20 am by Michelle | Permalink

    See, that’s how I feel. I would love to purge the entire house, and I do little bits here and there, but my husband wants to keep everything “just in case”. He thinks if I give all my stuff to the kids I’ll just buy new stuff at some later point. Nope, not a shopper. But my Amazon tally, now that is a big one. Books, books, books.

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