Friday, November 23, 2018

The Black Friday trap

Photo credit: Modern Minimalism on Facebook
I've never been one for shopping on Black Friday.  It's mostly because there's almost nothing I want in the world enough to get up at those hours, deal with those crowds, or wait in those lines for.  And usually the sales don't have anything to do with things I want or need anyway!  I've always believed that buying something you don't want just because it's on sale isn't saving money, it's spending money you would have saved by not buying anything.

I was feeling a little bad about being broke on Black Friday, though, especially because this year there is a particular store I would have liked to check out during the sales.  It turned out that their sales weren't that good this year, though, which made me feel a little better -- but then I saw this image circulating on Facebook, and that made me feel good, too.

So, again, remember: You're not really saving anything when a sale convinces you to buy something you weren't going to originally.  You're only saving money if you find a sale on something you were already going to get.  So waiting until Black Friday to buy something you want at a discount might be saving money, but buying something on Black Friday just because it's on sale is not.

In the end, I didn't do any shopping today whatsoever.  What about you?  Did you save 20 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent... or 100 percent?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Envision your goals

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to get out of my goals to downsize and declutter.

One of my primary goals is pretty simple: just to be able to walk around my house without noticing clutter.  I've gotten tired lately of stepping around things, or noticing the dust collecting on things I don't touch very often.

I'd really also like to reduce the number of things I have in my house, with the goal of making things easier to clean and making it easier to find places for things and keep them put away.  I envision closets, cabinets, and other storage areas that are cleaner, less cluttered, and more organized.

I think it's important to conceptualize what I want to get out of this.  I don't want to become completely minimalist, I just want to cut the stuff that I keep down to what's most important to me.

Last night, for example, I finally put a pile of nightgowns into my giveaway box.  I'd been thinking about doing so for a while but was on the fence about it.  I finally took the plunge last night because I reminded myself that I haven't actually worn them in years.  Who knows if they even fit?  And if I don't like them enough to want to wear them, I'm not going to make myself feel bad by trying them on.

I'm trying to make more decisions like this, as I start thinking more about decluttering as well as in my life in general.  I've also been trying to think, Do I really need that? before buying something.  While I am not normally opposed to getting something, enjoying it for a short while, and then getting rid of it, I'm at a time in my life where funds are a little tight, and I'd rather save my money for things that are more important to me.  If I'm not going to keep it for the long term, it's probably not terribly important that I buy it in the first place.

This blog post seems to be leaning a little toward the original idea for this blog, where I intended to get rid of something else every day.  But I mean it in a different spirit this time.  My plan before would have been so much more time consuming per item, which I think would have made it more of a daily burden.  Instead, I want it to be something I can do with an item or two in passing, with maybe a little time each week devoted to going through things.

What about you? What goals do you have for downsizing, decluttering, or whatever it is you'd like to do?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Making time to declutter

One of the toughest things I struggle is finding time to go through things, declutter, and clean.  I've been extremely busy lately, and my house is definitely showing the strain.  Not only do I have all the usual clutter, I've been adding to it by not putting things away as reliably as I usually do, and I haven't cleaned in forever, either.

I've found a good way to get around the lack of time is to keep a box, bag, or bin in my room or closet where I can stash anything that I run across that I don't want to keep.  That way, if I'm putting away laundry or doing some other activity and find something I no longer want, I can just add it to the pile, and take everything in that box or bag to the thrift store when it gets full.  It saves me from having to find time to go through my entire closet, or my entire kitchen, all in one sitting.

The problem is that right now I have enough clutter that I don't have enough room for such a box or bag in my closets or somewhere out of the way, so I have to leave it out where it's in my way all the time.  When I already have enough other things in my way all the time, it's annoying to add another.

Another thing I think I've learned is that I can't expect to do an entire room in a weekend.  I just don't get that much time, plus it's overwhelming to do anything like that for more than just a few hours.  After a while you start making bad decisions because you start second-guessing yourself all the time.  I start vacillating wildly between wanting to get rid of everything willy-nilly, and wanting to get rid of nothing.

So instead, this weekend I made time to work on one box in my office.  As some background, I have a number of boxes and bins stashed in my office of old paperwork, receipts, and other miscellaneous stuff.  I have been meaning to go through it all for at least half a year, but finally I decided this weekend to do just one box, and it was the best decision I've made.  I put a bunch of things away to get to that one box, and once I cleared out that box, I felt like so much space had been made.

I'm not done with the contents of the box yet -- some of it was added to the pile of stuff to be shredded, some of it was added to a "to do" pile, and some of it is mementos that need to be filed away -- but it's progress!  I think if I can do a box or basket of receipts or something every day or every few days, I can file everything at once, recycle everything at once, shred everything at once, and then be done with the entire thing.

Ideally I'd like to do a little more with it tonight, but we'll see if I can find the time -- I have a bunch of other work to do too.  Hopefully I'll be able to find some time in the coming holiday week at the very least!