guest post: learning to truly love what you have

Happy Monday! This is a first for brip blap – a guest post! The inaugural guest post comes from paidtwice of Iโ€™ve Paid For This Twice Alreadyโ€ฆ, a 30-something married mom of two with a PhD in Genetics …and she’s a 3rd degree blackbelt in taekwondo. She and her husband are on a mission to get out of debt by 2010. She writes one of my favorite blogs. It’s full of great ideas about frugality and finances, and I’m a big fan of both the content of her blog and her writing, which is extremely engaging. So after you read this, be sure to check out her blog or subscribe to her RSS feed!

I’m on a mission in my house to abolish almost all long term storage. The motivation, at first, came from the fact we moved into a home that has less than ideal indoor closet space, and when I stored some items in our garden shed, they were attacked by vicious cardboard-chewing ants. It became clear to me if I wanted to use the shed for storage I would have to invest in plastic airtight tubs, and I wasn’t financially able to do so right away. As I plotted and saved for my ant-repelling tubs, I started going through all the things that now cluttered our bedroom in boxes waiting to be stored and realized – there’s not much point in having stuff if you aren’t going to use it or even look at it for the majority of its existence.

So I decided right then and there to mostly abolish the idea of long term storage in our lives. I still have some storage – pantry storage for when I stock up on a sale item, and seasonal storage for clothing (it wouldn’t be very frugal to get rid of my kids summer clothing just because it is winter if they haven’t outgrown it) but no more storing things “just in case” we might need it 15 years from now. I have allowed a small amount of “sentimental” storage for items that have emotional meaning in our lives, but no more storing something just because it works and we have it, even though we have no intention of using it… ever.

But being a frugal person, or at least, a person who aspires to be frugal, I couldn’t just recycle or donate everything that was once in a box. I have recycled some of it, donated some, and I did sell some of the clutter, but I also rediscovered things I’d forgotten we had. For example, baseball mitts, bowling balls, pool cues, roller blades, and more, pieces of a life we led before we had children and had a lot more free time. But now that I’ve found it, I’m committed to putting these things back into use. I can teach my son to play catch, I can rollerblade around our quiet neighborhood with my spouse, the whole family can go bowling on a discount night.

Combing through the clutter has also allowed me to rediscover clothing I’d forgotten about and can wear again, and also helped me to be able to let go of clothing that I’ve been hanging on to “just in case” I might fit it again sometime. It is like I found a whole new wardrobe, and I never left the house. Getting rid of things that were just cluttering up my closet lets the ones that I really want to wear stand out and be noticed.

I still have a long way to go. Piles of toys to sort through, boxes of sentimental items I haven’t quite figured out what stays and what goes, but in all of it, I have a newfound appreciation for what we do have. And that’s truly helped me “want” less new and appreciate what I already have more.

11 comments

  • I just discovered a bunch of old CDs, which I’ve started listening to. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so much fun because it doesn’t cost anything but it’s like having something new in your life.

  • Thanks for letting me guest on your blog! It was fun ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m also trying to purge my extra stuff. I’m content to just donate it to Goodwill, but I have pulled a few items out to sell on eBay. I hope to become more organized in 2008! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Great post. Cleaning out the clutter and getting rid of stuff I don’t use is high on my to-do list. I have also discovered that it seems to be a never ending process!

    It is amazing to me how much cash I can get out of this ‘junk’ that I would never miss anyway and that is great motivation to continue the storage bin purge.

  • I’m trying to get my wife to purge some of her old clothes. She reads this blog too, so I don’t have to say it in person ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mike

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  • An excellent guest post, wasn’t it? To Mike’s point – I hate to admit it but in our family I’m probably the one who is hanging on to too many clothes – I hate getting rid of my old t-shirts. You never know when that REO Speedwagon t-shirt will come back in style, do you?

  • I see your REO Speedwagon shirt and raise you an Alice Cooper one….

    :blushes:

  • Hilarious – I saw Alice Cooper in concert once – I think it was the best show I’ve ever seen. He does a radio show somewhere in southern Ontario which is pretty cool.

    Mike

  • Alice Cooper has far more cred than REO. Until he started doing the Staples or Office Depot or whatever they are commercials. Ah well, he’s just trying to get paid like the rest of us, I guess.

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