I used to shop. A lot. Online, in stores, any way I could get my hands on the latest and greatest, that’s what I did. But look, I get it honestly. My mother is a champion shopper. Today, in our high-tech world, my parents live in an area free of pesky things like the internet. Even cell service is spotty at their house. She can’t even get QVC, which, now that I think about it, is a good thing.
But this doesn’t stop my Mom. Nope. She sticks to her old tried and true means of acquiring stuff. She gets scads of catalogs snail mailed to her house each month, and she takes frequent shopping trips into the nearest towns and city. Dad, bless him, gently nudges her to curb her shopping. Yeah, good luck with that. She’s in her 70s. Not that she can’t change her ways, but really, what’s her motivation? She’s bored beyond belief. Let her have her fun.
I don't have that excuse. I justified my purchases by keeping my individual purchase prices low, ignoring the bottom line. But the truth is, I metaphorically nickel and dimed us into an uncomfortable financial situation.
To put it mildly, Terri wasn’t too happy about my spending. But I had to realize what I was using the shopping for before I could change. Once I fully understood that immediate gratification wasn’t ever going to make me happy, I took steps to discover what would make me happy.
And I quit shopping. Sort of.
Let’s be real. It wasn't easy. First, I implemented a simple rule. If I was going to purchase something, I had to get rid of 2 somethings. For example, that cute new pair of jeans meant I had to give away two pairs of pants that didn’t fit well or just didn’t thrill me. I had an embarrassing amount of clothes that I wouldn’t even wear, so this rule was actually pretty easy in the beginning. Gradually, I began to shop smarter.
By this time, I realized I didn’t want to be such a materialistic person any longer. That led to my second rule: If I didn’t absolutely love it right now, I didn’t buy it, or keep it. No more, “but when I lose weight this will look great” or “once I learn how to cook x, I’ll need this”. Nope, if it didn’t meet an immediate need, or it didn’t fit perfectly today, forget it. Filling lawn bags with clothing I was hanging on to for all the wrong reasons felt intensely freeing.
To be honest, it was fits and starts at first. But as my closet became filled with only clothes I loved and fit perfectly; it became easier to stay true to the rules. As my kitchen and other rooms began to look less cluttered, I had an increased desire to clear things out.
We made countless trips to various charities with the car loaded down with items to donate. We enjoyed extra space on our shelves and in our cabinets and closets, allowing us to be able to easily find what we needed. And our home began to feel more peaceful. Like a refuge rather than that draining feeling that came from being overwhelmed with all the minutia of our lives.
Worth every painful choice.