Monday, March 14, 2011

Day #3 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life --- Think Before You Buy

Day #3's mission is:

Create a checklist of questions that will help you decide what to buy and what to forgo.  Below, we have listed examples of questions for your list.  At the very top of the list, write down your major life goals in sound bites.  For example, you might write "get fit", "travel more", or "study wildflowers."  Put your list in your wallet so you can consult it when you go shopping.  When it comes time to purchase something, determine whether your goals and the purchase are harmonious.  (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 21)

OR for the serious simplifiers---

Take a month long sabbatical from buying anything but "perishables" --- items you use up quickly like gas, food, flowers, and toiletries.  During the month, jot down the nonperishable things you think you need or want.  At the end of the month, look at your list and cross off as many items as possible.  In our society, most of our needs are wants. (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 26)

The example questions she mentions in the mission above that will help you decide what to buy or what to forgo are:
Will it enhance my goals?
Will it create more work?
Do I need it?
Is it truly a bargain?
Do I think it will make my life easier?
Do I want it because it's trendy?
Will it bring my family together or tear us apart?
Do I want it because it will make me feel better?
Will I have trouble getting rid of it in the future?

I find it amusing that flowers fall into the list of perishable items that you can buy during the serious simplifiers buying sabbatical.  I want flowers as much as the next girl, but I think my husband would find it suspicious if there was an unending parade of unexplained flowers that suddenly appeared in our house.

I think I can definitely do making the list of questions, but could I forgo buying non-perishables for a month?  Hmmmm....I'm going to mull that one over.  In the meantime, here's my outcome from Day #2 (Practice Living Without It)---

At my house, the worst drawers are (ahem) in my craft bureau.  I looked at this drawer and felt overwhelmed so...

...I closed it and took out this bin instead, which was only one category of stuff (i.e. cross stitch) and less scary to tackle.
So I went through it and only found a couple of things that needed to be recycled---a photo from a magazine of a Christmas tree decorated with nautical ornaments (why???) and a photocopied quilt pattern of a quilt I made like 10 years ago.  Then, I got together a bunch of cross stitch kits that I'm never going to do to donate.
Here's the bin after I was done---
Granted, I'm still missing one knitting needle (I'm a really bad knitter so I should probably donate the knitting needles after I find its mate), but I figure it's got to be in one of the other drawers somewhere.  Surprisingly, I didn't find anything in the bin that I felt ambivalent about.  I either wanted it or didn't want it.  I'm sure I'll find something somewhere along the line that's going to stump me though.  Did anyone make it through more than one drawer?  If you did, I salute you!

See you all tomorrow for your Day #4 mission and Day #3 results!


Sarah said...

I cleaned out my 'recon' bins- clothing items I save to repurpose when sewing. I know I will never get around to using it all and the bins were bulging! I got rid of at least 4 shopping bags of clothing from those bins. I also sorted out fabric I didn't want anymore and some I've put in the goodwill pile and some to sell on another board.

Thanks for the kick in the pants! :)

Jamie said...

I've completed day 1 and day 2. There's a knee-high stack of books heading out and the junk drawer only has batteries in it.

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

Great idea! I posted my life goals and a copy of the questions you have on your post here:

I think it will really help to clarify what are necessary purchases from this point on.