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December 31, 2014 / thegirlwiththedinotattoo

perhaps a little less consumerism next year

I will never be a minimalist – I like clutter.  Rather, organized piles, of which I know the contents and why they are where they are.  I don’t like having an excess of “stuff” and “things”, and knickknacks have never really been a thing for me, except for my little Domo on my desk at work.  Every so often, after a bout of thrift-storing and yard-saleing I tend to purge my possessions and hold a yard sale and gets lot of money that still amounts to far less than I originally spent on all said items that were really never useful in the first place.  But I got a great deal on them!

The past few months I’ve been reading/obsessing a little over trying to “declutter” my lifestyle and to green it up a bit too.  My poor husband thinks that this is just another phase that I’m going through, but I’m getting him on board too.  The thing is, a lot of people think I’m good with my money because I shop sales and don’t pay full price for items, and while I may not have expensive taste, I very much want to be better with how I spend my money.  So does Sallie Mae, they want all my savings.

Now I’m not going to get into too much detail on any of these books, but if I’m listing them, I highly recommend reading them!

Enter book #1: “Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture” by Ellen Ruppel Shell.  This book said what I’ve slowly learned over the course of my short adulthood life, mostly regarding how we end up paying more in the end for cheap stuff that doesn’t last.  Not to mention the social and economic tolls that it takes – I highly recommend this book for anyone who thinks they’re a great bargain hunter like I do.

So that got me thinking about the longevity and impacts of my purchases, even more so than all my fair-trade sourced food and goods that I seek out.

Enter book #2: “Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson.  I happened upon this book as I was freaking out over how many Ziplock baggies I was using because I’m very good about bringing my food to work so I don’t spend money on eating out and junk food.  Now, obviously a home that produces no waste has gone to some extremes, many of which I’m not willing to do, but the book was a great guide that showed me many ways I could adapt into my lifestyle many waste-saving techniques.

And book #3 gave me quite the project for the last month: “Unstuff Your Life! Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good” by Andrew Mellen.  Now, most people would not say that I am disorganized (I am in fact incredibly organized, I know where all my unnecessary possessions are and how to find them) or that I own an exorbitant amount of things (my husband and I live in a 750 square foot apartment with a decent sized storage space in the basement, which is also very well organized).  This book though walks you through every aspect of your life, from the kitchen to the closet, and even your office and car, and helps you to ask the right questions that will streamline everything.

And so, for the past month I have been having a “Declutter December” where I purge and clear out one room or closet at a time, and then bother my friends on Instagram and Facebook with crappy pictures in sepia tone of all my unwanted stuff.  Pending a yard sale and Craig’s list I should make some good money, but my goal is to not accumulate it all back again.

I’m quite proud of how much I’ve been able to let go, and know that there’s still plenty of room to keep purging, but it’s a good start.  I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, and this just happens to be New Year’s Eve that I’m writing this, but being the last day of December and my month of decluttering I felt a brief moment of reflection weighing upon me. That and I haven’t blogged in several months.  It was great to finally feel as though I have an appropriate number of clothes, that all my dishes are useful, and to find my M.I.A. cd!!  It was in the Deftones case, not sure why, but now that they’re all in a zippered sleeve and the empty cases found a happy home via Craig’s List, I don’t have to worry about losing track of such things anymore.

I did realize though that with all of my social media posts about my decluttering adventures I was having the desired effect of inspiring a few others to follow suite (hey, it’s more PC to be preachy about materialism and eco-consciousness than it is about being Christian), although this may backfire on me later.

Example: the week before Christmas I told my aunt I would bring an apple cider cake for dessert (it was awesome, everyone loved it, thanks Pinterest!).  Despite the recipe calling for a bundt cake pan and I having gotten rid of mine many months ago I figured this would be fine – part of the reason I was willing to get rid of the items I only used once a year was knowing that friends and family would have ones that I could borrow.  My sister loaned me one, and we both promptly forgot it under our seats at church which was then locked by the time I remembered it.  Oops.  So I grabbed another one from a friend, and we got talking about how she kept seeing my posts and wanted to do the same – to streamline and purge and just simplify her house.  I laughed and told her not to do too much, because I plan on borrowing from her everything that I had gotten rid of myself, like said bundt cake pan!

Oh well, in a world where we all only own what we need, the cakes may be much more square, but I’m sure they’ll still taste the same.  I hope that in 2015, and however many years beyond that, I will learn to be better on how I spend my money, and not just to give the finger to consumerism (but maybe a little), but so that I have more time to do the things I love.  Like baking cakes, organizing, and perhaps a little more blogging.

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