Friday, July 24, 2009

downsizing

So, I have been thinking about something lately. I have always thought of myself as a simple person, one who required little to survive and less to be happy. But, taking stock of my life and the things that clutter my closets and home, I realize that somewhere along the line, I have lost sight of that person.


I do not own designer clothes and accessories. My home is finally furnished and pretty much decorated now, but it did take 6 years to get that way. But there are several different ways that I spend excessive amounts of money.


First, clothes for my kids- of course, I know they need them, and need them often. But I love love to see them dressed cute, which usually translates as more money than I would ever even consider spending on clothes for myself. To be fair, I usually buy Adler's (and now Hazel's) clothes at the end of the season for the next year, so I get 50-70% off. So it knocks the prices down to reasonable, but of course, I just buy twice as much.

Secondly, I buy toys and books and baby items in excess. Not big toys, but when we go to walmart, I will let Ad pick out a truck or a dinosaur or maybe a book. And I know this may seem harmless, but I also love to buy things like bubble bath or new sippy cups or something fun for Ad to eat every time I go to the store. How could I possibly get pleasure out of new plastic toddler forks...but I do! As a result, we have a playroom and a bedroom FULL of toys and also a closet in my room dedicated only to toys (to you know, rotate them out, which is how I justify having that many toys in the first place!), that you can barely even open without things falling out. A lot of his toys are gifts, Christmas and birthdays and such, but either way, he has more toys than any one little boy would ever need.


Thirdly, I buy a lot of food. I am awful about buying things, getting tired of them and not finishing them off so I end up throwing away, I dare say, $100s of dollars in food when I clean my pantry out. Garbage bags full. I can't tell you how large my grocery bill is each week because it would be overly embarrassing. People suggest coupon shopping, but I am just not going to do it. I have tried, believe me, but I am not that organized or disciplined.


Lastly, I am a product junkie. I love cleaning products for my house and skin. I may not utilize them all, but you can open my cleaning cabinet right now and find at least 5 different kinds of bathroom cleaner alone and about 30 other bottles of different products guaranteed to clean better and faster and without any scrubbing. I have THREE bathrooms whose closets and cabinets are full of products promising to clean, sheen and make me younger. But, as the walking contradiction that I am, I rarely even wear makeup!


It takes a lot to admit this because it is shameful. I always thought that I would raise my children differently, that they couldn't get whatever they want whenever they want. I want them to appreciate what they have. I want them to be grateful. And I want them to be content with a few toys and imagination. I never even imagined I would be any different, until suddenly, I look around my house and realize I am.


Now I am in this place and while I know its definitely NOT too late to change, I wonder how to do it. I know cutting out shopping trips is the most obvious and easiest way to help. But, as a stay at home mom, I think sometimes (a lot of times!) I look for reasons to get out. I "forget" to get diapers and need to run out and get some, and end up with a buggy full. Its a social thing I guess, the need to be out with the rest of the world. I noticed I was doing better about it the month or so before Hazel was born because Adler and I were going to the park where other moms were there with their kids too. It served as my social life. But now, with Hazel here, its just a bit too hot to do that like we did. But I guess I need to just suck it up for another few months until it cools down. I am the ONLY one, though who doesn't like to be home all day for more than a day or two at a time? But I digress, whatever I do, I really want to change the way I spend money. As a wife, mother and Christian, I need to be a better steward of the gifts that God gives my family. So, a new journey begins....

5 comments:

Sara said...

I couldn't have written that post myself. I spend way more on my kids' clothes than I ever would think about spending on mine and the funny thing is that they don't even know they are dressed cute. It's strictly for my benefit. And, I'm the same away about sippy cups, bubble bath, and beauty products and I try to find ways to justify it..."the kids needed more bath wash or I needed some mosturizer with SPF 30" HA! When you figure out how to do it, let me know!

InWondermom said...

You can do it chickie. It is just giving yourself the freedom to quit that kind of buying. It feels good to cross over to simplicity! I have 4 house cleaning products and 1 facial cleaner I will use up before I buy some more, no kidding! I could buy more just dont want to!!

Aunt Dee said...

I, too, love to buy all the face stuff, cleaning supplies, etc. But every once in a while, I see how long I can go before buying anything new, and try to use up all my stash. I get very creative, and see just how far I can stretch a product, even cutting off the end of the toothpaste for just ONE MORE brushing (and get 3!!) or cutting the lotion bottle apart. It's very satisfying to know you've used the product down to the last drop! Then recycle the plastic. That way, when your cupboards& cabinets are bare, you can go back out and shop til you drop!
Or you could justify what you buy by saying you are stocking up for hard times, in case the economy gets worse. ha ha

Sara Watts said...

Just got Hazel's birth announcement and, Ashtray Marsh, she is adorable! What is your address? Around Christmas, we'll have a birth announcement of our own! I have a Herrod St. address. Is that still correct? Tell Eric I said Hello!
Love,
Sara

Taylor & Krisa said...

Amen, sister! What is it about kid's clothes that they are so darn addictive? I have a severe magazine addiction myself. And Sephora just calls my name. And none of it really amounts to anything in the end. Keep us posted on your journey - you may end up helping the rest of out!