Monday, January 3, 2011

Spend less, Give more.

Life is complicated. And, for me, it's messy. Too messy.

It's a new year and as I do every new year, I resolve to get organized. Mind you it's a life long struggle of monumental proportions. I, who am married to a creature of habit and the mother of a girl who has all her ducks,all in a row, all the time. It's daunting! Look at this closet belonging to my granddaughter, Ruby- it's perfectly ordered by her mother, my Amanda. This girl, who rightly described herself as one who has "a place for everything and everything in it's place" went on to describe me as "someone who also has a place for everything: when she puts something down, that's it's new place".

It is no lie, that after my father's death, when I opened his dresser drawer and saw multiples perfectly white, perfectly folded and perfectly stacked undershirts next to similar stacks of underwear and socks, that I nearly fell to my knees and I actually said out loud, Oh, Poppa, why could I not have inherited that "neat and orderly gene" from you? Why? I who need it so much?

A few years ago, I read a newspaper article about a small group of friends who committed to not spending unnecessarily in the year ahead. There was a general recognition among them that maybe they were doing a lot of unnecessary buying and they challenged themselves to stop. They were amazingly successful, even committing to making gifts instead of buying them. I read it and thought, it would be a double win for me...I'd spend less, AND I'd have less to manage.

I started out with good intentions, but, I only lasted a few weeks. I lost focus and I didn't have the strength to do it. But, I'm thinking it's time to try it again. I look around at my piles and I know I just own too much STUFF. My closet is packed. How many white blouses does one girl need? And, dare I say, how many pairs shoes is one too many? I need to try something radical, so, why not start here? I am not sure the full scope of what I will do or how long I will last, but, here is what I'm going to aim for.

Buy only what is genuinely needed Use what I have before replacing it (thinking make-up, hair products, lotions, etc)When I do need to buy something, try a less expensive option and see if it works wellTake lunch to work instead of resorting to fast foods or expensive lunches outUse the greeting cards and stationary I've already purchased Read the books already on my shelvesBless those who need a blessing instead of indulging my every desireListen to music we already own vs adding to an already huge libraryStop renewing subscriptions of magazines I don't have time to readUse the clothing already hanging in my closets and in my drawersGive away clothing I haven't actually worn in the last yearContribute more to missions and other causes I believe inBuy more fresh and less processed foodBrew my own coffee in my own kitchenStart a giveaway box for the Salvation Army and donate monthly Give money more often to the guys on the freeway on ramp
Take dinner next door to our recently widowed neighbor and eat with him Spend more time in my backyard this summer, nurturing tomatoes that we love

The writer Ethel Barret, said once, that we spend money on things we don't need, with money we don't have to impress people we don't even like. I don't know if that's all true of me, but, I think it's time to think more about where it's all going and what I'm carrying into my home. I want to be intentional about how I'm spending the money I work for and what I'm giving up my time to maintain.

Okay. It's a start. No guarantees, but, I'll let you know how I do. I just want to get this stuff under control before it consumes anymore of my time and attention. I have so much to be thankful for. So many blessings. I want to spend more of my time on the people I love and less time taking care of things I don't really need. Game on.


  1. Great! I did the, use all the hair products, lotions,cleaning products deal before buying new. It was amazing how many 1/4 bottles of shampoo/conditioners I had. I will always remember finding like four cans of pledge all with unused amounts, some old enough the label was slightly different! The end result was a much less cluttered cupboard, lots of room to organize with all labels facing front of course! (I got that gene) :-)
    I think I will follow your lead on what you have written....more words of wisdom from you to me, often when you don't realize!

  2. good post momma, i have a hard time about being intentional in what i buy....probly could have bought a house by now if i had been working on this all along!