No Spend Year, August+September Reflections

Reflecting back, September was another tough month for me in regards to my no spend year. In my July reflections I talked about how I realized that clothes shopping in particular was a slippery slope for me. Even if some of the “exceptions” were in my rules. Back in July I allowed myself to purchase items for a trip, which was an exception in my rules. I also began using my Poshmark credit to purchase items through PM, using it as though it were like a gift card – which was okay in my rules.

Throughout August, things were good. I guess the PM credits were allowing me to feel like I could still get new items, but not spend money. But then, towards the end of August I started purchasing items on PM even if I was a few dollars away from being able to purchase the item (I guess hoping I would “make it up” through my future sales.) As I headed into September it got worse. A couple dollars off turned into, “it’s only $5 off,” then “it’s only $10 off.” Again, the slippery slope effect took hold and I was about to roll down the hill out of control! So, I have decided it’s best to no longer purchase things with my PM credit moving forward.

An outfit I purchase with my Poshmark credits

While I would consider this month a “fail” with regards to my no spend year, I did learn from the experiences. What ultimately ended up happening is, when I was going into the Poshmark app to manage my items, I would see items I liked. I would then “like” the item. (If you’re not familiar with the Poshmark app, it’s similar to social media where people follow you and you can follow people who have the same taste in clothing). One of the tricks to selling on PM is to offer deals to people who “liked” your items. I use this trick to get people to purchase my own items. Sometimes the deal is just too good to pass up! So, moving forward, I will no longer scroll through to see what’s out there. And I will no longer “like” items.

Another thing I noticed is how purchasing clothes is almost like a drug – not only with the slippery slope – but when I purchase an item, I’m excited for it to come in the mail. I’m excited to style it with other items in my closet. After I do that, and wear it out, it’s like the excitement is over. I realized it was similar to the effect of a drug, because I noticed I was more likely to scroll on days where I had a bad day, or I was stressed out. I need to learn healthier behaviors in dealing with stress and negativity in my life.

The other thing I noticed, or remembered from when I shopped prior to this no spend year, is it was sucking away my time. Perhaps not as much as shopping in stores, but it still was a time waster. With PM, you really do need to ask any questions before purchasing an item – like “does it fit true to size” or asking for specific measurements. Even just making the decision – making sure it fits with what I thought my needs were with regards to my closet. Then, just thinking about the items in general – when will it arrive, will it be what I thought it was going to be, how am I going to style it. Prior to being on PM in this no spend year, I remember the freedom of just NO NEW CLOTHES coming into my house.

A couple of good things came out of the experience I’ve had over the last month and a half. First of all, I’ve mentioned this previously, but I do feel like I’m really honing in on my style – what I gravitate towards and what I like to wear. I did a closet clean out over the summer, but I’m thinking I need to do another sweep through my closet. I’m still nowhere near having a capsule or minimalist wardrobe, but I do feel like I’m weeding out items more ruthlessly than I had in the past. And I am adding items that I feel like more truly reflect the direction my style is going.

I’m also really thinking about what I should do moving forward after this no spend year. I have another few months to decide what I would like to do after this year is over, and I’m certain it will not be allowing myself to go on a spending spree! I truly want to be more intentional with my clothing purchases. I’m not exactly sure what that will look like, so more to come on that for sure! I do like using PM as a resource to purchase clothing second hand. I highly encourage everyone to check it out! I have enjoyed being able to sell my own clothes on this platform. I have also had great luck with the items I have purchased.

Really quickly I wanted to touch on the home decor piece of this no spend year. If you’ve been following my journey, then you will know that this aspect has been MUCH easier than the clothes. I’ve come up with creative ways to rearrange items and use what I already have. This month I took over my son’s office since he moved to college, and I wanted a new piece of artwork for that space. I printed out a photo I took over the summer on our trip to Hawaii, and put it in a frame that I already had on hand. I have to admit, fall is the toughest time of year to not purchase home decor. I LOVE fall decor! But, I have restrained myself. The one thing I allow myself to purchase that may be considered home decor is candles, and I have to admit that I may have went a little overboard on purchasing fall candles this year! But, rest assured, they will all get used!

The last couple of months have been a bit bumpy, but I’m going to learn from the experiences I’ve had and move forward! Hoping that heading into the holiday season won’t be tricky/difficult! THREE MORE MONTHS TO GO!

My Minimalist Son

It’s so interesting to me how when you have multiple kids each one is so unique. They are all raised in the same home, and in our case with the same parents, yet they all have different temperaments and characteristics. Our oldest child, and youngest are collectors by nature. They are sentimental and like to hold onto things. But our middle child is completely opposite. He is a minimalist kind of by accident because of how he is innately. I admire him for not putting so much value on material things. I am somewhat the same way, but not to the extent he is. I joke about how moving him into college will be a completely different experience than it was to move our daughter into college. I envision him having one small suitcase to hold his clothes, his computer, and his fancy desk chair.

This is a snapshot of his closet. This is most of his clothes. He does have a dresser which holds shorts, socks, underwear, and a couple of sweatpants.

I believe his simple living has contributed to his success in life. Since he doesn’t have a lot of stuff, there’s not much to take care of. Also, it cuts down on decision making when getting dressed in the morning. He has two “uniforms” (with the exception of the scrubs which he is required to wear on specific days for an internship) – either the clothes he wears to the gym (dry fit shirt and shorts) or the clothes he wears to school (cotton t-shirt with cargo shorts). We do live in a temperate climate, so he can wear shorts year round. His mind isn’t constantly overwhelmed by external distraction because of the lack of clutter leaves space, and he can better focus on his school work.

This is a box of things he has been telling me for a while that he is ready to part with. The more I thought about it, I realized he probably won’t want these participation trophies as an adult.

We recently cleaned out his room. He has told me in the past that I could get rid of all of his childhood trophies – he told me they were just “participation trophies” so they didn’t mean much to him. We were able to pare down his already sparse room by eliminating the trophies, some sports jerseys from said activities, school t-shirts he doesn’t wear, and a pile of shirts that he had outgrown, and a few hats that he no longer wears. It was amazing to me that in spite of his room already being decluttered we found this much stuff to remove!

Anyone who is a parent knows how much you can learn from your kids. At times we forget and think we have so much to teach THEM – because we are older and wiser, but your kids have a lot to teach you too! Each one of my kids has challenged me in different ways to evaluate my life. With my minimalist child, he has caused me to evaluate what I really need in life to survive and feel fulfilled. He is an inspiration to me to simplify my life.

This is his dresser. I chose to add decor to his room, but he doesn’t mind if it’s there or not.
This is the other side of his room. It pretty much stays this clean all the time.


Minimalism and Staying Clutter Free

I really want to be a minimalist. I read books and blogs about minimalism, and it sounds so simple and clean. But as I stand in my closet and stare at my collection of booties, I know that I will never be a true minimalist. The principle behind minimalism is a good thing, but just like anything else, I’ve learned there’s balance and it’s okay to own more than three pairs of shoes. Now I am striving to only own what is useful or brings joy.

There are two keys to becoming more of a minimalist: 1)purge, 2)slow the inflow.Purging is fairly easy for me. I admit that there are times when I think about an item that I got rid of and thought, bummer I could have used that. But, the truth is, most of the time after it leaves my house, I have completely forgotten about it. One thing that I do in order to not feel as overwhelmed about purging is to pick a room each week and try to get rid of 10 items from that room. Sometimes I don’t reach the 10 items, but with the influx of stuff from my kids and free-bees, it can be pretty easy in some rooms. I take that opportunity to straighten things up and reorganize the area. I don’t do this every single week as some weeks are busier than others, but if you keep working your way around the house it will stay mostly organized and clutter-free!

Slow the inflow is the thing I struggle with. I like to shop. BUT, I have done different things to restrain my purchases. First, I don’t go shopping unless I need something specific. Next, I really try to stick to buying what I went in to purchase. That can be tough, especially at places like Target… we go in for face soap and toilet paper and come out with framed art work and that lamp you just couldn’t resist! I also have chosen to focus on quality vs. quantity, and finding things that will remain classics for several years. I love fashion, so I always have things in my wardrobe that may only last for a couple of seasons. Something I have done in the past which helps is to fast from purchasing clothes, shoes, and home decor for a set period of time (like one month). I have done a one month fast, two month, and three month! For 2019, the entire year I plan to do a spending fast from clothes, shoes, and home decor. Choosing to fast from consumerism allows for time to step back and really examine your priorities. I have realized during my past spending fasts that the inflow is what is truly keeping me from having only the things I love in my home. How about you? Does minimalism intrigue you? Or scare you?! Do you have tips on how to stay organized and clutter free in your home?