Last night, I went grocery shopping for the first time in two weeks. I love my new shopping schedule, and I also love the fact that my total bill for two weeks now is less than what it used to be for one week before our garden began producing so much of our food. It took me a total of 20 minutes to get our groceries last night (plus driving time), and I won’t have to go back for another two weeks. The grocery store is about 15 miles from here, so minimizing trips is a good thing. And if I don’t have to go grocery shopping, there is pretty much no reason for me to have to go into town at all, for anything (I just registered to vote in our new county and renewed my drivers license, online, from my kitchen. Life is good). The little town where we live has a library, post office, bank, and basic grocery store, all within easy walking or biking distance. I found a note in the glove box of my car from an oil change my husband did back in September of 2007, and the mileage he noted at the time was 10,000 miles under what it is now. I knew that I didn’t drive much, but now I know the specifics – 10,000 miles in three years. Not bad! If I can keep up my twice a month shopping schedule, I can probably get that number even lower going forward.
I dropped off a couple more boxes at the thrift store last night when I was in town (my mom, who used to love thrift store shopping just as much as I did, referred to the thrift store yesterday as the “give away store” which is what it has become for both of us). I ducked inside quickly looking for a flower pot for a plant that has outgrown it’s planter, but didn’t see anything suitable and left within about five minutes of walking in the door. It’s amazing to me that I have been able to completely do away with my thrift store shopping habit, and how happy that makes me. There are tons of resources on the internet about decluttering, and I started reading a lot of them a few months ago. Apparently they had quite an impact, because I no longer have any desire to accumulate possessions or add “stuff” to our life. Instead, I want to be able to spend time experimenting cooking in the kitchen, hanging out with my husband and son, going for walks, doing yoga, having “adventures” at the park (that’s how our son and I refer to our little trips to the playground). Acquiring stuff has never really been fulfilling in the long term for anyone. But for most of us (including my former self), it is quite fulfilling in the short term. Then it wears off and we have to go hunting for new stuff in order to continue to be satisfied. Thankfully, I always got my fix with used things, so the cash outlay was never very big. But the clutter factor is there, regardless of whether the stuff comes from Neiman Marcus or a dumpster. And I just don’t want the clutter anymore.
Until this past spring, my trips to town were pretty much a weekly thing, and just about always involved at least a half an hour (usually more) of browsing around the thrift store before heading to the grocery store. Invariably, I would find at least a few treasures that I just had to have. These days, I can go to town and back in less than an hour and half total, and not only do I not come home with stuff from the the thrift store, I also usually have at least one box that I donate while I’m in town. Much better.