I have loved clothes for as long as I can remember. I’ve always purchased them second-hand (even as a child, since my family only shopped at yard sales and thrift stores), but it always gave me a thrill to get new clothes. Not so long ago, I would relish a quiet afternoon in one of the thrift stores by our house, perusing the clothing racks with an eagle eye. I can’t point to any specific thing that has changed, but I find that I’m no longer interested in shopping for clothes. Or shopping for anything really, except food. I love spending time in the local health food store, but buying “stuff” that isn’t consumable really doesn’t do much for me anymore.
We have a 1300 square food house (plus a basement) that is filled with stuff. We have everything we need. Obviously our son will continue to outgrow his clothes for a while, but my husband and I are the same size we’ve been since high school. Our closet is full of clothes. If I had to guess, I’d say we each have more than 30 or 40 shirts and 20 pairs of pants/shorts. Sure, it was all purchased for probably about three bucks per item, but does anyone really need that much clothing?
Since we moved to our new house, going to the thrift stores is no longer something I can do on a whim. The stores are in another town, about ten miles away. When we go into town, we try to be as efficient as possible, fitting as many errands into the trip as we can. We usually don’t have time to go to the thrift stores, and that’s been fine with us.
I’ve been reading a book called Clutter Busting – the author’s blog is here – and finding myself inspired to get rid of stuff. We’ve all heard the advice that we shouldn’t love anything that can’t love us back, but most of us don’t really put that into practice. I sometimes find myself feeling very attached to things – things that obviously can’t love me back. Things that are part of my past, or things that I think I might need in the future. I felt inspired the whole time I was reading the book. It reminded me that clutter (both “stuff” and mental clutter) only slows us down and impedes our ability to enjoy life. I’ve taken a car load of stuff to the thrift store, and have my car nearly full for a second trip. I didn’t even go in the store when I dropped off the last load. There just isn’t anything I need.
Our son will need new clothes routinely, but I’m keeping it in perspective. He doesn’t need 30 outfits. A few shirts, a few pairs of pants, a jacket, a pair of shoes, and some socks. A couple drawers in a dresser would suffice. I imagine that $20 or so in the thrift store every six months should do it.
I like when our house feels open and airy, and that’s not possible when we cram stuff into every nook and cranny. So I’m getting rid of things that don’t actively contribute to our life right now. And not buying more stuff. It’s the ultimate frugal tactic – just making do with what we have, and realizing that we don’t really need most of what we already have, say nothing of things we haven’t purchased yet. It’s better for our budget and for the earth, and honestly it makes me happier to not go shopping. I’d rather hang out here and work on our little farm, or spend time with my husband and son. I’m glad we’ve moved away from the thrift stores. Funny, because that was something I thought I was going to miss.