And you know what? Once i let go of defining myself by my outward appearance, i was able to connect with people in a more genuine way. I became confident, which in turn breeds happiness, which in turn spills over onto the people you meet. Babywoods and me at a wedding in April This is the obvious one and it was the reason I stopped buying clothes in the first place. But it quickly became the least important attribute and benefit for me of not shopping. There are countless other examples of how frugality saves us time: home haircuts take 15 minutes as opposed to the embodied time and cost of driving/walking/biking to a salon, waiting in line, getting your hair cut, and then driving/walking/biking back home. Cooking in your own kitchen takes far less time than driving toand waiting ata restaurant, and the list goes.
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But I dont spiral into a frenzy of buying an entirely new wardrobe just because i need one item. I dont panic about whether or not food I have fabulously fashionable clothing for every single social event of the year. I wear what I own and I focus on wearing things that are comfortable and that i enjoy. I really dont care if Im in style or not. I think i look nice and Im happy with how I dress. If other people care, thats entirely their problemnot mine. I no longer internalize the belief that I must define myself by how I dress. I define myself by my actions. By what i do with my time, not by some articles of cloth that i use to keep warm and stay on this side of decency laws. Id much rather people judge me by what I say and what I do than by something so arbitrary as what I wear.
But my experience is that, on the whole, frugality takes less time. Because there is so much less to do and to worry about and less to militate against. Much of my frugality pertains to simplicity and how I can streamline my life in order to make it more efficient. Take, for example, the fact that I do not buy clothing and havent for over three years (with the exception of a pair of winter boots, chronicled here ). This saves me: 1) Time. Me strolling the streets of Portland, me last month, wearing a dress thats at least 7 years old. Im not dashing in and out of thrift stores trying on clothes with a toddler in tow, Im not cruising the internet shopping for dresses on Amazon, Im not even wasting time thinking about buying clothes or what I might need/want next. Its just not part of my life. Whenand reviews ifI truly need an article of clothing (as happened with those winter boots last year i buy.
I was less stressed because i wasnt always on the hunt for something. I became less anxious because i wasnt constantly surrounded by things I didnt own and that I thought were better than what reviews I did own. I spent less money (my initial goal) and I became more content with the things I do own. I never realized the stress and anxiety that regular shopping caused me until I let. Frugality takes Less Time. Through gender my shopping cessation, i came to realize that in many instances, frugality actually takes less time than non-frugality. Theres a myth that a life of frugality is more time consuming than a life of consumption and in some specific instances, Id say thats true.
Theres an exhaustive list of things were all apparently supposed to do everyday, but that we may or may not enjoy or even require for our survival. There are some things we should do even if we dont particularly enjoy them (brushing our teeth, exercising but then there are things we can let. That we can simply choose to stop doing. Clothes and home decor were my two worst offenders in the shopping category and i used to spend an unbelievable amount of time, energy, and money in pursuit of these things. Id cruise through thrift stores in search of yet another dress or yet another funky vase for the kitchen table. I had no need for this stuff and I didnt particularly enjoy shoppingbut it was an activity Id always done and always assumed I would. Three years ago, I stopped. I didnt do anything fancy or wild, i simply stopped shopping. And I became happier.
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I have sets of english sheets we received as wedding presents nine years ago that ive never taken out of their packages. I keep them because i know that one day, our current set of sheets will wear out and well need another. To me, this is practical frugality. But what about all the candles and vases? Why cant I just let them go?
When we own things, we tend to imbue them with a greater sense of importance because we feel invested in their ownership. Letting them go, however, is a form of liberation and a means of cutting our shackles to ultimately meaningless material possessions. However, i counter this with my pragmatic frugalityit makes no economic sense to get rid of bed sheets that well use in a few years time. Stop doing, our streamlined family room, what ive discovered during this past year of living with less stuff is that ive embraced an ethos of own less, do less, buy less, and as a result, live more. Just as ive stopped wasting my time tending to clutter in my home, ive also stopped doing quite a few activities i used to do that ultimately brought me stress.
Thats the good part. You may now be thinking that Ilike some frugal sagethen gave away all of this unneeded extra stuff. I just took it all to goodwill and never thought about it again. Beholden to an unrepentant packrat gene that courses through my blood, i ferreted it all away in our basement, following in the footsteps of my grandfather and my parents before me who both had basements of towering, mountainous junk. Fw and I piled box after box of stuff that we decided we didnt need (on a regular basis) down in the depths of our basement. Why oh why didnt I just get rid of it all?!
After a year of allowing these partially unpacked boxes to languish in our concrete basement, Im organizing them. . Im tackling the colossal, perilous piles of rifled-through moving boxes that made walking through our basement reminiscent of an obstacle course. There were so many boxes down there (many of which contained roughly one or two items ) that stepping off the staircase was becoming a problematic proposition of where to place ones foot. But now, Im sorting through the contents of each box, and at long last, setting aside things to give away. Why is it so hard for us to let go of material possessions? I know that for me, a large component is my desire not to buy things again. Its something of a sunk cost fallacy. Ill never be a true minimalist for exceedingly practical reasons: we might need it someday.
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In light of the fact that we have a curious, inventive, creative, exploratory 20-month-old in our household, things like precarious end tables with glass bird figurines balanced on top are nothing more than a death wish. Im a firm practitioner of leaning into the phase of life you find yourself. Since our phase of life is currently parenting a toddler, weve structured our home environment to match. We dont have to follow Babywoods around from room to room in a panic that she might pull some artifact or piece professional of furniture down on top of herself. Rather, were relaxed in the knowledge that our furniture is secured to the wall, breakables are beyond her tiny grasp, and she has plenty of books and toys to examine down at her level. Theres no joy or pleasure in militating against your present condition. Wherever you find yourself on your life journey, sinking deeplyand gratefullyinto that phase will yield the greatest level of contentment and ease. If Only i shredder followed my own Advice. She cant reach that stuff on top of the buffet yet.
Our current bed: no throw, as we unpacked our moving boxes last year, i realized we have tons of possessions that represent this loss of time, energy, and money that wed previously surrounded ourselves with. Decorative vases and candles that must be dusted and cleaned, table cloths that must be washed and ironed the list of futile home decor items goes. In an effort and a desire to simplify our lives and give ourselves back hours of time each weekwe essay decided not to unpack these things. I still have vases of flowers and candles strewn about, but in a greatly reduced iteration. I love our minimilized home. Its comfortable, its beautiful (in my opinion and most crucially, its functional. It serves our needs. We are no longer servants to our stuff, we no longer feel hemmed in by clutter, and we have everything we need easily accessible. Its also true that our home is largely toddler-ized.
sans throw pillows. Theres nothing inherently wrong with throw pillows. In fact, you might love your throw pillows! For me, however, i came to realize that i only had throw pillows because i thought I should have them, not because they brought me lasting joy. Id become a servant to my material possessions and. I was owned by my stuff.
Back in Cambridge, i had this elaborate array of throw pillows on our bed that I had to take off every night and reapply every morning after waking. What a waste of time! Frugalwoods and I made the unanimous decision when we moved that wed no longer be slaves to such worthless time sucks. No one even saw these pillows except for. Fw and me and we both thought of them as a chore. How dumb is that? We first wasted money buying those pillows, we then had to purchase a bin to store them in while we slept, we had to clean them periodically, and ultimately, they came to represent a dreaded daily chore. All because i thought we should have throw pillows. Because on Instagram peoples beds have throw pillows.
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Frugalwoods, july 27, 2017, im currently engaged in what can only be described as a battle with our basement. When we moved to our homestead last may, we established a mentality and golf practice of minimalism in our home. Frugalwoods and I eliminated just about every object that we dont actively use on a daily basis. As we unpacked, we only removed things from boxes that we find ourselves in need of regularly. And I wishfervently, in factthat I could take my own advice and establish a practice of minimalism throughout my entire house (ahem, including the basement but that has yet to come to fruition. Having Only What we need. Throw pillows in our Cambridge home. What didnt we unpack? Heres an example: throw pillows.