Saturday, January 5, 2013

Less Is More (and yes, you can rat me out)

So far, there is a beer hammer and a cookie scoop. And three books  (The Grays, by Whitley Streiber, Hotwire, by Alex Kava, and Black List, by Brad Thor).  The books are what will make this less painful.  I have a lot of books.  And a disproportionate number of them are not what I'd refer to as, well, "good".  They will be easy to toss.  It's the other stuff that is going to hurt a little bit.

One thing per day.   Out of the house.  Banished forever.  (So if you want any of the above, come on by.  It's all yours.  There is a bag on my front porch.  Help yourself.)    That is part one of my plan for 2013.  And that, I think, will actaully be the easier part of the plan.  It's the second half that is going to be hard.  Income and Expenses.  In and Out.  Acquire and Divest.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  

Yes, I am taking my time getting to the meat of this. Because once I say it, once it's written down, it's official.  And people will know.  And watch.  And rat me out.  And I'm counting on that.  (Because even though I told Scott, let's be honest here - I can get around that if I need to.)  So let's just do it.  I shall now make it official:

I will buy no durable goods for myself in 2013*

Yes, there is an asterisk.  Because sometimes, things happen.  Our fridge is acting up, and our dishwasher is THIS CLOSE to being kicked to the curb.  So if they go, I have to replace them.  And I am going skiing in February - the tickets have been purchased.   Appropriate clothing needs to be acquired.  You can't go down a Colorado ski slope in February wearing your warm and fuzzy jacket that gets you through the DC winter just fine.  I need a list of things that I know nothing about.  But I have been given a very specific list, from which I shall not veer.  Those items have been asterisked into the plan.   

And if something else comes up, it has to pass the test.  The test is Scott.  Not the real Scott  - because again, he is kind and wonderful and he loves me.  If I really want something, he won't make a big deal out of it.  I'm talking about the rarely seen ANGRY AND FED UP Scott.  The one who, after tripping over toys, knocking over stacks of books, stepping on Lego's, and then walking into a kitchen that looks like it just exploded, thus explodes himself, with something along the line of, "JESUS!  WHY DO WE HAVE SO MUCH CRAP?!"  

Yeah, that guy.  

Because *I* am why we have so much crap.  I love that crap.  I really do.

I love walking into a store and looking at all the cute little things that are lined up just so.  I love the potential of all the amazing tools in a kitchen store - just think of what I could cook if I had THAT.  I love the sexy potential of the perfect pair of shoes.  I love wandering through thrift stores, and finding the most amazing things, and even better, the mundane things that can be made into something amazing with just a little paint, a few stitches, and some elbow grease.  I love it all.   There is just so much potential there.

And that, my friends, is a problem.  Because I now have piles and piles of potential in my house.  I have projects I won't have time to do for years.  I have fabric that I've been saving for clothes I haven't quite yet designed, but once I get a little better with my sewing machine, I am TOTALLY going to do.  I have a plaster casting kit to make a mold of Josie's baby hand.  She's 6.  I finally did Ian's baby hand when he was, um, 4.  So, not babies.  But still little.  I still want to hold on to that, because one day I'm going to want to hold those sticky little hands and they won't be there anymore, they'll be grown up and not wanting to hold my hand (I can hear the disdain in their voice already - "you want to WHAT?  Um, no Mom.  sorry, that's just weird.")  But if I can make that cast, I'll have Josie's six year old hand and that will be almost as good.  Almost.  

So already, I'm feeling sad about letting go of something that I haven't even made.   Let's hope I can make that cast before I run out of things to put in the one-thing-out-per-day bag.  Because that is part of it.  I have all these things.  All these projects.  All this stuff.  And yeah, a lot of it is crap.  (See above note about the beer hammer.  And for those of you who got one for Christmas from me last year, I'm really sorry.  I didn't realize what a piece of crap it was until Scott tried to use it this week.  My bad.)  The junk should be easy to go.  

It's funny, when I started this project, all of 5 days ago, I thought the non-buying was going to be hard.  But, as I write this, I think it might be the easier part.  Because I am an all-or-nothing kind of gal.  Moderation is NOT my middle name.  (Yes, yes, this is not news to any of you, I know.)   I've never been one to have a little bit of anything.  It almost killed me to have a cocktail party and just invite a few friends.  I want ALL my friends there.  A tiny bite of the worlds best chocolate?  Pish.  I'd rather not have any of it at all than have just a taste.  

So for 2013 - no tastes for me. 

No books.  No clothes.  No fancy little kitchen doodads.

No Williams Sonoma (sigh).  No Ikea (moan).   No Target (whimper).  No HomeGoods (WAAAAHHHH!)  I will not need to even enter those stores this year (well, maybe Target for consumables, but definitely not the rest.)

Why?  It's simple.  I don't need anything.  If there is anything in the next year that I want to do, I am fairly certain, nay - nearly positive - that I have the tools to do it in my house already.  And probably enough for you to do whatever it is, too, should we decide to do a project together.  

I don't want to say that I have a problem, per se, because then that edges me into a group.  You know, THAT group.  [whispering]  Hoarders.  I don't think I'm quite there yet.  My stacks of newspapers generally get tossed out every week or so.  Although I will admit, the first and ONLY time I ever watched that show, when they were helping this woman get rid of things, I started shouting at the tv, "Not that!  That's still good!  Don't get rid of THAT!"

I find it best not to watch those kinds of shows.

So, yeah, here we go.  I'm five days in, and I've only purchased one thing:  the address book that I planned on buying weeks ago, that Scott knew about in advance, and that I took great care to pick out exactly the one I wanted and absolutely nothing else.  And it was, well, easier than I thought.  When i went in to B&N, I was pretty sure I was going to be torn.  I was going to want to wander down the aisles of discount novels (oh how I love thee, cheap fiction!), browse the magazines, maybe pick up a new CD.  But I didn't.  I found the address book section, looked at my options, found the one with the biggest spaces for writing (yup - one step away from Large Print), bought it and left.  It was fast.  It was easy.  And when Josie asked for a book, I said, "oh, sweetie, remember, we aren't buying anything."  And she said, "Oh, that's right."

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  It was that easy!    I can do this!  I can actually do this!

I can.

I have a confession to make.   A few days before the end of the year, I was finishing up a few last-minute gift shopping at HomeGoods.   That was when I decided to do this.  Because there was the most adorably aquamarine platter there.  And I NEEDED that platter.  Well, I needed A platter.  Okay, I needed a platter a few months ago, and I finally got a nice, elegant, functional forever, simple white platter.  A few months ago.  So, technically, no, I didn't need a platter any more.

But I really wanted THAT platter.  And while I was putting it in my cart, I thought about where I was going to put it, and realized I didn't have enough room in my kitchen to store a simple flat platter.  And my kitchen/diningroom area has plenty of storage.  For, you know, normal people.  And I thought, wow, that can't be good.  So I put the platter back.  (And I'm picturing it now, sitting on its ledge, so pretty, just waiting for me to come visit it again.  But no!  I won't!  That platter is dead to me!)

Sigh.  I left without the platter.  But I did get a cute new apron (dude, it was still 2012).  

And then I went home and told Scott about what the next year was going to be like.  You should have seen his eyes light up.  


I didn't think about the potential for THAT.  

Best present ever.