Thursday, April 19, 2007

Going Shopping

This is sometimes the first place we can generate the greatest change. We have to evaluate our shopping habits. Every time we pick something up, some of the questions we should ask ourselves are, "Do I NEED this? If I buy this, will I use it? How often will I use it? Will it enrich my life? Will it end up being something I resent for taking up space and wasting valuable resources? Why do I want it? Can I live without it?" and so on. I find with a lot of items, I don't even get past the do I need it. Quite often it is something I can live without.

For example. The kids LOVE shopping at Dollarama, the place where everything costs a dollar. I usually say they can each get a toy. One will usually get a book and the other a piece of junk that barely makes it home. This week I managed to talk the child with the junky toy into getting toy furniture that we could go home, put together then paint. After spending 5 minutes talking him into it and out of the goopy stuff we could make at home (lol, persistent preschoolers!), we moved on. I started grabbing things I thought I needed, you know that lovely impulse shopping bug. Some things not so bad like a big roll of kraft paper for me to make wrapping paper (so much more paper on a roll than wrapping paper and I have the fun of stamping it :) ) and a pedometer, which I want to track my steps since I want to get to 10000 a day (and far exceeded it yesterday, yay!). However the lure of the summer isle was almost too much to bear. I started forgetting I wanted to be simple. That evil impuse attractively dressed in things we want. As we walked to the checkout, I started giving DH things to put away and by the time we paid, we truly had the things we needed. After we left, I told the kids we were not going there any more and if they wanted Dollarama junk, they would have to get their grandmothers to buy it. I probably shouldn't of said that though.

I know my need for stuff comes from being poor as a child. It's not that we didn't have a lot of stuff but I was always scared there wouldn't be more so I would hoard what I had. I don't want my children to think that. I want them to grow up appreciating the simplicity in having little but appreciating what they have. DH and I are both pack rats and it's hard letting go. People are always giving us stuff and it's hard to say no, but we have to start. We are so scared of hurting people's feelings that we end up suffering. Our parents give us bags of stuff almost weekly, mostly clothes for the kids. Our darling children could clothe about 10 children with the excess and do not need more clothing. Our pleas of "No more" fall on deaf ears. I think most will henceforth be donated to people who really need it, or at least something will be in it's place if it's something really nice ;)

I kind of went off track there, but I think there's a lot to be said for really thinking about what you are buying. A little here and there adds up over time. Are you bringing in more than you're putting out? If you are trying to simplify, more should be going out than what you are bringing in.

Right now, I am waiting for the weather to warm so I can have a massive yard sale. However I daily look at all I want to get rid of and wonder....will I last that long? I want this out of the house. The clothes I have no problem giving away but I would like to recoup some of my loss by selling the good stuff. We don't get tax credit here like they do in the states (plus we give our max in charitable donations in other ways so it wouldn't help). After I have sold what I want to, THEN the big purge will begin.

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