Am I late for the blog party? I don't care, this is an experiment tinged with my own brand of insanity.
Here's how it began: In January I was on a plane listening to Elton John’s Tiny Dancer, and the words “Dancing in the Sand” are in the song. Such a lovely image and I thought:
“I wish I could do that all the time”.
Then I though:
"Why can't I do it all the time?"
Which morphed into a head banging session about the economy and how the world is quickly coming to an end. But back to the dancing… the vision I saw was me dancing in the sand. I love dancing and will dance anywhere, anytime- at home, at work, shopping, bowling. Doesn't matter where, I love all dancing.
So I noodled around thinking about how I could make it happen, more time for Dancing in the Sand, and here it is… I’m going to downsize, rightsize, edit, detox, transform, defrag. A two part Experiment:
1) Stop shopping
2) Get rid of excess, for which I hope to determine a reasonable definition of “excess”.
An experiment for the rest of 2009 and maybe longer if I don’t die a horrible death from lack of shopping.
This won’t be a banal frugality blog- I can hear my ex-husband guffawing “oh, certainly not”, because he’ll think I can’t do it, which is one good reason to do it. Something I call “EX-VEX”, but I digress.
ISSUES, RULES AND HOW IT WILL BE DONE:
I get to make it all up. This is my grand domain. So here they are:
Issue #1: I have
three two consumption minded teenagers, and one adult daughter. I take full blame because I’ve mostly raised them alone. They like things and think they deserve them. In many ways they do. Their mom has been divorced twice, causing all manner of personal issues for which someday they'll need thousands of dollars of therapy. Their dad hasn’t seen or spoken to them in years and has never supported them so hooray for their smart mama who earns enough money to keep them in ipods and cars, even after she became a single mom (again). Yes, they all have their own car but I have a good reason for that, maybe to be explained later.
Issue #2: I like to shop. A lot. If my friends are at a party and sipping a nice glass of wine and someone says, “Did you know so-and-so stopped shopping and is getting rid of all her STUFF?” they will spew their wine all over you in a fit of disbelief. I once made a bet with a tennis friend not to shop for a year, and she actually made it nine months. I made it nine minutes. She was mad when she found out I wasn't really doing it with her.
Issue #3: The gentleman lucky enough to be called my boyfriend is a major shopper, much worse than I am, although he would claim that my shoe, handbag and clothing collections far exceed his computers, gadgets, Harleys (as in multiple), Hummer- need I go on? I think not, but certainly you can see the difficulty in being around the man. On second thought, it isn’t just him, all my friends, family co-workers- they all like to shop. I’m surrounded by shopping madness.
RULES, or Things I CAN BUY and CAN’T BUY:
Can buy: underwear, socks, food, gifts for others, necessary personal and household items, (does not include $76.00 face wash or $1500.00 espresso machine). This list is depressingly short. Hopefully no one wants to read a cheerful, uplifting and happy experiment. You can live vicariously through my pain and gleefully continue on with your excesses.
Can't Buy: anything else, including but not limited to- shoes, coats, cashmere, oxfords that starch up nicely, summer dresses, long beautiful I-can-eat-anything-I-want maxi dresses, purses, wallets, jewelry, scarves, furniture, books, dainty silk slips, work-out clothes, frames, gadgets and one of my all time favorite things (cue Sound of Music)- dusters. For those of you thinking of a cleaning item, a duster is a long coat. Mine typically are of the work variety, but truthfully I’m not fussy. Love them all.
(no, this is not me)
How can this possibly be done? Books will be borrowed from library, not bought on Amazon in a few keystrokes and delivered via 2 day upgraded shipping because I’m a “Prime” member, (which simply means I own more books than most libraries). Accepting presents shall be deemed OK, so if I really, really want something it might take herculean angling to get it, and I'll have to seriously consider if I even need it. Then I’ll railroad friends and family into buying for my birthday, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, Groundhog day and any other obscure holiday I can dream up.
I'm guessing the not buying part of the equation will be easier than the editing but that divesting most of my worldly goods could be interesting in a potential-to-be-committed-to-a-mental-institution way.
My plan is to auction items on eBay and keep a running total here. I hope to get feedback on how to invest the cash, how I’m doing and give you a peek into my
possibly pathetic lifetime of acquisition. I wish I’d done this after my divorce in 2007 because I had a lot more stuff then. Back then I was in a crazed post-divorce state and gave away all kinds of things that would bring loads of cash now that I’m slightly more sane.
Let's enjoy this little experiment. If you think I’m on the wrong track, drop me a note and tell me how to do it better. While I probably won't pay any attention to your suggestion, chances are it will cause me to giggle- so give it a shot.