HALFWAY DONE. Quit now or keep going?!

Wow. I didn’t think I’d make it this far. Except that I honestly haven’t even thought about quitting. Until today. When I thought about quitting. It was a strangely liberating feeling, that I could decide whether I wanted to continue or not. I think I will continue, but it was a lovely idea, that I was actually in control of this project, and could decide to cease or not. I think I’ve probably been way too lax with myself in a lot of ways.

But I digress.

I think having a complete moratorium on shopping for new clothing for myself has been good for me. It has required me to sort of stop, drop and think before just saying “I deserve X and Y and Z” and ripping out the credit card. I am much better able to observe my habits and know when I’m trying to solve internal problems with external solutions (see here for more on that). And when I am feeling like the end of the earth and need a retail therapy pick me up, I spend a LOT less on second hand items. And it isn’t nearly as often, and it isn’t the same. There isn’t that shiny, magical, life-giving quality to second-hand clothing or purses, or shoes as there is with new items. And it’s also so much harder to find something “perfect” at a second-hand store. You end up with something you didn’t really want, but it’s there, and it’s a steal, and you should bring it home cause it likely won’t be there next time. There are exceptions to this, but not often. A loooot of the clothes I’ve purchased second-hand I’ve ended up ditching a few months later. It’s a lot harder than shopping new. That being said, it’s amazing what you can find SOMETIMES. But it’s a process, and it’s slow, and as a mom of two under 4, I find it almost not worth the effort. But not buying new has definitely made me realize that those cute ankle boots, or that adorable poncho, or that gorgeous diaper bag aren’t going to make ME better, or smarter, or stronger, or happier. The power of “stuff” has (mostly) dwindled.

Another challenge: the library. I tend to request like 5 books at time and then they all come in at once and I don’t have time to read them all, and I inevitably leave the one that is due first to the last minute and end up having to request it and wait for it all over again. Probably need to minimize my library list and come up with a better way. Make a list of all the ones I want and then request them slowly? I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to books to read in a very non-minimalist kind of way. I have about 3 or 5 on the go at any one time and think I need to have at last two with me most of the time. And they tend to be large books…next project: Minimize reading materials. Just something to work on for myself. I think I have more time to read than I do!

What I miss most: wanting something, and just going out and finding it right away. Not having to search through like 1-2 or sometimes 3 second-hand stores. Or wait until I have a gift card for said store. Or being limited to the one store I have a gift card for! It’s all the rules, really, that frustrate me.

What I’ve been super lax about: Christmas presents. I’m trying to stick to four Christmas presents each for my girls (something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read). I bought local for their something to wear, I bought second hand for books and for the oldest’s something she wanted, but otherwise…it’s been new. For three of my nephews we ended up using a gift card we had from our wedding, for the Bay, on toys. And I’m trying to make some shirts for some gifts, but honestly, I’m not trying too hard to stick to the second-hand rule on this one. I think given my time limitations (kids) and my realistic knowledge of my sewing skills, it’s just not possible this year. And given that the biggest issue with my spending was on new items for myself, I’m not totally worried. Maybe next year I’ll be better at it! I also bought new for some outfits for the girls for Christmas pictures. Which I really do feel a bit guilty about. I had this vision in my head of what I wanted our Christmas card pics to look like, and I just didn’t want to sacrifice that, or go looking for 10 hours for second-hand versions. In the end the little one refused to wear her adorable denim overall skirt so that went out the window anyways. But I apologize to the buy nothing new adjudicators. I take a fail on that one. I didn’t buy anything new for myself though!

So. To continue to a full year or not continue? There are days when I want so so so so so so so so so badly to just run across the road to the mall near me and buy SOMETHING. A purse that is just perfect. Boots that would solve my clothing woes. A new sweatshirt that would be just perfectly cozy. But instead I usually manage to talk myself out of it. Which I think was the point of the exercise. So do I quit now, or keep going to see what kind of lessons lay before me? I feel like there’s still so much to learn. I want to start thinking about a zero waste home eventually. I want to cut down on the time I spend trolling social media (I think this will be my December project). I want to learn to meditate more. I want to eat better. Will not buying new help me with any of those goals? I have no idea. It frees up time, that’s for sure.

Where do you see I’ve fallen short? What can I improve on? Should I keep going? Or have I learned what I needed to? Thanks for coming along for the first six months!


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