Well, I finished the MINS challenge. 465 items later and my house looks….exactly the same. Honest to goodness, I barely notice a difference. Well, you could say that the crawl space looks a bit neater and emptier as I got rid of a big box worth of stuff down there, but really, it was pretty easy. I know, 26 pom poms and 18 binder clips or whatever it was kind of cheating, but they really were items that needed to be gone. Check out my Instagram (here) for more details. I’ve kind of decided to take a mind-break from Instagram, at least during the day when the girls were at home. I’ve even moved it from the home screen of my phone. Might have to cut out Facebook too, as I’ve started checking it more since I cut out the other! Face-palm moment. But I have decided to keep moving forward with the last six months of “buy nothing new”. I don’t feel…fixed…yet.
I’m finding this challenge (buy nothing new) a real hardship as we move into Christmas. I knew that the main focus was going to be not buying MYSELF anything new, as that was the place that most of my extra money was going to. Mostly clothes, jewelry, bags, shoes, haircuts, eyebrow waxings etc etc. The only new clothing item I’ve bought in six months for myself was a new winter coat, and I used a gift card from our wedding for that! It has shown me how much I already have, how much society emphasizes NEW, and how much waste clothing there is in the world that isn’t “waste”. I can find a ton of great second-hand clothing for a quarter of the price, it’s just a different process then going to a store, finding what I want and purchasing it. Which really, is probably good for my brain. It’s more of a slow search, and really makes me consider whether or not I need that item, or if it’s just a want, a boredom, a moment of weakness.
The other place I was spending quite a bit of money was on clothing for the girls. I have a very fussy almost 5 year old and a 2.5 year old who couldn’t give a poop about what she wears (as long as there aren’t socks involved). I have cut WAYYYY back on that, and have tried to source as much as I can from the amazing Once Upon a Child store that’s near my yoga studio. When I wanted certain things for our Christmas card picture though, I caved and went straight to Joefresh clothing. (Of course the next trip I took to OUAC I found things that would have totally worked for it there:S) So, lesson learned, a little bit of patience pays off in money and in cutting back on “fast fashion” spending.
But I’ve hit a new snag: Christmas presents. I think I’ve always been particularly attached to Christmas presents. Buying them, receiving them, shopping for them, wrapping them. There’s just a particular magic to the system. So this year I decided to use something I saw someone else post about how they shop for Christmas presents:
- Something they want.
- Something they need.
- Something to wear.
- Something to read.
So that’s what I’ve done. Each kid is getting 4 ish presents. But of course I was kind of un-minimalistic within that. Lilia is hard, because she only wants Peppa Pig toys (which I put inside their little advent calendar baggies), so I ended up getting her some mini Paw Patrol toys, and we got her a huge box of new Duplo, because she loves to build and we don’t have much, and I got her an adorable sweatshirt from a local sewing company in Camrose that I just love. Mira is getting all three pony princesses and Tempest the pony, and a doll cradle that rocks (which I scored at the Antique Mall for $28 and painted white!) a dress with a corresponding fabric to Lilias sweatshirt, and books, I got a deal on like 10 for $5 at, you guessed it, Once upon a child. But you will notice that there isn’t really a “need” in there. They honestly don’t “need” anything. And when they do, I tend to just buy it immediately instead of waiting. Which is also something I need to work on. Add it to the list!
Does that seem like a lot? I think it’s just the way I OBSESSED over them. For weeks. Which pony should Mira get, and how am I going to get them here. I even had to get a friend of mine from the States to buy one and ship it home with her in laws! I bought two extra ponies and took them back, and asked her about ten MILLION questions about which ponies were her favourites and I asked my husband another 17 MILLION questions about what the two year old wanted. I spent hours wandering the aisles of Toys R Us, sending him pictures, sourcing stuff for other family members. It was exhausting. Because I wanted to get the PERFECT PRESENTS. I didn’t want to re-educate them on how experiences are better than stuff. I didn’t buy them tickets for a show or plan a trip for them instead of buying presents. I egged them on to tell me what EXACTLY they wanted. I want that Christmas present magic for them. I want them to open their presents and for Mama to have given them EXACTLY what they wanted. Even though Mama knows that even when you get exactly what you want, the glow doesn’t last forever.How does one discuss such things with children? How do I start educating them with something that I obviously haven’t quite wrapped my head around either? Oi.
Here’s the advent baggies I was talking about: Which I struggled with also. I hate the ones with chocolate in them, as I don’t love them having that much candy in a month, but I put “stuff” in the baggies, which means more “stuff” is coming into my house. For the little one I got a Peppa Pig advent calendar and divvied it up into the baggies. For the big one I ended up with a variety of things, like Barbie outfits (poor barbies are still wearing clothing from 1990), princess socks, and My Little Pony hair accessories. Not big things, but things they hopefully will like and use. I struck out the first year and put little mini animals in them for my elder daughter, and she NEVER played with them. Lesson learned. But it is still “stuff”.
Thoughts? I’m really struggling with my brain on Christmas. I love it, but the focus on STUFF, is just too much for me!