Friday, August 29

Frugality can be great exercise!

We're desperate for room in our one-bedroom apartment. And moving up to a 2 BR is a no-go, given current rents for those hover around $900+.

So this morning I found myself huffing and puffing to and from the car with boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. Thank goodness I picked a ground-floor apartment!

Tim's eczema is also on his feet, where it tends to cause splits. So guess what happens when he doesn't use his hemp oil product regularly on his feet? Well, let's just say he's finding out now.

So after one trip where he started limping on the way back, I ordered him onto the couch. That, however, meant I made about six or seven separate trips.

Most of the items were wedding stuff that I bought that we never used. As the trips wore on, I started to feel increasingly sheepish about buying them.

Not that anything was terribly expensive, but they'd been taking up room in our closet for about a year. And I'd told myself that it was for a purpose: They would be used in the wedding. Nothing of what I carried out today made the cut.

  • Plates:
    • We hit some 50% off sales and got all white plates.
    • We figured it didn't matter if they didn't match, so long as they were all white with no other colors.
    • Then, three or four months later, we found an amazing sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond and nabbed 98 matching clear glass plates for under $40.
  • China:
    • Pretty white and silver design
    • 50% off at a thrift store sale, so $15
    • Nearly a whole set
    • Was going to use it for the bridal party table
    • Ended up not having a bridal party table

  • Glasses:
    • Again, 50% sales.
    • But then I researched and found out it was about the same price per-glass to get glasses at Ikea and they'd all match.
    • And no one used any glasses at our reception so I ended up returning those for a full refund.

  • Dessert wine glasses
    • To float candles in. Looked really pretty in my head.
    • Got them all at thrift stores for under $20.
    • Figured the sets could be placed at different tables and it wouldn't be as obvious that they didn't match.
    • Then we remembered that potentially a lot of little kids were coming. Nixed anything with flames.

  • Random utensils
    • Got at estate sales.
    • Then we priced them at Sam's Club and got everything we needed for under $30.

In all, that's probably about $100 of items. Granted, it was collected over a long period of time. But still, we could have used that money elsewhere. And we definitely could have used the space!

Also given away were a bunch of things that the pack rat in me couldn't get rid of, initially.

  • Boots from Payless. About 3 months later, I found a fantastic pair of Aerosoles that actually zipped (I have big calves) and were on sale for $50. (Payless is great for seeing if you would actually wear some style that, in regular stores, is fiendishly expensive.)
  • Some jeans Tim had grown out of.
  • Some books (I rarely buy but when I do, I tend to give them away for lack of space)
  • Four pairs of shoes. I particularly loved a certain pair of stocky-heeled mary janes. But I couldn't remember the last time I'd worn them or even reasonably make a case that I'd wear them soon. It was an emotional parting, but given that they were a 21st birthday present, I finally said goodbye. The other pairs were even older and equally unworn in recent memory.

I think I'm done paring down possessions for the moment. I usually do it at least once a season to stay on top of clutter.

But all this got me thinking, how much of our "stuff" do we keep needlessly? (This was particularly poignant as I was carrying boxes of 30 plates.) Each time I declutter, I find things I'm ready to give up, when last time they were too dear.

So it's not just the fact that these items cost something (usually) to obtain, but also that it costs us space and sanity to house them. We feel cluttered and messy. (Well, I actually am messy. But it's made worse by so much stuff.)

How much do our things own us? So that we find ourselves working to obtain them, house them or even just deal with their presence. And that's not even touching the sum we all spend on storage solutions!

What do you find yourself regretting having bought? Is it a shirt that you swear you'll wear, but end up thinking it's too tight? Maybe a cool new gadget? Or something exercise related?

Or do you perhaps not regret buying, but keeping certain things for too long? Maybe books. Or -- and here's my Achilles heel -- gifts from others.

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Blogger Angela Stockbridge said...

I just wanted to leave a comment and say that I recently found your blog through love it. I also have a disability (I enjoyed your post in which you discussed "invisible disabilities" vis a vis using handicapped stalls/restrooms, because no one can see mine unless I'm using my wheelchair because I'm having a rough day). Anyway, just wanted to leave a comment and say you have yet another new reader.

August 30, 2008 at 2:05 PM

Blogger Abigail said...

Oh, yay, I love new readers! (And not just because they make my numbers look good.)

But seriously spondygirl, I'm glad you've found this site. I think there are plenty of disabled folks out there who need a voice, both on disability and on paying off debt with limited income.

Also just as a place to vent.

I'm glad you liked some of the posts -- and that you're sticking around for more! Just be sure to check in during the week, since I'm going to start having weekly giveaways for readers!

Thanks again for tuning in (or, more appropriately, logging on).

August 30, 2008 at 5:11 PM

Blogger Silja Erg said...

I like the theme for your blog !
i had a brief look at your post and it looked really interesting!
Definitely will be reading it more some day :)

August 31, 2008 at 6:02 PM

Blogger Angela Stockbridge said...

In actual response to this post- I have a weakness for keeping suits that don't fit. I work at a job that requires that I wear a suit every day, and I have suits that range from size 6 to size 14, and the size 6 and 8 suits haven't fit me since I stopped being able to work out regularly. I keep thinking that eventually, I'll feel better, and be able to wear them again. I find it easy to part with a size 14 suit for some silly reason, like a button popping off- call it vanity I guess... Still... sad as it is, I'm hoping to reassess the situation after surgery in December. :)

August 31, 2008 at 9:48 PM

Blogger Abigail said...


Thanks for checking in! I'm always thrilled to have new readers. Start checking in for giveaways and random frugal advice (hopefully some of it pertinent to you).

August 31, 2008 at 9:50 PM

Blogger Abigail said...


I think lots of women have these habits. I have trouble throwing out things I used to fit into, even if it's unlikely I ever will again. But a size that's too loose now? Nixed immediately. Funny how that works.

August 31, 2008 at 11:00 PM

Blogger Rachel said...

I have gotten ruthless about getting rid of things. We have three charities that do scheduled pick ups in our area, and every time I get a neon yellow postcard in the mail (they all use yellow for some reason), I know it's time to cull some other area in the house! It's absolutely amazing to me how much stuff we seem to collect, especially since we're in a 2400 square foot house, plus a three car garage. We just redid our bedroom and added a closet for me (there originally was just one closet) and the hubby and I both got rid of our dressers (well, his went to Salvation Army, mine got relocated to the kitchen) and now we can just have what fits in our closets and I love it! Makes it impossible to keep too much clothing because there's nowhere else to put it!

September 3, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Blogger Abigail said...


The pick-up notifications are great ways to schedule de-cluttering. Especially for someone as busy as you.

I love the idea of putting a dresser in the kitchen for extra storage. I know that I'm looking forward to a house so that I can get a hanging rack for pans. That will save a lot of room and make it easier to find the darn things!

Thanks for commenting. Even though this was technically last week, it's been under a week since I posted. So I'll go ahead and give you another entry for the giveaway!

September 3, 2008 at 12:38 PM


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