A few years ago, after deciding that we have way too much stuff, I instituted the “5 luxury items” rule. I decided to try to only purchase 5 luxury items per year. A “luxury item” being anything that does not replace something that is worn out or broken. So, if the coffee machine breaks, I could buy a new one, but a shirt or pair of pants counts (as I already have way too much clothing). The goal of this little exercise was to reduce spending, but also to reduce the accumulation of “stuff” as well as time spent shopping for stuff, sorting through stuff, deciding what stuff to get rid of and so on. It worked out well, but after a year or two, I’ve become more lax about purchasing things that I don’t need. So, after reading this article in the New York Times, I decided to try the year without shopping.
My version of the year without shopping allows me to shop for books, consumables, as well as household items that we view as necessary (i.e. small appliances we use often like the teakettle, or a cell phone if one of ours is lost of broken). It also allows me to shop for the kids. So, their clothes, as well as birthday presents and things like books, coloring books, etc. are allowed. Everything else is off limits. In a house full of stuff, I should be able to find something to wear and something to use for almost every purpose. People live in tiny houses
Its only January and I’ve been doing ok. I did buy a hot water bottle (with a cute unicorn cover and a baby one for Isla) because I’m always cold when I first get into bed and then hot after a couple of hours. This counted, barely, as a household replacement item since I couldn’t find one around the house before I ordered it.
I also got a pour over coffee filter because I the filter for my french press was shot and, apparently, it is impossible to buy a new one. I felt good about this falling clearly within the category of household replacement items.
So, I almost made it through January when I stumbled across these
dishes on a blog. And what can I say? I am a total sucker for dishes. So is my mom. It must run in the family. I’m super picky about what I want my dishes to look and feel like. I want them to be heavy. And oven, microwave, dishwasher and freezer friendly. I want the shape of them to be just right. The color too. So when I saw these simple, perfect dishes, I couldn’t help myself.
Not Staying the Course (of Course)
I wanted to order them all right away. But first, I forced myself to sort through all of my kitchen cabinets and take stock of what I have. To get rid of stuff I don’t use or don’t like and to organize everything so that I could find what I was looking for. I decided that after doing that, if I still thought new dishes were a good idea, I could get some.
Serendipitously, the very next night, 5-week old Noelle just could not get to sleep. This resulted in me being up all night long. Long enough to tackle the armoire, which had accumulated years worth of random junk and looked like your junkiest junk drawer times ten. Large-scale junk drawer. Nice. The next day, I did a thorough reorganization of the cupboards. And with only the slightest tinge of guilt, ordered a few of the pieces that I had been eyeing.
Failure Never Felt So Good
The dishes arrived the very next day. And they are PERFECT. We used them for dinner and they just made me so happy. Dare I say, they made me glad that I slipped up so quickly on the year without shopping. Realistically, I’ll probably get more. Maybe I’ll ask for some for my birthday. But for now I’m enjoying the simple pleasure of eating dinner on a the perfect plate.
As for the year without shopping, I’m back on the wagon. I also know that it will probably end up being the year of less shopping. Or the year of more mindful shopping. And I’m ok with that.