Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday's Fashion Fallout: Granny pants + spandex = .....

What do you get when you combine granny pants and spandex? These:

Feel free to come back when you're done laughing. I won't be offended!

These are one of three pairs of cycling shorts that I own. My mom bought me two pairs in high school and my sister gifted me a pair. I bike a lot and can say that if you've ever ridden a bike and had your rear end hurt afterwards, I know you weren't wearing bike shorts. The diaper-esque padding looks absurd but it makes even the longest ride comfortable.

Something I don't hear much about in decluttering/minimalist blogs is athletic clothing and equipment. If you're a really active person I feel like it can be hard to have a small amount of athletic clothing because of how specific the clothes are to the sport. I'll probably dig into this topic more in a later post. But have you found the same?

But I only need two pairs, not three. Especially when one of the pairs has a hole in the spandex like this:

Just what I need, to be riding down the busiest part of town and find that the 1cm hole in my shorts is suddenly large enough to warrant a police citation for public indecency. No thank you!

No one else could want these shorts so they can't get donated, but that lovely chamois padding will make fantastic little rags.

I think I may need to make a little rag bag like Fairy did.

The Reckoning

One pair of cycling shorts  
that I got for free
cut up into little rags
because the one who cleans is me.
(item 129!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Attacked by a book (or three)

Sorry for the absence, folks. I've discovered that fiction is fun to read and I got swallowed up by three fantastic books in the last week. I also started my super awesome volunteer job at the Smithsonian. All in all, it means I haven't put together any posts or responded to any comments. I'm really sorry -- but I'll be back later this week!



Monday, June 18, 2012

Stuffed up

I'm a little kid who just doesn't want to grow up. I *love* stuffed animals with a passion. I have a group of about 25 that I won't get rid of. They fit nicely in a laundry basket next to my bed. The hubs thinks its hilarious and thoroughly enjoys them. But there are others that I have no attachment to whatsoever. So why am I keeping them?

I've been keeping them because I learned at a young age that plush animals were alive and had feelings. Mom really anthropomorphized stuffed animals when we were kids. Still does. I actually enjoy it sometimes because it's one of the few times she's actually funny and happy. And I think I'm okay with it because I see it as puppeteering. She's gotten quite skilled at doing voices, making them move in funny little ways. I know my kids will enjoy her doing this.

Unfortunately it means that I get a bit too attached to stuffed animals. I mean, I grew up thinking that plush toys needed "anesthetic" before they went into "plush surgery." I know now that they don't have personalities and they don't feel pain. But wow, I have to remind myself to believe that. Scary, huh?

So moms, what do you do with kids and plush toys? Do you play with your kids and let them treat their stuffed animals like they're alive? Or does that just give kids attachment issues?

The good news is that there are some stuffed animals that I know I don't have attachment issues with. They will not feel pain, they won't be upset. So out they go.

The Reckoning!

Free with a pair of earrings I bought. No idea why.

A pet-sitting thank you gift from a family friend.

I suppose the double curse of loving stuffed animals is that people are constantly giving them to you. As if my own collecting wasn't bad enough.
Now speaking of stuffed animal collectors, there's a guy at work who literally has about 1000 beanie babies. He has a storage unit for them. And then he buys more and gives them away at holiday parties. Goodbye to three Teeny Beanies. No storage unit for me!

The Reckoning

Items 129-133: Five stuffed animals, all free. Off to the thrift shop!
Total money wasted on junk this year: $1262.00.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday's Fashion Fallout: wearing my grief on my sleeve (literally)

This Friday's Fashion Fallout item is an Alzheimer's Association hoodie in their trademark forget-me-not purple. Ah, it's purple and it reminds me of Gram. I'm screwed already. 

If the whole point of wearing this was to be a walking advertisement for the Alzheimer's Association, why didn't they design it so that you could actually see their logo? 

Hey kids, here's a marketing lesson: your slogans need to make sense! Putting the word "move" on a sleeve with no context is just silly. Then again, maybe it's just a sign that they're using donation money for research instead of marketing. 

The only move I'm going to make is to take this thing to the thrift shop. 

The Reckoning

I'm going to leave this one out of the reckoning this week. It's financially confusing because some of the money from the jacket did go to a cause I support, but some of it didn't and I don't know how much. I also had to purchase a shirt for my new volunteer job, which will take the place of this in my closet. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

First month - June overview

Finding the Resources

 For me the most important part of doing more of the things that I would do if I won the lottery is to free up as many of my resources as possible. This means wasting less time, energy, and money. I've started writing down everything I spend to help me track my financial waste.

 I used June as my baseline month. I didn't try to restrict my spending or even evaluate it much. I just did what I wanted. What you'll see here is my spending just for me, not for my husband, so you won't see much by way of housing, groceries, gas, mortgages, or utility bills on here. This is just the stuff that I've purchased for my own wants and needs. I've always had trouble with spending so I warn you, this is an eyesore.

What Do We See Here? 

I spent a lot more on clothing this month than I usually do. It's a hefty amount, almost $600. This is because I purchased my final set of good work clothes. I've been in treatment for my eating disorder for 2.5 years now and finally have a stable, healthy weight. My psychologist, dietician, psychiatrist, and I felt it was important that I buy myself good clothes that I will love. And since one of my Lottery Project goals is to dress nicely and wear pants with creases, I bought nice pants that also have spectacular creases. This meant I went to Brooks Brothers during a 60% off sale. At this point I don't need more clothes. 

Books are something I need to stop buying. I spent $75 on e-books. I'm a librarian, for goodness sake. I will learn to use the library.

I eat out a fair bit. Lunch at work can cost $10 or more. Can I save a bit of money by buying TV dinners instead of meals out? It doesn't help me live mores sustainably, but it does help me save money and gets me in the habit of not going to restaurants. 

My eating disorder therapy is expensive. There's no getting around this. Being sick means being miserable. These visits are going to cost what they're going to cost. 

My wants exceeded my needs. I spent over $800 on "wants" this month and $500 on "needs." My husband has given me the challenge of staying on an $850 budget. If I trim down my "wants," this shouldn't be too hard. But what if my "wants" are related to my Lottery Project goals? One of my first goals then will be to make sure that my "wants" purchases are restricted to Lottery Project goals. 

So, can I pare down my "I'm a spoiled brat" lifestyle in July to keep it under $850 a month? Let's see if I can. Any suggestions on how?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hoarding family portrait: Dad (or, the post in which I foist wedding photos on you)

Ever since I realized that my mom is a hoarder and my dad is a compulsive saver I've tried to figure out what made them the way they are.

What's their backstory? Well, my grandparents lived on $50 a month right after they got married, or so grandmom says. Dad didn't have a crib at first, he had an orange crate. My great-grandparents were no financial help to them at that point because Grandmom was Anglican and Grandpop was Polish Catholic, two religions that were like oil and water in the 1940s. The marriage was horrible thing in their parents eyes. Their parents didn't acknowledge my grandparents' existence for a while.

But my grandfather went on to become a pediatrician, so we're not talking about life-or-death frugality here, certainly not for any length of time.

 My dad's mother is the grandmother of mine who can't bear to see any object leave the family. She gets quite upset by this. I didn't know my grandfather for very long, but I knew he was obsessively careful with money. He would drive down to Delaware from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to go to a grocer where he could save 10 cents per pound on butter. But he didn't seem obsessed with objects.

My dad's mother is the grandmother of mine who can't bear to see any object leave the family.Which I find really strange, because her house looks as though Martha Stewart's clone lives there. The only photos I have of the place are our wedding pictures that we took in her bedrrom (my portrait) and in her spare bedroom (the hubs'). Note: Grandmom didn't clean, organize, or tidy up in any way for these pictures. Her condo is *always* like this.

So where in the world did my father get the traits that lead him to save so many scraps of wood that his woodshop is unusable? To buy so many boxes of vitamins on sale that most of them are expired before we can use them? To purchase enough aluminum foil the year my parents were married that we used up the last roll more than 5 years after I was born? (And my parents took 10 years to have me. That's a fifteen year supply of aluminum foil. No kidding.)  But he has always been able to emotionally let go of objects when pushed, unlike my mother.

My only guess is that the chemistry of my dad's brain plays a role. He's struggled with severe depression and terrifying anger management problems since his mid-twenties. His anger was the "release valve" for his depression. He did not use objects for emotional security, only financial security.

Unfortunately he only got treatment about five years ago, after my mother and I compelled him to accept medication and psychotherapy. He seems to at least consider the implications of buying a literally ten-year supply of decongestant now. He may only buy a couple years' supply. But this is obviously the person from whom I get my desire to buy multiples of things so that I can either save money or avoid running out of the item later.

Up next, the sister.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday's Fashion Fallout

I just had to jump on the alliteration band wagon there, didn't I? Hey, at least I'm not trying to be punny. Hehe.

Anywho, the challenge of cleaning out our closets is a really daunting one. It's a problem of two 'but's:

But I paid good money for this...but I used to like it...but I may want it someday...but it belonged to a relative...but I'll never find another one like it get the picture.

The second 'but' is of course the one I mentioned in an earlier post, the butt. As in, I better keep this piece of clothing because I may be able to get my butt into it at some point. 

Put these two things together and what do you get? A girl who stands in front of her closet and can't bear to get rid of much. How do we fight this? I'm fighting it by taking it one single item at a time. For the next few weeks let's see if I can find one item from my closet each Friday to get rid of. You can try it too. Just one. No biggie, right? 

I hope so. Because I just got rid of the last of the "easy" discards, the pieces of clothing that were no challenge for me to toss.
How do you prefer to declutter your closet? All at once, or little by little? Do you schedule a cleanout at the end of every season? And because I love cheating on little challenges: what hasn't worked for you? I'm sure we'd all love to learn from your mistakes. I know I will!

Today's photos are the last 'easy' items to discard. I'm only counting prices on the items I never should've bought. Top photo: 1 scarf (free), one winter headband (free), one pair of heels ($15), three shirts (three free, one on permanent loan from a friend who lives in Spain), one pair of shorts ($10), one baseball cap ($10), one pair of dancing shoes (used these, so they were worth the money). Bottom photo: one sweater ($20), one pair of shorts ($10), one turtleneck (I wore it, it's just worn out), one pair of too-large pants (but I did wear these), one skirt (permanently on loan from a friend who lives in Japan.) 

Okay, and while I'm at it, I should stop stealing clothes from my girlfriends. Especially the ones who live abroad. 

The Reckoning

Items 115-128: A ton of clothes.
Cost: $60
Fate: One of those Planet Aid dumpsters.
Money wasted on junk I never should've bought: $1262.00

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kitchen kapers

No, not the store. Though I suppose this is where part of my problems began.

Why do we have so much trouble with kitchen clutter? My guess is that 1.) women really *are* genetically programmed to want to feed our families and 2.) stores like Bed Bath and Beyond are house porn. You wish your house was like theirs. Or not. 3.) Cabinets that are taller than most humans are miniature black holes, sucking up small cookware items and never coughing them up again.

What surprises me most about this collection is how much stuff wandered into my kitchen as gifts. How do you keep this from happening?

Anyways, hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the thrift shop we go:

#92-96: Five single-serve corningware dishes. I love small things and these were miniatures of my mom's baking dishes. So of course I had to buy them. Shame I already had four regular sized Corningware dishes in exactly the same pattern. $25.
#97: A cheese dome. I used to have visions of having a kitchen countertop that looked like a counterop in a diner, full of lots of cute pastries under glass. Like artwork. Then I realized I want to eat the pastries, not look at them. Got this in the "free box" in our old apartment building.
#98: A water bottle I ruined by leaving milk in it for an embarassingly long amount of time. $8. Trashed.
#99: A tea infuser that came with a mug that I happen to love. I would love the infuser if it actually worked. $0.
#100! A coffee measuring spoon. I don't drink coffee, but when I got this I was in my bulimic "I will only have exactly 1.5 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk in my tea each morning" moods. No restricting now. Not to mention, I hate coffee. Also $8.
#101: A spare broiler pan. No idea how we got this. Probably was a gift.
#102: A silver-plated coaster from Grandmom. Because she can't bear to see anything leave the family.
#103: OMG I LOVE miniature things. Especially mini jam jars. But I don't have any use for it, so it goes in the recycling.
#104: A lunch bag. Another "gift" from a vendor at the last place I worked. I hate promo swag. I really do.
#105: Empty tea tin from Harrods.
#106: A cocktail shaker. Not like we make cocktails. Came with the margarita we ordered.
#107: A mini crock pot. A bonus that came with the hubs's crock pot. Not exactly a bonus for us.

#108: A baking rack. No idea how we got it or how much it cost.
#109-112: Burner inserts. They helped keep our old stove clean but they don't fit on our current one. $20
#113: A water filter from our old faucet. Doesn't fit on our current one.We did use it, so I suppose it wasn't a waste.
#114: Camping utensils, likely stolen from my sister. Back to her they go.

That's $61 wasted on kitchen stuff. I'm actually surprised it wasn't higher. Good thing, since I'm up to $1202 wasted on junk. Argh.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fit to run, fit to dream, fit to...forget why you're running

Two weekends ago I gave my eating disorder a little kick in the rear end. For years I wanted to run but never did because I didn't feel thin enough. I thought that I had to look like someone on the cover of Runner's World magazine before I could start pounding the pavement.

My dietician told me that I needed to start doing everything I tell myself I would start doing if I weighed my ideal (insane) weight. So I've spent the last few months jogging a couple times a week. On the 19th I ran the Run for the Achievable Dream in Colonial Williamsburg, my first 8k race!

So I told my eating disorder who's boss, raised some money for a good cause...wait, which good cause was that? It was kind of hard to tell because all of the publicity at the race was for the race sponsors. Not the people benefiting from the race.

So we go pick up our packets (race instructions, course maps, the numbers you wear on your shirts...oh, and tons of dumb giveaways branded with corporate logos and made with child labor in Asia)...and get encouraged to buy stuff.

Seriously, if you're going to run an 8k (or the half marathon on Sunday),
why do you need to buy shoes?

Or better yet, if you're in good enough shape to run an 8k (or a half marathon!) no one should tell you that you need to lose weight.

My ED got a kick out of this one. No, no, NO!

I saw plenty of posters for race sponsors. But nowhere did I see a sign about the race beneficiaries. You have to visit the race's website to find out why you're paying a $60 entry fee to run this thing. I've run a few 5k races and at those I at least knew what charity my money was helping. This was really disappointing.

In spite of all of the advertising, I think the race was for a good cause. I can put up with a little lactic acid burn in my legs to help someone who got theirs blown off in an oil war. Or to help an inner-city kid get a better education. And to get one step closer to my own recovery. But in all, it was a good, fun time.

Oh, and free post-race beer. Seriously.