April 2012 Minimalist Shopping Update
Sitting Here and Thinking About Things
Okay, time to pour a cuppa and let’s talk shopping update. A few weeks ago I changed my blog’s tag line to “essays on life after the clutter is gone.” Minimalism and simplifying don’t end after the big cleanout and epiphany–there is also, I think, an ongoing realization that you’re flowing against the cultural stream, and possibly still exercising a lot of willpower to not fall off the no-shopping and no-clutter wagon.
It’s been twenty-nine months since I last used a credit card. The non-essential shopping trips have been kept to zero. Even when shopping for clothes, it is for specific things, whether at a resale shop or a department store. When I see a great bargain I ask myself how many books I need to sell to pay for it, and that usually stops me right in my tracks. Something really has to fit my body, my soul, and the way I actually live and dress these days, or I won’t buy it.
My closet is still pared down from participation in Project 333, and I heartily recommend going through at least two seasons of it to adjust your wardrobe perspective. There are a few things I’m getting rid of in the next cleanout, and a couple of basics I’ll be keeping an eye out for, like a good quality white buttondown tunic-length shirt with sleeves that are actually long enough for me, to replace the one I have that is seventeen years old. Oh yes. I know it’s gonna give out on me one of these washings.
I have been looking for long-enough black skinny jeans for three years now, at least ones that don’t cost more than my weekly food budget, and finally found a pair, which I accompanied with black ballet flats. My other pair of black jeans are so baggy and barely long enough, so I rarely wear them. I’m probably too old to wear skinny jeans, but I cover everything above the legs with long tops. My rule of thumb: if you’re developing a wattle, you’re probably sagging elsewhere. This applies to slender women, too, and in fact probably more so. But I like my lean mean skinny black jeans. They keep me in touch with my inner punk rocker.
This brings me to knitting projects (I challenge you to find another segue from punk rock to knitting), because I made a tunic-length black turtleneck with the yarn I recycled from an unworn sweater. It was the kind of project I like: no pattern, simple stitch, etc. Basically I knit two rectangles for the front and back, bind off for a bit of neckline, pick up stitches for sleeves and turtleneck, and sew it all together. It was so “right” and fun to wear, that I did a variation with another batch of recycled yarn, and came up with a V-neck cardigan. I made button loops instead of bothering with buttonholes, and finished off the neckline with a collar. This was back at the end of February and I thought I’d be able to wear it for a couple of months.
Ha. I got to wear that new sweater (which I adore, and you can see a bit of it in the photo) twice before the weather turned weirdly warm, and haven’t worn the black turtleneck much, either. Hmpf. So I decided to restart the cotton/linen sweater that drove me crazy last summer and fall. I still didn’t like it and unraveled the whole thing. It is now on version 3.2, in which I am following my nature, not using a written pattern, and doing a variation on the two I made out of wintery yarn. So far, so good. If it doesn’t come out right, though, I’ll reknit it into washcloths! (I am a firm believer in threatening one’s knitting project to keep it in line.)
The warm weather meant the garden started up much earlier than usual, so I’ve been cleaning up and cutting back what dead foliage remained from last fall, and Steve’s been mowing the lawn. It’s always tempting to buy a lot of plants and to get involved in sprucing-up projects, but so far we’re doing a good job of avoiding those money and time pits. Oftentimes “simple life” includes a vision of a garden and outdoor leisure time, but we all need to be realistic about the work and expenses involved in making things lush and beautiful in one’s climate. That being said, I think I can set aside a few dollars for the herbs I love most and another blue or purple perennial. Bees love blue-spectrum flowers like sage and lavender, and we must help out the bees however we can.
Went to the eye doctor this morning and he confirmed I need new glasses. My current pair cost over $600 three or four years ago (the lenses were the killer, not the frames), and of course that is now out of the question. It’s time to risk getting the new ones online at Zenni Optical, about which I’ve heard good things. The same sort of glasses will cost–get this–$50. I’m going to get round black Harry Potter frames Skinny black jeans, round black glasses–second childhood, here I come. This is either very sad, or wonderfully glorious, and I’m betting on the latter.
On Thursday, in keeping with the shopping theme, I’m going to post a review of a great new book that takes a hard look at marketing and advertising. In the meantime, do tell me a bit of your own shopping updates!
Thanks to everyone for the condolences and support last week–it really meant a lot and helped so much. We miss Tabby, but we are also accepting things. Thanks so much.