Ok, here I go. After a long hiatus from thrifting, I’m dipping my toe back in to the thrift pool, and so far the water is fine!
This is a pretty big deal for me. Many of you know my story, how several years ago I filled my house and life and mind to the brim, all the while justifying my addiction by telling myself that I was being frugal.
I wasn’t. I was barely holding it to gather under the weight of keeping all that stuff in order. And despite my constant efforts, my house was always clutter and junky feeling.
After this realization, I’ve been through quite an experience of growing to LOVE living with less. Less stuff, fewer commitments commitments, fewer out of home activities. Basically, just a good old fashioned simple life.
Because of this, I have had much more time to pursue things that interest me. With five babies, a farm, a home business, a blog and homeschooling, I have way more space, both physical and emotional, that I had when I only had two babies. Yes, yes, I have loved this time of learning to live with less.
I thought about this for a while, and wondered if I was to trust myself with going back.
But, I am also learning to live with balance in all things. It’s with this in mind that I have consciously, purposefully started to visit thrift stores again this year.
I’m learning to trust…
For me much of this whole process has been about learning to trust in God. To trust that my happiness is not dependent on material things, but also to know that I can own things that I enjoy, and accept that they bring me pleasure! Yes, I want to own less, much less. But I also want to be able to enjoy the good things I do have as gifts from the Lord, and not feel guilty about buying things that I like!
So far, I have ventured into the thrifting pool about six times this year, and the results have been great. No I don’t mean that I found some great things to buy. THAT will always happen.
I know this may seem an an inconsequential thing to write about. But to me, it’s symbol of progress in my life. You know that feeling, when you think that you’ve grown stagnant and that things are never going to get better and that you’ll have to just live with the current self forever. Tell me I’m not alone in feeling this fear creeping in!
Well, now I can look back a few years and see how huge this change has been for me. I can feel genuine joy and relief of knowing that I can indeed change for the better (even at my old age!).
This spring I decided that I felt ready to put this new resolve to the test.
I marched into the store with a plan…
I marched into the store with a plan of what I wanted to look at. The first couple of times, I was clutching a real paper list that I wrote out, my little rescue whistle that I could blow if I started feeling out of control.
But, much to my relief, it went great. I didn’t even look in the sections of the store that weren’t on my list. I bought two things, and left!
I also noticed that, I was able to see awesome things at great prices, and feel ok about not buying them. Wow, wow! How nice it is to admire something lovely but not feel like I need to own it. What a relief!
I also went in with a cash budget, and I didn’t overspend. This may seem silly to some, but guys this is a huge change for me! My former self was thrifting multiple times per week and our budget was slipping through my fingers, one card swipe at a time. No more!
I have also been able to plan my trips to the thrift stores, usually a couple of days in advance. This gave me a chance to make a list of things to look for, and it helped me not to feel like I needed to impulse shop. I know my weakness better now, and I know that just “swinging in” to the shop to look around is a major pitfall for me.
So far I have bought a few piece of (current season) clothing for myself and kids, some awesome running shoes, a few great books, a beautiful set of dishes (that replaced the old ones), a wonderful pottery pitcher, a sweet little bookshelf that we really needed, a darling clock for my desk, and few fantastic granny-chic art pieces for blank walls that needed a bit of cozying up.
This is what I want thrifting to be for me!
I’m not totally reliable yet, and I want to stay sensitive to this. For now, I’m taking time to plan trips, take a cash budget, and run any larger purchases (like the book shelf) by Ray, to make sure I’m not being impulsive. Dare I say it’s working pretty well?
This will be an ongoing experiment for me, so I’ll be checking in now and then, either rejoicing or confessing to you. If you feel like I’m slipping, send a “steady on old girl” my way, won’t you?
I have truly undervalued the importance of a balanced approach to many things, but I’m also encourage when I take a moment to see how far I have come in this area. It helps me see how the Lord continues to work in me, though I don’t always have the sense to acknowledge it.
Let’s rejoice in our successes!
Won’t you tell me your successes, even if you are just beginning? I’m not talking about a complete life-changing declutter, I mean any change for the better! I want to rejoice with every step forward!