the next step

All the decluttering in the world is not going to have any effect if you don’t stop the stuff coming into your life in the first place.  We’ve all been there: cleared a cupboard or a room and then six months later it has reverted back to type.

Part of the reason for this blog was to encourage transparency and to make me change my mindset.  To think before I bought, to question the actual value of an item.  It has worked to a certain extent, I am certainly far more thoughtful about most purchases whether expensive or from the charity shop.  In fact charity shops used to be one of my downfalls.  Items that I would never have bought new I would happily buy from a charity shop.  I’m not saying that I haven’t had some fantastic buys but just because a dress is only £5 I should buy it.  If I don’t need it I shouldn’t buy it just because it is cheap and/or good value.  It is only good value if I need it.  I was going to insert a picture of a dress that came to mind as I wrote that.  However, said dress went back to the charity shop in the first purge 🙂

So this year I am recording all my expenditure.  Every single last penny.  I would like to see whether the expenditure in various areas matches up to the pleasure we got in those areas.  Groceries are essential, but at the end of the month if I have spent say £200 on groceries and yet we can’t recall more than a handful of lovely  meals then it was not money well spent and we need to work out why.  Our time here on earth is limited as are our funds.  I intend to make sure I get the best out of both of them.


14 thoughts on “the next step

  1. I go by the rule that, if I don’t really need it, no matter how inexpensive it is, it should be left in the shop for the person who really DOES need it and can’t afford more. Growing up I was in a youth group that did rummage sales to raise funds to send children to summer camp, and was appalled at the rich old ladies who scooped up everything ‘in good condition’ knowing they had no need for it at all. Later saw boxes of the stuff at their estate sales, never even unpacked!

    1. I agree entirely. It is all to easy to think something is a bargain because it is cheap, but if you don’t use it then even if you only paid pennies for it you have wasted your pennies.

  2. I’ve been pondering this for a while now. I WANT to declutter. I WANT to simplify my life. I WANT to save money and the planet and my sanity. But how do I overcome years of conditioning? How do I divest myself of a childhood that centered on gift-giving as a sign of love? I correlate my overall happiness to the acquisition of THINGS. And when I’ve tried to go clean before – not shopping, or shopping on a budget, or just shopping for things I need and not for things I want – then I become a miserable witch. I need an intervention, stat! Here’s hoping that reading more blogs like these and meeting like-minded folk will give my the impetus and the encouragement to change. Because I really DON’T need that floppy felt hat that a blogger just posted but which will sit in my closet unworn because I’d look silly in it in the classroom. ;p

    M @

    1. For me it was the shame when I did the really big purge. I looked at all this stuff we had and was appalled that we had spent money on things we never really needed nor wanted. If we hadn’t spent that money we would have been so much better off financially and a lot happier personally. The sheer volume of things we sold or donated was astonishing and if you were to walk into our house now you would not think “oh my how minimalist”. Which just proves how much there was. A bit like loosing weight – I don’t ever want to go there again. I don’t ever want to have to declutter so much stuff ever again.

  3. Strange that this should come up today. I mentally self-flagellate about my expenditure, for example £30 including postage for my next year’s supply of footwear. I have just totted up what the other one has spent on vehicle and “little treats” in Lidl (not essential groceries) and I feel relieved.
    With your encouragement I am about to undertake the really heartbreaking task of “rationalising” my footwear. The other good rule to follow is “one in, one out” if buying a new jacket, ditch one already in your wardrobe.

  4. Groceries. I can’t understand how I spend $200/week (about £120?) on fresh organic food. I have tried buying in bulk, coupons, growing veg ourselves. All to no avail. Some weeks I can get down to $150, but that’s rare! For a while I was doing things like making my own bread, but we liked it so much we would eat a whole loaf as soon as it came out of the oven!

    1. I find menu planning really does help. It doesn’t have to be a chore, look at it as an opportunity to read some of those cookery books or browse the plethora of recipes on the net. I try and incorporate the main ingredient of at least 3-4 meals from my freezer or storecupboard. I managed that for 6 out of 7 meals for next week. Total bill including replenishment of toiletries / loo roll / kitchen paper etc. which had gone down to almost zero over Christmas and pet food £78.20 for a family of five and three dogs and five cats.

  5. I do think it’s important not to beat yourself up about this, but being conscious of expenditure is surely wise! All my adult life I have struggled with the aim of not overspending but only once I got rid of so much and stopped buying “stuff” did I achieve any degree of success; these days, I occasionally enjoy browsing shops and enjoy the presentation but am far more likely to come home emptyhanded – I know how many decorative objects, for instance, I decluttered and now that my remaining things are better organised there is simply no space to store much more so I desist. Also, I already have what I need! My husband is amazed at how much of my “housekeeping” money is now left – especially when I replaced my little car with a similar secondhand one paid for out of it!! Now I am on track to take on the bill for replacing our heating system, just from not buying “stuff”! I’m still amazed 🙂 Good feeling, tho’.
    I’m not sure what it is with the groceries but we regularly pay 50-100% more if my husband comes with me to the supermarket; often, it’s because he’ll buy more and expensive meats than I would, but it’s not just that! He does like to buy more variety than I do, so perhaps those bloggers have a point who say repeat meals more (Courtney Carver, Janet at Garden Cottage…)? From what you’ve said previously, Gillie, I don’t think I have anywhere near the variety on hand that you do – but I am no longer feeding 3 growing girls!
    Something completely different: I would love to learn more about your house, which you say is several hundred years old! Do you know the history of it?

    1. I can’t be doing with eating the same meal over and over. I think Courtney Carver has 16 meals and only uses those. That would depress me. Having said that I often cook double and freeze which is a great help when life is busy or pennies are short. Though it is important to remember what you have frozen (or write it down) I have come a cropper occasionally on that front!

  6. It is important to be conscious of expenditure but I have to say that writing down everything I spend has never really worked for me. I tend to give up after a few days. It works better when I try to stick to a weekly budget, and when I plan the meals in advance.

  7. I think it is the OCD list maker in me that loves it. I am keeping a record of what I wear as well. I suspect there are some items in my wardrobe I think I wear but I don’t.

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