Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I've been cleaning out my email clutter.
Last week, when we went on our little family getaway, I left my phone behind or turned it off most of the time. The goal was for me to unplug a bit. I will admit that I am terrible about over-checking my email. For real, I will check it, and then immediately recheck it. Sometimes I check it without even paying attention. I won't even open any emails, I just look to see if there are any.
Usually when I wake up in the morning, I have around 65 new emails that were sent overnight. Of those 65, I might actually want to read two of them.

My inbox is flooded with contradictions. One states ideas for raising children to be empowered rather than entitled, the next two will show off the "must have" toy for only $150 or that "gotta have it" back to school item.
I get recipes for cheap and easy meals and then have to read about how to lose those last five pounds. I sit and read about how to simplify and enjoy the little things, then drool over vacation packages and clothes that I can't afford.
How to clean my house in only 15 minutes a day? I can't even sift through my emails in 15 minutes.


I've quite enjoyed unsubscribing and highly recommend it. It has lightened my emotional load considerably. I can't believe it took me so long to do it. I am choosing to live my life, rather than read about what I "should" be doing. Enough with the self help. I'm going to help myself to what is out there!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Things are starting to break

So, three weeks in and things are starting to break!
Last week I dropped the lid to my food processor and this week on vacation, my purse straps started to unravel.
My big decision is if my food processor is a necessity. Well, obviously it isn't, I've lived for years without one before. However, if it sits in my cabinet, without a lid, unable to be used until next year when I allowed myself to buy "items", then doesn't it become clutter?

The purse, okay, I probably have another purse that I can use. I just really like this one!

So, I'm still debating on if I am going to buy the food processor lid. I think that if I don't, then it really will become clutter.

I just got back from a quick vacation with the family. I didn't buy a single thing for myself! No trashy trinkets, no cheap souvenirs, and no unnecessary t shirts. I did buy a few little things for friends, but it was wonderful to just come home and dump out the dirty laundry and be done!
Just a quick note for now, to let you know that I haven't forgotten!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Buck Stops Here

The donation truck came through the neighborhood on Monday. This is our pile.

It looks so much smaller on our front porch than it did piled in my office. Mr. Challenge got into the spirit of things and went through his closet. He purged bags of clothes and sent plenty off to the trashcan, too. I have to admit, it was pretty sexy.

The first week is over and I haven't noticed an increase in money yet. I'm afraid that I am channelling all my extra money into dining out with friends. That is more enjoyable that shopping alone, I have to admit. I do have a goal to put $1000 in my savings account. Maybe even more, that way when I end the challenge I can go on a shopping spree have a tangible reminder of what I gained this year.
One thing I have gained is time. I am already catching up on housework and my to do list is dwindling quickly. I am excited about the prospect of actually working on some of the unfinished projects in my house. Wouldn't it be nice if I could finish that gift I started for my sister just over 2 years ago?
I went to a thrift store today to pick up a costume for The Boss, who is in a theatre camp this week. I scoured the house for pieces that would work, but we just didn't have a skirt that would be acceptable for a gypsy.
I love thrift stores. I get such a thrill out of finding treasure there, and inevitability, everything I want is less than $5. I waded through racks, looking for just the right thing, when I saw it...the cutest black and white sundress. It looks brand new, it's in my size! It would be perfect for when Mr. Challenge and I go to Vegas next month. I pick it up, it's only $7. It promises me that I will look sexy, but sophisticated in it. Never mind the six other sundresses in my closet, they don't matter. Only this one matters.

I put it down and walk away.
I don't try it on.

And I'm okay.
I did find a perfect long skirt for the gypsy costume, along with a white shirt that we can pair with jewelry and accessories that we already own. I walk out paying only $4 and feel empowered. I feel happy. I didn't waste an entire afternoon buying things that I don't need.

I can't wait for the next donation truck.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Sirens of WalMart

WalMart may be my undoing.

I did go yesterday because we needed some necessities. I swear, it involved underwear and sheets, that's all you need to know . That's when I came across this beauty.

Isn't she lovely?
And totally unnecessary.

It's just so cute I can hardly stand it. Why in the world would I need this? Well, it is over $5, if you will notice. Plus, I can make my grocery list and have it hanging on my fridge! Then, look! It has a little place to write out my menu!
This product promises me that I will be organized. I will be one of those awesome moms who does everything so well and looks cute doing it too. That's what I'm trying to buy here.


That isn't me. That isn't anybody real. Whether my grocery list is on a piece of notebook paper or on a cutsie preprinted pad, it doesn't matter. I will still buy the same groceries. I will still look at my menu and sigh because I don't feel like cooking that night.
I will even probably still tell my kids to fend for themselves while I crawl into bed, eat too many carbs and feel pathetic because I'm not one of those moms who has it all together.

Great, now I'm depressed.
I didn't buy it, by the way. Now, I actually glad that I didn't. After only one week, I'm beginning to see where I was sabatoging myself.
What items do you buy that end up mocking you and making you feel inadequate?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cheater Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

No, I haven't cheated yet, but yesterday I really wanted to buy something. Already!? Come on! I haven't even been doing this a week.
I'm sure that this is my brain going on the assumption that if I want something, I just go out and buy it. It obviously hasn't been reading my blog. Stupid brain.

I went outside last night to water my dead struggling garden, trees and lawn. With such oppressive heat here these past few weeks, anything that used to be green is now a lovely shade of brown.
I hooked up the hose and turned it on, then suddenly, I was soaked. The yard was dry, even though I was pointing the sprayer at the yard.
What the hell?
There seems to be some sort of malfunction with my sprayer. All of the water shoots out of the bottom instead of out of the sprayer nozzle where one would think it would come out. I bet I paid $5 for this piece of crap. So I turned off the water, wrung out my jeans and went off to find the nozzle from the backyard.

Stuck. This baby isn't budging.
Next, go look in the garage for something, anything that I can use. I'm determined now to water the lawn. It's a matter of principal. A quest to prove to myself that I can do it.
I found an old nozzle nestled in the garage. I attach it to the hose and turn on the water.
Well, it's more of a backwards shower than a deluge, so this will have to do.

I want a new nozzle. And soaker hoses.
How are these not necessities?

What if my foundation cracks and it looks like my house is a set piece from a terrible disaster movie?

No, I cannot just stick my thumb over the hose. That requires a certain amount of coordination which I seem to lack.

I want a new nozzle. Not just a nozzle, one of those wand kinds. So I pretend to be a fairy princess as I bring life to weeds small plants and dehydrated trees.
Okay, would you believe an Evil Queen?

I am currently re-reading Not buying it, My Year Without Shopping. I actually recommend it for anyone who is curious about this subject. Judith Levine gives you lots of facts and figures that you won't find here, but she also talks about how the entire process makes her feel.
Their project was more strict than mine is. Mine is about the clutter, so I am still allowed to consume experiences, classes, dinners out and even entertainment. They did not, however since this is such a personal experiment, I did tend to disagree on some things that they deemed necessary as I am sure they would disagree with mine.

So here I sit. Dreading the moment when I have to go outside and attempt to water the lawn again. Knowing that Judith would suck it up and just use a hose.
No, I still haven't thrown away the three nozzles that don't work.
I did get rid of 13 of my bags and purses! That surely is worth celebrating with a trip to Lowes!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Girl Has Baggage

We are going to talk about bags today.
Not the bags under my eyes, thanks a lot for that.
Bags that you put stuff in. Lunch bags, grocery bags, messenger bags, homemade bags, book bags, gym bags, overnight bags, tote bags, bags that go inside of bags, make-up bags, break up bags, any bag that you can think of, I probably own.
Mt. Bagmore

I stopped counting at 67. That does not include any suitcases. These were only the ones that were easily accessible.

Everyone that I tell about my challenge makes the same face.

And asks the same question. Why? Why would you do that?
This is why.

It's embarrassing to bear my soul like this, but this is one of the gigantic pile of reasons. Seriously, this isn't even all the bags that we have in the house. These are just mine. This pile does not include any bags from Mr. Challenge, Mr. Mister (our 17 year old son) or The Boss (our 9 year old daughter).

I have made calculated purchases before just to get the "free" bag. Bags are so useful. You can carry things in them, hide things in them, you can take things to your car in them and bring things back from your car in them you, can put cats in them and then laugh at (stupid)silly kitty trying to get out.
What? Like you've never done that?
So now, after showing off all my baggage and mocking myself, I am feeling depressed cleansed, so I think I am going to go put a bag over my head make a pineapple upside down cake.

Here kitty, kitty.

My entry into Blissful and Domestic's Feature Friday Link Party sponsored by Appliances Online.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My name is Suzan and I'm a $5-aholic

 My beautiful Mom (I have to say that, she reads my blog) thinks this project is a terrible idea.
I told her my plan over lunch before we launched our marathon shopping trip yesterday. Between sips of sangria and chips and salsa, I explained that my stuff was suffocating me and making me miserable. That I have too much of everything, I don't want for anything and I'm tired of sifting through mountains of crap and losing things that are really important to me.
No, the irony is not lost on me.
In all fairness, my mom is usually right about these things. Here is what she said to me:
My dear, fantabulous, talented, smart, witty (why are you laughing!?she totally said this!) daughter, it sounds to me like you do not have a problem with buying things. You have a problem with buying $5 things.
She's completely right!
She also said that I have an attitude of poverty and therefore, when I see items that are only $5, I tell myself that I can afford them so in order to keep myself from feeling poor, I buy said items which really only reinforces my feelings of poverty.
She is seriously deep.
And she hit the nail on the head
But, don't worry faithful readers, I'm not giving up that easy! I'm still going full force into this challenge. What better way to change my attitude of poverty than to examine every purchase that I even want to make for an entire year?  I can stop myself before I purchase those evil little $5 treasures that seem to multiply like cartoon bunnies all over my damn house.
I'm getting carried away again, aren't I?
So, the burning question that you really want to ask is...
What in the world did you buy on your last day of shopping for an entire year?
Well, here it is.

I had a hard time finding things to be totally honest, do you know how many $5 items I could have bought? Do you? I could have filled my trunk.
I bought an awesome 2.5 gallon drink dispenser.(please email me your best sangria recipes) True story, I bought one of these at a garage sale for less than $5 a few years ago that leaked like a sieve. Ask me if I still have it. Ask me. Go on.
Man, this sucks, but it is going to be the cheapest therapy ever.
This may be the  longest post I write,  but I have to tell this story to the world because it kind of sums up my life.
I left all my purchases on the dining room table overnight so that I could take a picture of them for the blog. I had to run out this morning for a few hours, so when I returned home this afternoon to take the picture, I discovered that my cat had thrown up all over the super cute sundress.
Don't 'cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
p.s. No, I do not kiss my mother with this mouth.
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Friday, July 1, 2011

The Last Supper Shopping Trip

Today is my last day as a casual consumer

I do need to go into why I have waited until July 2nd.

My Mom is coming to see me today and take me shopping for my birthday since this was planned before I got this hair-brained idea to take on this challenge, I decided that this day would serve well as my last hurrah. I'll be spending the entire day shopping in one of my favorite malls. With outlet stores, oh! My little heart is beating so fast with excitement! My arm muscles quiver with the anticipation of holding shopping bags. I can almost smell that new clothes smell.


That was good.

Retail Stimulation?

Anyway, I am getting off subject.

So, when I return this evening, I promise to take pictures of my loot and to dissect my final recreational retail trip.

Where would you go if today was the last day of shopping for you? What store would be on your must hit list?