Sign up here for FREE Updates, right to your inbox!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Great Purge and THE NUMBERS ARE IN!

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. - William Morris

As you can see, I am starting things off a little bit differently today.  The above quote by William Morris has been trying to break into my consciousness for some time now, and I have finally clued in.  This quote was first brought to my attention months ago by my mom's lovely friend Catrin (ohhhh, forgive me if I have spelled it wrong AGAIN!).  I haven't been to her house, but I am told that she exemplifies this quote in its purest form within her surroundings.  Then, this past Friday, I had a lovely visit with some close friends of mine, Allan and Shirley.  Shirley was sharing with me an interesting book about creating beautiful spaces in your home and this quote was again featured in that book.  Now, I'll admit that I am a bit slow on the uptake, but finally, last night at 3 in the morning, it hit me!  I need to PURGE my house according to Morris' brilliant quote.  I was so excited, revelling in all of the things that I was going to give away that I didn't fall asleep again until 5:30 this morning.  It was all that I could do not to throw open my closet doors and start right then!  (I think Trent would have had me committed for sure if I would have done so)
Historically, I was of the opinion that I have always been fairly good at disposing of unwanted or unnecessary items, simply because I was comparing myself to folks who aren't very good at it.  Now, when I look around my house with this new, shiny perspective, I can see that I am not as skilled in this area as I had originally thought.  You see, I, like many people, have attachment issues.  (Shhh!  Don't tell anyone!)  Thinking back, I guess that I have always had them.  Some of my strongest childhood memories involved giving away my 'very favorite pair of slippers' (that I NEVER wore) to a friend and then immediately panicking and wanting them back (my mom said no way and I quickly learned that re-nigging is a no-no).  I also vividly remember being paranoid every time I would go away for the weekend, wondering what my dad was going to give away or sell of mine this time (he is definitely someone who does not mind getting rid of stuff).  I am not sure where these attachment issues came from, but I am guessing that at their root lies a distinct fear of not having enough.  When I say that outloud, it sounds so ridiculous to me, because I have never not had everything that I needed to exist in this world.  So, I am simply resolving to end these attachment issues, here and now, starting today.  (Who needs a psychologist when you have a blog anyway?)
I did begin the great purge (with my closet of course) and I managed to sift out 2 huge recycling bags full of clothes.  I will not miss these clothes when they are gone.  (This is the mantra running through my head...)
Now for the big news... the first months totals are in! 
DRUMROLL PLEASE?...............................................
After one month of the living with only the Marebare Necessities:
  • I have spent $461.74 LESS on groceries than I did last January
  • I have spent $377.14 LESS on retail purchases than I did last January
  • I have NOT purchased myself a Starbucks Coffee of any kind (which would have saved me about $80 by now)
  • AND, our monthly Visa bill has been cut by OVER ONE HALF!!!
Plus, Trent thinks I am a superhero!

Yahoo!  I wish you all a happy, happy day!
Marebare :)


  1. Thats INCREDIBLE Maren! Totally staggering results!!!
    Coincedentally Im reading a book right now, which ALSO features the Morris quote. Its Called 'When organizing isnt enough, SHED'...same idea as you outlined really. In this book, the author urges you to weed out the 'treasures' then you should only require about 20% of the 'stuf' that remains that is not deemed a 'treasure'...

    ON another note, Im drooling over the bread in your photgraph below...droooooool.

  2. I've heard this William Morris quote a few times and, like you, look around my house with a different eye. Yes, things could go BUT I just can't throw things away! Thrift shops and charities are quite picky about what they will take (sometimes, rightly so). My biggest problem is that if I think something may be useful or beautiful to someone else, I cannot bear to just toss it but find disposing of the item(s) just too much trouble - so they stay! I wonder if that comes from being raised by parents who grew up in the depression.

  3. Linds,

    Thanks for the feedback - you are always 3 or 4 steps ahead of me when it comes to all of this stuff... want to do a guest blog entry?

    As for the bread, send me your mailing address and I will send you a loaf!

    And Janet,

    I totally agree that it makes a difference when it comes to how you were raised. Those who grew up with nothing (or were raised by folks who did), seem to have a lot of difficulty parting with a lot of 'stuff', and rightly so! I think that it is a lot harder for these folks to justify 'wasting' in their minds. To me, it is all about perspective... I would much rather see something in my house being useful to someone else if it isn't currently being used by me... For example, yesterday I handed over oodles of baby stuff to a friend in need. Not to say that I won't necessarily be needing it again someday, but it is certainly not doing anyone any good sitting in my basement. What goes around comes around. People are always so generous with me, that I like to try and pay it forward.

    Those are my thoughts...

    Thanks for your comments ladies!
    Marebare :)

  4. Hey Mare -

    We DO seem to be dipping our toes in similar waters these days!!! I would not say I am any where NEAR being 'steps ahead' of you. you are blazing a trail girl...and I love it! I plan on continuing to learn a alot from your adventures. (Plus I giggle every time I read, as you have such an entertaining way about your writing)

    For me I think it started with a need to 'figure out' why i liked 'stuff' so much. And not unlike you, why I grew such an attachment to objects, that in perspective, shouldnt be important at all. Also, I needed to see the reasons that I was addicted to the thrill of aquisition/consumerism. Like you, I discovered that usually the object didnt bring pleasure, more-so it was the convenience and ease of the aquisition. I also unearthed the misguided feeling of accomplishment that I was deriving from turning money into an aquisition/belonging.I was equating my ability to aquire with my potential to succeed and be happy...but never felt satisfied.
    So I went on a reading rampage. (Naturally)

    Ive made a few key discoveries along the way...figuring out that lifestyle and health were actually the most important things to me...and that 'stuff' generally did not contribute to that. Actually the acquisition of stuff was SLOWING down my quest for ultimate lifestyle enjoyment and happiness.Gavin and I agreed from that point on that the spending in our household would center around lifestyle/health improvement in the place of stuff. So outdoor fitness classes and sports that we enjoy, and healthy food took the fore-front of any spending, pushed 'stuff' out of the way. We focused on things that would contribute to daily satisfaction and lifestyle enjoyment, like making the most of our health benefits that were previously ignored (HOLY CRAP! I GET FREE MASSAGES?!?!)
    Another key was found in the SHED ideas. Somehow, getting rid of the clutter, and ditching a pile of 'stuff' that once seemed essential (or 'eventually would be') makes a gal appreciate (rediscover!) her real treasures. Less Stuff = A greater feeling of abundance = a happier person. These concepts may be second nature for some, but oy, for me (Recovering shopaholic and self proclaimed stuff addict) was a huge revelation. Less really does equal more.

    Onto the 'give a man a fish...teach a man to fish' portion : You should send me the RECIPE for your gorgeous bread!! :):):) YUM


  5. Have you ever read "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez? I highley recommend it. He has you track every penny that comes in and out of your life and it's pretty amazing to see what you spend money on!

    When I first did it (20 years ago) I discovered that I was spending a huge amount on a category that couldn't be described as anything but "junk". Pens, stationary and other writing supplies seemed to be the main culprit, although when I did a purge I found that I owned several grocery sacks full of unused pens, pencils, erasers, note pads etc.!

    At that point I proceeded to have a little "nervous hoe-down" as my dear friend from Texas would call it (like a nervous breakdown only smaller and with comic overtones). I remember standing there fuming about it as I was doing the dishes. "But it's MY money!" I thought to myself. "If I want to buy..." then all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks. "IT"S MY MONEY! I can spend it on meaningless shit, or I can put it in the bank and be one step closer to financial freedom."

    Not sure I've been able to convey the bigness of that moment for me, but it changed my life.

  6. Rebecca,

    You sound like a teacher... addicted to stationary and pens? I can sympathize with that one (being a teacher myself). Thanks for sharing your big moment - I had mine this past Christmas and it really does take 'a moment' I think to cause serious life change. My mother-in-law was asking me today if there was something that started it all for me (a book, an article), no, just your ordinary 'nervous hoe-down' in my case as well. So, I hear you. And, thanks for the book title, I will look into it.

    And Linds,

    I have always known that you and I were kindered spirits in some freaky way. Great minds think alike and those who are super alike often try to compete for the same niche in life (sound familiar)? That being said, I am glad that we are no longer in a situation where we have to 'compete'. I like to have you as a teammate rather than a competitor! I am sending you the bread recipe via facebook tonight. Good call on the Chinese Proverb btw!