Thursday, November 1, 2007

A stint in rehab

Our house has required a couple of serious repairs lately, one of which has required the clearing out of our basement, aka the Black Hole of Useless Crap. Because of the torn ligament in my husband's knee, I was in charge of moving everything. A few friends offered to help, but in a moment of craziness, I decided that I needed to suffer the consequences of accumulating so much junk.* I dragged every single last box (but don't get the idea that it was all organized in boxes, because it wasn't) upstairs into the garage and only called my bother-in-law when the big stuff had to be moved. So now we have become people who park their cars in the driveway because their garage is too full of junk. Behold:

Awesome. And there's even more in our poor dining room.

After doing all of this moving and being in the mindset brought on by these books, I decided that I was not going to buy anything for myself except for food for one billing cycle on my credit card, September 27 - October 27. Brilliant, eh? No Starbucks, no magazines or books (ouch), no clothes, no shoes, no lipstick, no trip to the salon for a cut and color even though I'd be due. I decided that most people in the world do without these things every day. SO COULD I. Oh, how naive I was.

During the first few days, I was feeling strong. I was resisting. Then after a week, I developed a little loophole; I shopped a bit more at Whole Foods and that satisfied me for a while. But then about 2 weeks in, I was jonesing. And just like Lindsay Lohan will soon find herself in front of a great big pile of coke, I found myself at Banana Republic, during a denim sale, in front of some perfect dark trouser jeans. The trouser jeans I had been looking for my whole life. I tried them on and of course they fit like a dream. I was totally white-knuckling it. I left in a sweat, went home and impulsively bought this lovely print from etsy**. I justified it by telling myself that it was not for me, it was for my house, who had really been going through a tough time lately. A few days later, I bought a lamp from ebay for $35 under the same "house exception." Denial was in full effect. Then I cheated again when I bought a shade for the lamp. I also had an episode of shopping bulimia when I ordered some red patent flats from Zappos, tried them on and then returned them even though they were stunning. And then there was the In Style Home that I bought when my husband had his knee surgery (because dude, I had earned it).

The end result of this challenge: I couldn't do it. I fell off the wagon 4 times. No--5. I just remembered that I bought Gold Digger on itunes. There were no expensive buying frenzies, but a slip is a slip, no matter how small. There were a few positive effects of this experiment; it had an excellent effect on my credit card statement and it led to a little bit of soul searching. The negative: I missed out on the perfect pair of jeans at a sale price. Will I stop buying anything shiny and pretty that comes my way? Will I want to? Should I want to? Who knows. All I can say is one day at a time, friends. One day at a time.

*What is this stuff? Books, lots and lots of books and then more books. Then there are my (ahem) design mistakes, lots of old toys, clothes, and holiday decor.

**I saw this on a design blog. BB8, was it you? I can't find it now. Maybe it was just a hallucination.


Cote de Texas said...

you should see our garage, 3 cars, barely one can fit in - depends on how organized it is at the time. And I use that word organized, loosely. If the small car does make it into the garage - you can barely open the door to get out. It's a disaster zone. And - there's my "sample" closet in my office, oy! I should take a picture.

SGM said...

Joni, take a picture, let it all hang out! I think I read something on your blog a while ago that resounded with me; something along the lines of how the day was not complete without money changing hands. From the looks of my garage, I obviously feel the same way. :)
And girl, I thought I was the only one on the planet who remembered Wayne, Clinton's predecessor. Do you recall his long stringy hair and hoodies (and yes his nasty attitude) and HE was judging the style of others? Thank God for Clinton.

designdna said...

i am doing this for a YEAR! i started july 4 and have only made one unauthorized purchase...

three half price summer cashmere cardigans from j-crew. HALF PRICE and they are the sweaters i wear EVERY day and they actually had cream and oatmeal and gray instead of all the wierd crap that usually makes it to the half price bin.

but do not think i don't get a twitch every time i pass the newsstand!

beachbungalow8 said...

twas not me, but thank you for turning me on to yet another etsy artist!

franki durbin said...

oh my goodness! I know what you mean, and I practice shopping bulimia all of the time. I mean it. I am a serial returner because I would rather try on at home that in an overly lit fitting room. But I could not pass up the perfect pair of denim trousers.

So let me ask you this... what did you take from the experience?

SGM said...

I learned that I love to buy almost more than I love the item being bought. That's where the shopping bulimia comes in handy. :) Now I'm just trying to be more mindful of my purchases and really asking myself if I need what I'm wanting to buy. Hope I don't come across as high and mighty, because I'm not--I recently (and impulsively) bought a pricey new pair of glasses even though I only wear glasses when I'm sick. And of course they are not returnable. But they are SO cute I can hardly stand it. :)
Love Life in Venti Cup!

Venus said...

You remind me of Rebecca from Confessions of a Shopaholic only you don't go in debt.

Finally stumbled on a blog that's so informative and fun to read.