Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I saw it, therefore I need it.

Today I opened a catalog instead of putting it straight in the trash. I saw some pajamas. They were very pretty, so obviously comfy cozy & cloud soft that I could feel warmth rising from the glossy paper on which they were printed. But yikes! Big dollarsigns. I felt challenged. I could beat that deal! A few minutes later I was online looking for a sweet sale on pajamas. I checked eBay, Amazon, JC Penney & probably five other places. But I just could not find my dream pajamas for less, darnit! I got up to move laundry around. Came back and checked facebook which led me to read this. Closed that tab, which brought me back to my search window. Oh yes- I was looking for pajamas. Those ultra-important articles of clothing in which I SLEEP.  I was so embarrassed that I fumbled my first attempt to X the tab away to Neverland. I went back to the laundry, and no joke, folded 3 sets of pajamas. All mine.

A funny thing happens when you put the catalogs straight in the trash straight away. You don't want. You don't rationalize those wants in to needs. Your kids don't either. And you don't waste 40 minutes of your life staring at a screen- searching for a newer, prettier version of what you already own on one of the most gorgeous days of the year.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why I Hate Dollar Stores

You walk in for a birthday card and leave with straws, some smiley stickers, a cat toy that you hope isn’t made of real mouse or Chinese cat, a two-pack of dish gloves guaranteed to tear while washing spoons, some purple-colored yet evergreen-scented tea lights, and a roll of tape that will stick to everything in the whole entire world except for paper. What’s more- you’ll leave feeling proud of yourself for finding the wheat among the tares and saving so much money.

I once thought I’d found gold when I bought 5 toothbrushes for a buck, ‘til I brushed my teeth and wound up with a mouth full of bristles. And there was that gel candle I burned for a few hours and quite enjoyed until the red goo & glass jar suddenly burst in to flames on my kitchen counter.

Kids, even if you have only ONE dollar you can still buy SOMETHING! Spend, spend, spend! Don’t save your money for something lovely that you’ll treasure when you could have a can of half-dry off-brand Play-Doh right now! The only way to extinguish that 4 quarter burn is to buy something made of plastic that will break in 43 seconds or less.

Dollar stores encourage cheap, thoughtless giving. (Don’t get all uppity on me. I know this to be true because I’ve given some really lame dollar store gifts.) I especially feel sorry for teachers at Christmas time.

They also discourage creativity. Remember when you were little and you wrapped birthday gifts in inside-out Christmas paper that you’d colored with markers? Or Sunday comics? You really don’t have to have wrapping paper that matches the party theme. Remember when parties didn’t have themes? The dollar store can make all your Sponge Bob table spread dreams come true.

Oh, and Christmas- you can now put tiny red bows on even your toilet seat hinges! Before you call me judgmental please know that I’m as guilty as anyone here. Celebrating the birth of Christ (poor, in a manger, came to save the world) with a consumption-fest sickens me. How much to spend, who to spend it on, should we just back out altogether? I’m pretty sure I’ll never figure it out!

The dollar store also makes it affordable to put two (or three, or nine!) fake plastic spiders on EVERY brick of your house in October. And you can decorate for St. Patrick’s Day even if you don’t own a tavern.

“Well, if it breaks easily, doesn’t work, makes me break out in a rash, doesn’t match, etc. I’ve only lost a dollar...” Yes, the FED has reduced dollar notes to something laughable, and yet... Many people, billions in fact, live on less than two dollars per day.

I’m not saying that dollar stores are good for nothing and how dare you frequent those hell-holes. Sharpies with misprinted packaging, expired pregnancy tests that are still accurate. (If you look carefully you’ll often discover WHY an item is at the dollar store.) There are reasons to go. But I bought two plastic dollar store table cloths yesterday, and guess where they are today? :(

I hate dollar stores because they're not the problem- I am.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1984: YES to the album, NO to the mousse

Confession: I have 3 curling irons. Because I curl my hair about once every three years. How did I end up with three? Beats me- I have no acquisition memories. Obviously, they are very important to me, and it's a good thing I've been hauling them around from house to house for decades. Battling the cords every day when they get all tangled up with the cord from the blower dryer that I actually do use. Smart. So very.

I also have 4 hair brushes. Some more than 12 years old, missing bristles. The hair in them's not nearly as gray as the hair that is currently on my head. Sad. Telling. Kinda gross.

Your turn- Go look under YOUR bathroom sink or wherever you keep your hair stylin' stuff. Yes, right now. Whatcha got? A 3/4 empty can of Aqua Net with a pre-scanner days real price tag from K-Mart? I really want to know. Tell me I'm not alone in pointlessly hanging on to hair fixin' stuff I don't need, want, or give a flying flip about. And go put that krizzap in the trash. Nobody wants your Debbie-Gibson's-hayday-era hot rollers.

Unaccomplished Mama Guilt Be Gone!

This blog is about cleaning up, getting free, simplifying- so we can glorify God, so we can give of the time and resources we save by having less junk in our heads and on our desks, so we can enjoy our families and the multitude of other gifts right in front of us that are easy to miss when we're overwhelmed. I guess it's a weeding project. Pulling the flower chokers and fruit inhibitors. Just a little weeding each day equals fresh air, an opportunity to notice new buds & growth, to catch predators & diseases before they get out of hand, to reconsider the extraordinary little creatures of God that are squirming around in the dirt that we ceased being amazed by a sad, long time ago.

If I'm going to do this right this blog must be clean, simple, and especially- NOT a time-vacuum. I've been known to overblog in the past, so I took a week to refocus. I have a couple of hours of kid-free nap time each day in which to exercise, read, learn French, do projects around the house, declutter, write, etc. And if you fail to plan you plan to fail. (I don't know who first said that, but way to use words, stranger!) A homeschooling mom with little kids and no cook or housekeeper doesn't have time for marathon training, serious college courses, monster cleaning binges, or career blogging. Well, some might, but I'm no such hero.

So today I'm decluttering this: feeling guilty about it. Accepting the reality that for most of us little children = little time increments. I confess my inadequacy. I give up. There. I can move on, make a plan. Decluttering & blogging gets 15 minutes per day starting tomorrow. Short posts, but frequent. No editing. Bye, bye sweet thesaurus that made me look smart! Ouch.