Day 23,711: Taking My Personal Inventory.

 As always there are numerous books coming out or being reintroduced on the value of living with less. It’s almost ironic that there are endless books crowding shelves on reducing inventory.

It’s an ongoing war against our materialistic world, but I’m no soldier. Sure it’s not great to be vain, have too much, always buy for yourself and not others, but minimalism?  No, I’m not a fan.

I like having things and there are still things I want. I can frequently list them at the drop of a hat, and unfortunately they are not cheap things. Here are a few: A paddleboard and oar for the summer, a new powder room sink, a new color on the powder room walls, hell a new powder room overall, a new bed with that magically raises my head if I snore, a redesigned fireplace… well, you get the idea.

Most of the list is home based. That’s just for now. On another day, I could have a similar list that could be all beauty based, or book based, or closet based.

The Value of Maximization

One daughter likes to chastise me for being a hoarder, but I’m not. I’m a stockpiler. I like to buy a dozen rolls of toilet paper so I never run out. I like to buy multiples of things that are comfortable because comfortable is so hard to find. I have a few pairs of shoes in various colors. I have a few of the same blouses in the different colors. I have more than a year’s worth of Spry toothpaste found on sale.

Related Post: For the Economic Good

Today, Hay House publishing put the book The Year of Less by Cait Flanders on sale for $1.99 to encourage people to buy it. That ploy won’t work with me. I don’t like reading books on a Kindle so the $1.99 would be a complete waste of money. My Kindle isn’t even charged. I will go to the library next week and see if I can take it out for free.

It’s worth noting Cait Flanders was apparently $30K in debt when she went on her personal journey, and I’m not. If I were, maybe I’d be more frugal than I am now, and less likely to be indulge in treats.  I come by my habits honestly. I grew up in a frugal family that indulged in cheap treats.

Penny Wise, Pound Fond

I literally grew up in a penny candy and newspaper store. If you indulged in the inventory, you were clear you were reducing saleable inventory. Still, it wasn’t like we never indulged. My father read the newspaper carefully, then folded it back up and put it back out for sale. My mother worked the store with me and every so often would lift the top of the penny chocolate candies and let us both take ONE.  Heaven.

When I went out clothes shopping with my mother, I knew a $20 frock was 2,000 newspapers, since our profit on each paper sold was exactly a penny.  I didn’t spend family money easily.  I had too much guilt for the hours spent in the candy store.

As a result, I’m good at saving pennies. However, I’m also good at spending big bucks. It’s a conundrum, I know. I learned that from my mother as well.

I’m not sure my mother ever relaxed around money, but I know as she aged, she suddenly felt comfortable enough to buy a condo in Florida, treat herself to expensive jewelry (on wholesale), and give herself the occasional treat she had been denied in earlier times. It was nice to see her enjoy the fruits of her labors. It was nice to see her not be a minimalist.

Nevertheless, I will continue to study living with less. It seems like a positive attribute to have. It boils down, I think, to what gives you joy in life. If being surrounded by too many things feels stifling, it’s likely time to declutter. But, if affording things and treating yourself feels empowering, it’s likely time to buy. I’m somewhere in the middle. Still buying. Still decluttering. Still donating. Still figuring it all out.

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Daily Focus on Gun Sanity:  Consider picking up the 2007 book Ricochet, Confessions of a Former Gun Lobbyist by Richard Feldman.

In America today, the most powerful lobbying group purports to support the Second Amendment, but actually supports gun manufacturers profits and merchandising. It’s similar to how food manufacturers want people to buy processed food, tobacco companies never wanted to admit to the health detriments of smoking. It’s the old story of  unconscious capitalism.  It’s worth noting Cait Flanders (above) really purports for mindful budgeting. Being mindful of what’s really going on is what’s really critical and why when the Parkland kids shout, “We Call B.S.” it’s so powerful. When I next go to the library, in addition to Flanders book, I’m picking up Feldman’s. It’s time to be mindful of what’s really going on with the NRA – and it’s not protection of the Second Amendment.