Confessions of a Clothing Miser: Mindless Non-Spending

I am notorious amongst my friends for my clothing…er, choices.

“Nice skirt! Charity shop?”
“Nah, she must’ve got it on sale!”
“…Like, 15 years ago?”
“Or someone gave it to you? Which favourite aunt didn’t want it?”

Yep – my clothes are either old, or from a charity shop (and probably still old) or something I bought for a ridiculous price in a sale (“What do you mean FIFTY PEE?!”) or a piece that a family member was getting rid of and I snaffled up.

In the personal finance world, this is a marker of pride – clearly, I’m thrifty. Clearly, I’m frugal. Clearly I live so farrr outside the mainstream that I no longer have need of the eeeeevil high street any more.

Absolute sweetie cutie pie pudding pop little one waving bye and then releasing her hands and disappearing down the slide.

I defy you consumerism and fast fashion and the unsustainable capitalist cycle of consumption we find ourselves trapped in!

And then my favourite shoe shop shut down (sob! RIP Shoes Of Prey) and I got pregnant and nothing fit and was comfortable and now I am no longer pregnant but I do actually have needs that my clothing needs to accomodate.

Needs that a lot of my clothing (bought pre-baby – heck, pre-marriage) doesn’t really work for.

Which, practically, meant I needed to go shopping. For actual clothes. And I found myself surprisingly resistant to this idea. Why? What were my reasons? Turns out I had a fair few presumptions stopping me.

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December/January Declutter: So, I KonMari’d my clothes.

White Long Sleeves Shirts on Brown Wooden Clothes Hanger

Shoutout to the Hatchling for sparking off this whole process.

‘Cos you know what helps me declutter faster?

A baby/now toddler being able to open and access the drawers I traditionally keep my clutter crap in.

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I started off with some of the things in there:

Empty sunscreen bottle – …I’d forgotten it was in there.
Neutralising gel

An AHA facial cream – I ordered it specially from Poland. It used to make my face feel all burny even in the midst of winter and I took that as a sign of effectiveness. I’m past that now.
One hipster mug/jar –
the Hatchling sliced open a finger on a metallic design detail. Out.
A watercolour set and paintbrush
One mobile phone (including battery)
– I didn’t realise you could give non working mobile phones to charity shops (specifically, Oxfam in this case) for them to be recycled. Normally, I pass phones on but this phone has some sort of dodgy adware installed into the phone itself. uHappy? No, I am not. Out.
A Monopoly cat figurine – Confiscated however many years ago when my (class) kids were having an argument over it.
I don’t know why, the top hat is clearly superior.
Anyway, it has been returned back to its rightful game.

…but then decided I needed to be more systematic than tossing random items I didn’t want my child to try and devour.

Enter Marie Kondo .

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My Top 5 Romantic Financial Posts

Shallow Focus Photography of Multicolored Floral Decor

Fear not, none of these posts are written by me.

I have (another) confession to make – I’m a (not very) secretive romantic. I love being swept away by the sudden or building depth of someone else’s ardent emotions; catching the little moments that add up to great significance; the swell of genuine feeling that knocks you off your feet when you realise just how much one person loves another.

So you’d think I’d absolutely love Valentine’s day and that my loved ones would be awash in red, pink and chocolate.

Er, not really? But daily snuggles, nose bumps and lots of kisses are our regular. The Hatchling now looks up at anyone showing affection expectantly, waiting semi-patiently for their own shower of adoration, so there is that. They’re already spoilt with love.

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Re-enactment of the Hatchling trying to get some loving.

In celebration of the weekend of lurrrrrve, I thought I’d round up 5 posts that gave me ALL OF THE FEELS.

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Goal Setting as a Dreamer

Woman in Black Floral Shirt Holding Yellow Flower Bouquet

I was raised to be quite an ambitious person and new year’s resolutions were always a part of that. It started to reach a point for me in my early twenties where the idea and the reality of my resolutions just weren’t matching up. I’d have a great big long list and barely anything ticked off.

Now, when it comes to my target setting, I find I’m far more successful. It took me a minute to work out why. I mean, yes, I use the SMART acronym to help me but it was zooming in on the ‘R’ (realistic) part of it that really made a difference to me.

Making a goal that was specific, measurable, achievable and time-constrained (almost always a year, max) came easily to me.
Making sure it was realistic? Whole other ball game. I had to make a lot of mistakes before realising how to make SMART goals work for me.

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An October Scare

focus photography of woman's fist

When October rolls around, most people start thinking in appropriate colours: amber, ruby, gold for the high point of Autumn; or purple, orange and green for spooky season.

Me? I think about pink.

So it was with this in mind that I decided I should actually carry out a breast check for the first time in however long.

Veronica Mars asking if she should check herself before she wrecks herself.
Yes Veronica, for that is the whole point of this post,

Over the tops…under the bottom…under the armpit….oh, hello. What’s this?

A lady in an office rolls back on her chair, declaring "I may have found something."

I pause for a moment. My husband hears the silence and turns to look at me.
“What is it?”
“Er….I found a lump.”

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Decluttering: August 2019

assorted-brand product lot near window

In my hoarding confession post, I mentioned reaching a season where you feel it’s time to let go.

My lovely husband and I have been discussing this regarding the fact that we moved some things from our old house to our current house and yet have never opened/touched in the entire time we’ve been married.

They are still in their original packing boxes.

In August, with some free time on our hands, we started releasing some of them:

  • 3 matte lip glosses: Made my lips feel like they were covered in dried clay. I sent some pictures of me wearing them to my sister and she basically responded with “What were you thinking with that hideous third shade?!😂 ”
    Er, that I am a fancy woman who looks as glamourous as that Youtube influencer?
    She was right – it didn’t suit me at all! 🤣
  • 2 dresses: No more fancy outings for me now I’m an adult!
    Also, they didn’t fit anymore.
  • 2 pairs of shoes: Beautiful shoes with heels I can’t walk in anymore: adios!
  • 5 baby food pouches: we were passed these on but the Hatchling absolutely refuses to eat ‘lumpy’ textured food (we’ve thrown out about 5 before we officially gave up) so I took them to our local community fridge, hoping they could be of use to someone before they expired.
  • 2 tins of green lentils: again, passed on to us (sigh) but I don’t like them and neither does my other half. Community fridge (they were already some green lentil tins in there!)
  • 1 fan: I bought this during ye old heatwave of late July and it promptly stopped working and then lumped around the house like an insoucient squatter. Despite the receipt somehow disappearing into thin air (I highly suspect that the Hatchling ate it), they allowed me to exhange it.
    I went for fudge and Dutch caramel waffles and have absolutely no regrets.
  • 1 Baby swimsuit: Again, a panic purchase during the heatwave for the Hatchling only to realise 1) I’d bought two of the same size; why? Children grow so fast and 2) I didn’t really like this one anyway. Back it went before the time in the receipt ran out and I was stuck with reselling it.
  • New summer dress: bought online and thought (hoped) I might like it. I did not and neither did anyone else, but it spent a frighteningly long time in my cupboard before I remembered to return it so I’m calling it a win.
  • Guitar & case: Although these weren’t originally mine, I’d been hoarding it in case, I/the Hatchling/an epheremal being decided to take up the guitar. It went within the hour of my posting it on a local Facebook group.
  • 20 Baby items: We have a new addition to the family and so were really excited to pass on (and back) some muslins, blankets and bits.
  • Some cladding pieces: we’re (continually) in the process of refurbishing our house and had some left over. I didn’t want it putting in the bin or taking to the tip because it was brand new, unused and seemed like such a waste and so bad for the environment! Fortunately, my father-in-law happily took it off our hands.
  • 3 books: The library I wanted for myself as an adult when I was 13 is no longer the actual library I want now that I’m an adult. I decided I’d outgrown two books and someone else could have them. One of the other books has been passed on to another family member for information purposes…
  • 2 tops: I bought them for an event (from a charity shop) and ended up wearing neither. Back to a charity shop they go…
  • A games console and a stack of games (about 20): Another “but we might want to….in the future!” hoard. Having played vintage games in gaming cafés, I think this is unlikely.
    What can I say – I like good graphics, no glitches and an engaging story line. Just like with the book, my tastes will evolve and change and I need to leave space for that.

Use it Up Club:

These are things that would be hard for me to sell or give away (mainly things that have been used, like beauty products). So far, nothing to report so far but I have a few things that I’m working on at the moment…

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Around 71-75 items decluttered this month! I didn’t really think of August as a declutter heavy month but that feels like a lot of stuff – is that just me that feels that way?

£87.57 made altogether from that lot up there: £52.07 was made from selling some (though that includs the postage costs paid) and £35.50 from returns. The returns definitely felt more satisfying than the selling – far less effort!

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…but it also makes me think that summer really reduces my impulse control (“I need it now because it’s so hot/summer might end in a day!”) and that’s why I had as many returns to do as I did.

When I get really focused on something, I rarely look back.

This is great for motivation and perseverance purposes but rubbish for allowing me to take stock of how far I – and we – have come.

I’m already writing my list of things I want to get rid of this month because priorities.

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But lately, we’ve had family over to stay and even they’ve commented on how much clearer and breezier our house feels.

It feels good to know our efforts are making a difference.

Things are starting to feel more efficient in general and I think this is spurring us on to keep going, as well as notice the areas that we’ll need to focus on next (drawers, urgh).

Decluttering not only allows us to make space but also to find space for what we already have.

It also minimises the amount of things a very mobile Hatchling can potentially shove in their mouth O_O

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Image credit: Unsplash

Cinderella Shock Syndrome

A person (possibly Victor Hernandez, the photographer) holding pair of turquoise sneakers with thick white soles by their laces as iridescent bubbles float around. Blurred in the background is what seems to be a bridge of a similar rurquoise colour to the shoes.

I looked up the term ‘Cinderella syndrome’ and found a theory from a 1981 book that claims that the Cinderella complex is ‘a fear some women have of being independent that causes an unconscious desire to be taken care of by others.’

I sniff my nose at this idea being applied specifically to Cinderella: the theme of being cared for by someone else is a theme that runs through almost all fairy tales across the world that include a young woman and a wealthy man and a happily ever after.  

Yet, of all the fairy tales, it’s Cinderella’s that raises the most questions for me, money-wise.*

She went from sitting in cinders, ashes and rags to the royal splendour of a palace and I can’t help but wonder – how did she cope?

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Did she struggle when food went to waste or if she was served an overly large portion, guilt-stricken by the memories of her former poverty?

Did she miff off the maids when they caught her cleaning her own clothes?

Did she embarrass by insisting that every part of a pumpkin could be used, for curries, casseroles and coaches?

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Hoarder of Hope

Dozens shiny gold stars that look like sequins...

“Where does this go?” asks my mum, waving some trinket at me.

I shrug: “I dunno.” Then I frown. “I just find it really hard to get rid of stuff, even if I know I don’t need it now.”

My mother sighs deeply, acknowledging our similarities. “It’s that poverty mindset.”

And I remember being impressed, because my mum is not someone prone to any sort of deep or constant reflection. And she absolutely hit the nail on the head concerning the reason for my inability to let go of certain things.

It’s definitely something that runs in the family – my mum is a notorious stasher. One of my favourite memories was when my sister and I got sick of not being able to see her vanity table and started clearing it.

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