Category Archives: Family

I killed my 333 Wardrobe!

Photo by Emily May

Photo by Emily May

Okay, so, maybe not as dramatic as that. But I committed a cardinal sin. I broke the “You can only wear your workout clothing to workout” rule. And not just by waiting too long to take a shower and running to the store in my gym clothes.

I bought gym clothes to wear as “real” clothes.

There’s a really long story you can read about how and why this happened below if you want to, but what I really have been thinking about is how engrained impulse buying is in our culture, in my life, and how easy it is to fall back into. It’s like binge watching television, you have to actively shut it off. I have been actively not impulse buying clothes for three years now, ever since I learned that I owned 27 pairs of jeans and most of my co-workers owned 5 or less. It was like an addiction I had to break, and it was hard. (The super cute $10 dresses at Target didn’t help at all.)

This year, especially, I’ve been trying to be really conscious of what I buy not only for myself, but also for the kids. It needs to be high quality (relatively in the kids’ case), something that fits well and will for a while, and there needs to be a solid reason to need one more shirt or pants or whatever it is. It’s been going pretty darn well, actually, but it’s a struggle. Every day I have the option to buy something nice but not necessary.

I grew up in a small town, we didn’t get to go to the store more than once every week or two, if I didn’t buy what I wanted when I saw it I might well not get the chance again. But that’s not the case now, nor has it been for the last 17 years. I’ve lived in major metropolitan areas for the last 15, I can go to the store every day if I want (sometimes whether or not I want.) But this impulse to buy buy buy, whether the item is exactly what we need or not, is the reason we have such an abundance of self-storage garages (and television shows), closets bursting at the seams, and overflowing landfills.

Have any of you successfully shut off the buying impulse? How’d you do it?



The long story of how I got the shorts that I didn’t need:

First of all, in my defense:

  • It was hot. Like, hot for Minnesota, anyway.
  • I don’t own a single pair of shorts. They look terrible on my legs.
  • I was tired.
  • Even the “real” shorts I tried on looked terrible on my legs.
  • We were going camping.
  • The shorts I bought were so comfortable!
  • I was tired.
  • They were on sale for really, really cheap ($6.)

I bought two pairs of “capri leggings” from Gap Fit—a black pair and a blue pair— and I’ve been wearing them with t-shirts, calling it an outfit. I know I don’t look terrible, but I certainly don’t look great. I don’t wear them in public much, I don’t feel good about my body in them. They were not a good purchase for me (other than being so comfortable!)

I had actually been doing really well all year with the control over impulse clothing buys, but I definitely see how I fall down this rabbit hole:

My favorite jeans died. When I went to replace them, I found the company (again, Gap) had changed the design of them significantly, so I ended up with a different style. They were on sale, along with a bunch of other stuff. There is a serious lack of nice shirts in my closet, but there was nothing I really loved, so I refrained. Then, while taking the kids to mall for shoes, I went into this store I’d been wanting to check out for a while, found and fell in love with a shirt on clearance: by one get one for $1 clearance. But, the kids were done and I didn’t have time to look for another piece, so I left with nothing. That shirt haunted me though, it was perfect: so comfortable, so flattering, so casual yet dressy…so I went back to the mall a few nights later sans kids. I spent over an hour looking through the store’s clearance (and trying on many, many items) before I finally found what I was looking for. I got two great shirts for a great price. But the jeans and the trying on had sparked the bug, and I was tired of wearing jeans when it was hot out, so I started looking for shorts. The whole think-before-you buy barrier was down, especially because I already had to make a trip back to the mall because I didn’t buy the first time. So I just did it. I bought them.

I’m going to give myself a pass on this, say lesson learned, and relegate these to the “lounge wear” category.

Sometimes I want a flip-phone

When the iPhone 6 came out and all of the cell carriers “removed the discount” they had been offering on smart phone lines, I seriously looked at getting a flip phone. With the change in structure of the cell bill, we had the choice of either buying our phones outright and then having to wait 2 years to get a new phone and pay a higher data charge (but still having the option to sell the phone when we got a new one) or signing up for what amounts to a payment plan where we lease the phones and can get a new one in a shorter period of time (we chose 18 months) and keep the discounted data charge. (We looked at every major carrier, the only one we could have done anything cheaper on was Sprint, but it doesn’t have a reliable network here.)

Our phones end up, essentially, costing the full $700 no matter which way we go. That is INSANE. I don’t need a $700 phone. I’m not solving world hunger here, I’m just writing. I’ve got a computer and iPad and I can use those to get on the internet. I don’t need to be that hyper connected. In fact, I don’t want to be that hyperconnected. I’m tired of feeling tethered to email and facebook and twitter and work. I wanted freedom.

I decided to get a simple flip phone. I would use it for *gasp* calls and texts and that was it. Great idea, right?

Nope. It was MORE expensive to go the low-tech route (over time) than to just get the new iPhone and all it’s bells and whistles (including the GPS that I desperately need.) So I got it. And I love it, it’s a great phone. But I still feel tethered. Attached. Dare I say, addicted?

It’s not all bad. Having a smart phone has allowed me to work a weird schedule this summer and keep up with everything I need to do while the kids play at the playground or the pool or the library. I’m immensely thankful I can stick a tiny computer in my back pocket and not have to haul my laptop everywhere. But I still feel like there needs to be a happier medium that I haven’t yet found.

We’re going camping next month and the spot we got doesn’t have electricity. There will be no way to charge anything other than in the car. I’m both looking forward to and am terrified of the disconnection. It’s only 2 days. I’m worried both that it’s too long, there will be too much to catch up on when I’m back “on the grid” but, also, that it’s too short. I won’t be finished with the withdrawal symptoms yet, so the hit I’m going to get when I plug it back in on the drive home will only make the attachment (addiction) worse.

How about you? Anyone out there feel the same way? Is there a medium ground between a landline and the computer in my pocket (or on your wrist?)

A life update

Hey Guys,

I haven’t done much of a life update lately, so I thought I’d do one today.

We got our March snowstorm on Sunday night.

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The kids had a great snowball fight before school yesterday.

I have this disorder, where if I’m making soup, I can’t make just one at a time. And my kitchen gets trashed.

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My kids’ favorite place is the library. That makes me very happy.

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I’ve started juicing again. Not a full juice fast, but one green juice a day. It’s heavenly.

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Last week and the week before, I participated in the Right Brain Business Summit. I’ve signed up for this group every year since it started (this was the fifth year) and never watched any of the videos. This year, I went ahead and upgraded so I can watch the videos whenever, and I’m so glad I did. It’s been so inspiring. This was my big take-away from SARK’s video last Friday:

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And, finally, I’ve been painting a lot more this year. I’ve got a new series I’m working on, and this is my favorite so far.

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Happy shortest day of the year!

What do you do with a two and a four year old after dinner during the winter?  They don’t want to play outside in the dark.  I hate to have them sit around and watch TV.  They argue over toys and don’t have the attention span for board games yet.  Solution?  WII Dance Party!

  • Calories Burned: 2348
  • Calories Consumed: 1475
  • Deficit: 873