I am very good at making plans, less so at following through on them. This weekend I’ve forced myself to confront a few things that I’ve long fingered for far too long, For years I’ve made vague promises to myself to get more organised about my finances. I’ve tiptoed around these promises for too long, but actually taking action took hardly any time at all.
Likewise, despite my efforts at decluttering and living with less stuff still means more to me than it should. This is loosely linked to my finances, as I have a fear that I’ll get rid of something that might be worth something some day (I blame the Antiques Roadshow) or that I’ll end up needing to replace something I gave away. Last weekend and this I’ve tackled this ongoing life project head on. We have a new baby on the way and I need to sort through mounds of stuff. I gave away a lot before we moved house but there’s still a lot left to sift through.
I’m getting more and more ruthless with the stuff though. Things I know I wasn’t wildly happy with the first two times have been donated or recycled. I’ve used a zero waste Facebook group to pass on things I haven’t needed. One plus is that I took a leaf out of The Frugalwoods and decided to see if, like me, people were looking to pass along unwanted baby stuff and a baby carrier was mine within hours and arrived in the post today. I have done and will pay the generosity forward.
The battle of the stuff and the finances continues. Taking the first few steps is immensely satisfying though.
Holiday planning. Two weeks to go and I cannot wait.
Taking a chance on sourcing something free and getting it within hours. Goodwill shall be paid forward immediately with things I’ve been meaning to rehome.
Changing over my wardrobe to the clothes I need now and packing away every single thing I know I won’t wear for the next 12 months. It’s ten times easier to get ready and much less hassle to maintain.
Sunshine day after day, and ice creams galore.
Using our library more and more, especially for holiday reading purposes. It’s a joy to get books I would have bought within days of reserving them online.
Not everyone is a fan of the Irish leaving cert system. We have to study a range of subjects, not all of which we’d choose if we had the option, and there’s a lot of pressure during the two and a half weeks of frenzied exams where 17 and 18 year olds cram two years of learning into slots of intense writing.
One of the things I appreciate as an adult, however, was having to study poetry as part of the English curriculum. I’m not a great lover of poetry and never have been, but snatches of poems I studied in school come back to me at odd times. One in particular is a line from “Advent”, a poem by Patrick Kavanagh, which is is the title of this post. I don’t ‘do’ advent and it only struck me that this poem is apposite for the time of year when I looked it up.
It resonates with me whenever I feel the pressure of consumption weighing a little too heavily on me, in particular when I try to organise all the stuff in our house which feels like an ongoing process I’ll be doing forever. No matter how we limit what comes in and get rid of what’s here that shouldn’t be, it never ends.
Limiting our consumption has been really helpful though. Closing the chink of excess has helped me to enjoy a call from our local library telling me a book I requested weeks ago is finally available. I used to just click and buy without thinking whenever a book seemed interesting. Now I’m learning to wait and wonder what it will be like, and I find that process works so much better than getting it immediately.
The beast from the east is en route. Work is cancelled. Going outside the house is cancelled as of now. Thankfully we braved the cold for a bracing work this morning. I’m currently feeling very grateful for electricity, internet access, a working heating system and a list of jobs. We’ve decluttered one room and have more jobs for tomorrow, as there’s not a whole lot else we can do.
Fighting the clutter is a constant battle. Another box of stuff which once seemed important is destined for people who might appreciate it more than we do. It’s kind of nice to have a day where you have to stay inside and you’ve time to think about and do things you’ve had on the long finger.
Tomorrow, my books will get a going over, prompted by the discovery of a library book I renewed because I couldn’t find it the last time I went to the local library. I’ve books to finish and old favourites to revisit. I just hope the heating holds out.
Relegating things to the attic after being slightly irritated by them for months.
Taking some action on repeal of the eighth amendment, albeit small.
Minimalism v Reality in the New York Times. A few months old but relevant to me now.
The Lam family, photographed over several years. Even though I don’t live in a small space, I’m intrigued by those who do and how they do it.
Making some New Year’s resolutions which are achievable, like saving a little more and exercising a little more.
Having the house back to non-Christmas normality. I was a little sad to say goodbye to our tree but it went off to recycling this afternoon.
Making resolutions which are realistic and which I’m confident I can stick to.
Organising and cleaning the fridge in preparation for a frugal January. We have a lot of food, we just need to change our mindset a little.
Black Mirror on Netflix. We’re a little backwards-having just finished season 4 we’ll now tackle season one. Piggate here we come.
Shredding documents whose relevance expired on 31 December. Always satisfying.
My work mirrors the school year, in that September is a time where things start getting back into gear. I’ve had a great summer, with nearly a month away from the office, and plenty of long evenings in our garden and time for other projects. This week it will be back to normal and I’ve cleaned and tidied my desk in readiness.
As part of an overall plan for our finances and lives, we’ve both been bringing lunches to work every day in an effort to trim some of our expenditure. I love cooking and want to eat the healthy things I know are better for my body and my wallet. I’ve acquired a small lunch-sized cool bag and I’m going to be realistic about what I need to eat to keep me going, especially on those days where I’m at my desk for the guts of 12 hours.
I’ve realised I don’t need any new clothes for the work year ahead. My self-imposed clothes buying ban continues, and just this morning I realised I had two dresses I had completely forgotten about – it’s like having something new without having to buy it. I’ll probably have to get my two pairs of winter boots resoled at some point, but they’re comfortable and solid so I’m happy to bear that expense.