Spring has sprung and for the first time since I started this no shopping challenge, I really want to shop. Something about the change in weather and all the blooming flowers has me obsessing over cute dresses and easy basics. It is especially hard when the internet inundates you with visions of donning new duds.
I have mentally recited this saying often:
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
It has become my mantra as I focus on aligning my choices with my values. Mostly I just chant to myself, “do without, do without,” because more often than not, that is the result. Does it seem sad? Sometimes it does, sometimes you just want a new shirt. But more times than not, I come to peace with this idea of doing without.
There are very few things that we need and when I decided to be realistic with myself about what I really needed, what really was necessary, going without has become easier. Instead I look for inspiration online and shop my closet more, I have gotten much more creative and the challenge to wear something “new” is stimulating and fun. Really!
I borrow. Earlier in the year, some friends wanted to go sledding with us but didn’t have a sled. We had one and I decided that we could just buy another so that everyone would get a turn as much as possible. But of course, that didn’t feel right and how often do you use a sled? It would just sit in the garage for the other 9 months of the year. Then I remembered my mom had this old wooden sled at her house, so we headed over there and borrowed it for the afternoon. It made the entire experience way more memorable because we found out quickly that you need to wax wooden sleds so that they actually move down the hill. It made for a great sled for the little ones though and because it was older it had a rope so that the adults could just pull around kids like a dogsled. Borrowing is a lot easier than it seems. I used to feel weird about borrowing things, that it was socially proclaiming my frugality. But the more I do it, the more I see how willing people are to share their own belongings and help one another. An added bonus is that it teaches my children to care for the belongings of others and how to resolve things if something gets damaged, like the bike pump I just borrowed and Danny ripped.
Reuse. Kid drawings become wrapping paper. Toys are rotated. Time is taken to mend a sweater. I search storage for something that I was almost resigned to buy again and I find it. What we need is often something we already have, but it takes a mental shift to see it, to search for it, to conjure it up.
Sometimes this effort does take extra time, but in the process I feel myself strengthening the path that aligns with my values of why I am doing this whole thing. To focus on what lasts, and ultimately I see this process teaching my children that we do not have to concede to every whim and desire to buy we feel. That creativity can go a long way and that in the process of it all, we are growing together.
One other note:
Each year I create a team for the March of Dimes to walk in memory of James. I wasn’t sure I was going to do it this year, but in the last minute I decided that it was a tradition worth carrying on. So, next Saturday we will walk for James in Yakima. Anyone who wants to join our team is welcome to do so. You can join online and make it super official, or just show up. All information about the event is in the link below. If you feel inclined to donate in James’ name, that would be wonderful, but ultimately I just want to walk and talk with friends. Thanks for always being so supportive of my family!