Wednesday, August 22, 2012

one for one: august.

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about our conviction that we have too much stuff and my desire to continue purging until our home is full of only useful and beautiful things.

I also mentioned the possibility of instituting a "one for one" rule in our home: Anytime we bring home a new purchase, we get rid of something else.

Although I'm not a fashion or lifestyle blogger, I figured this blog is as good a place as any to track some of our purchases and whether or not we're following the new rule. I believe accountability here has accounted for much of the success I've experienced in my monthly goal setting, so why not continue that trend with our "one for one" plan?

Every month or so, I'll plan to report here what I've purchased and what I've given away; I think this will help me make more intentional purchases and make more of an effort to get rid of things in a timely manner.

This month, I knew I'd be starting a new, more creative/less corporate job. I also knew we'd be taking a vacation to chilly/windy San Francisco in September, and I might not have the income next month to buy the windbreaker/jacket I knew I'd need for the trip. I tried to make really wise, frugal purchases, while also keeping in mind that, generally speaking, "I already have one."

1 - Gap canvas military jacket in green ----> Express green sleeveless wrap blouse, circa 2007  
I knew I would need a lightweight but sturdy jacket for our San Francisco trip, and although Old Navy had a similar style, I liked the Gap version better. I had a 30 percent off, in-store coupon last week, so I went ahead and bought the jacket... even though it wasn't on the sale rack. I feel like I got a high quality, perfect-for-Florida jacket that should last me a while. (Does a military jacket ever go out of style? Luke Danes says no.) And it only cost me about $50. In exchange for the new jacket, I got rid of a green blouse I'd only worn a handful of times since my very first job interview in 2007. It was time to let go.

2 - Gap easy straight cargo pants in gray ----> White desktop organizer from Michaels
I don't normally make impulse buys (I'm a notoriously male shopper: make a list, stick to the list, grab, leave), but I found these in my size on the sale rack the same day I bought the jacket. I would never have bought these if I didn't have a new work dress code -- I'm not really one of those people who has an entirely separate wardrobe for weekend wear -- but since the new job requires a more creative and comfy-casual look, I knew they'd be perfect. (I've worn them a few times already, and love how comfortable they are. They're still full price online, but check your Gap's sale rack. I got mine for about $35!) In exchange, I got rid of a white desktop organizer I simply no longer have room for or need. It was a great purchase, and maybe if I still had a home office, I'd keep it, but I don't, and I'm learning it's not all that wise to keep things for "some day." So out it goes.

3 - Old Navy polka dot chambray top ----> Black corduroy pants, never worn
This top had been on my wishlist for a while, so I went ahead and purchased it for a new wear-to-work-item. (I've already worn it five times in two weeks, so I'd say it was worth the $25.) It replaced a pair of black corduroy pants I received for Christmas one year and maybe wore once. It makes me mad that I keep things I don't even wear when someone else could be getting could use out of them. It's a wake-up call that I even had something in my closet that I'd never worn... That's a problem, and I hope to rectify it this fall.

4 - Old Navy rockstar skinny jeans in honeycomb ----> Target purple jeans, circa spring 2012
Despite an earlier new year's resolution to buy quality over quantity, I succumbed to the colored jeans trend this spring and bought a pair of ill-fitting, uncomfortable Target jeans in purple. Loved the color, hated the jeans. I think I wore them twice before shamefully placing them in the bottom of my dresser drawer. I know Old Navy is hardly high end, but I decided to try their colored jeans the same day I bought my chambray top. I tried on my normal size first and could not pull them around my thighs. I didn't panic, but I did have to go up two sizes before I had a fit I was comfortable with. I love the color and style of these (they're skinny, but not nearly as constricting as my Target pair) and think they'll be great in the fall. These easily replaced my purple Target jeans, and I'd love to be able to buy Old Navy's red pair as well since now I know I like the fit and color.


Those are my August purchases, bought entirely with cash from our "clothing fund". We haven't made any home purchases this month (instead, we're saving for a sleeper sofa one $50 bill at a time), and we've got quite a load of stuff to take to a local charity this weekend. (Jordan's been doing some serious purging as well.)  

What about you? Have you done any purging this month? Is the "one for one" concept something you'd try?


Hope said...

i agree, we have so much stuff and we aren't using them. And these items take up so much resources (time, effort, space and money) that can be better devoted to what we truly love and desire. One of my favourite quotes : “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or consider to be beautiful”. - William Morris

Been interested in minimalism and thus have been purging. The salvation army near my house has seen more than 40 clothing items (most barely worn), books and more from me. I am currently doing the "one in one out" concept! Love it. This helps me to evaluate what is truly important and useful to me. Love how my possessions have been growing lesser in quantity but more in love/use from me!

here are some of my fav minimalism blogs, you might want to check them out :

ps thank you for your blog. You are like the wiser and older Christian sister i never had :]

Erin said...

Goodness I really need to clean out my closet. I'm not so sure that the one-for-one rule is something that is right for us at the time, but going through and clearing out some of the clothes I haven't worn in forever definitely needs to be done! There are so many things that other people could be using (probably a few items that I have never worn myself).

refreshothers said...

Your words about stuff continue to inspire me! Just this past weekend, I went through several bins of old school notebooks/paper/binders, stuffed animals, and childhood momentos (yes, I'm very sentimental). It felt great to simplify and get rid of things I wasn't even using. For the items I was hesitant to ditch, I took a picture of them instead. That way, I can always go back and look at the snapped photo instead of wasting space and keeping something I truly don't need. It's so good to remember that stuff is just stuff. I'm trying my best to "collect moments, not things."

refreshothers said...

Your thoughts/words about stuff continue to inspire me - thank you! Just this past weekend, I went through bins of old school notebooks/binders/papers, stuffed animals, and childhood momentos (yes, I'm very sentimental!). If there was an item I was having trouble parting with, I took a picture of it instead and ditched it. That way, I can always go back and remember those toys I played with or that lovely piece of art I created in 1st grade. :) It felt great to get rid of things I never use or even look at for that matter - it's so good to remember that stuff is just stuff! I'm trying my best to "collect moments, not things."

Caitlin said...

I need to do some purging as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

I have a pair of Old Navy Rockstar jeans in black and love them. But I did have to go up a size. Then I got a pair in white and they were too tight. I read on the website reviews that different colors have different fabrics and fit differently. So if you want to get a pair in another color, try them on. I want to get another pair in a bright color!

Giovanna said...

Cool idea! I should really try to do something like this. I accumulate so much that I don't really know what I have! Lol


Seek First said...

We do a "one for one" system with almost everything that comes into our house. It's a goal of our to have everything have a purpose.

I like to think if everything in my house was lost, I'd be able to name all the things that were missing. In this way, I know that I've intentionally put all of the items in my home.

It's a great thing!

As for clothes, I've done the "turn the hanger around" trick and been able to let go of a lot of items this way.

Also, reading The Tiny Twig's ebook about wardrobe helped me streamline my closet.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have a dream to build a small cottage with very little storage room as to not collect unnecessary clutter. As a couple who have been on a tight budget since day one, we have come to understand that less is more over the period of 4.5 years. With that said, I get in clean-out-everything-in-the-house modes. This week was my closet and some little things around the house. I rid my of a few shirts and dresses that I rarely wear. Does it make you feel as if a burden is lifted when you get to clean out?! I love that!

Ariel Tyler said...

Basically, I want all of these items.
And I can totally relate. I recently purged my closet and it felt absolutely amazing. Time to only fill my home with things I ACTUALLY use. It's amazing how much stuff I've accumulated over the last few years.

Chantel Klassen said...

I love how you are asking for accountability on this. What a great step! I'm still in the purging stage where I can get rid of 10 things for every 1 that I buy. Hopefully I can get down to the 1 for 1 soon! Thanks so much for the inspiration!!