Apr 9 2011

time to shovel mud again… [day 318]

I’m really tired of fighting with my yard.  When I moved into this house over 4 years ago, I had very little grass.  I have so many trees shading the grass, that type of grass just couldn’t grow.  I had to shovel mud off the sidewalks after any rainfall.  This photo was taken after my yard guy slapped a few pieces of sod down to help with the mud problem.

The next summer, I had St. Augustine put in.  It looked great and I was so happy to not be the ‘ugly neighbor’ anymore.

Unfortunately that grass didn’t last.  I’m back to mostly mud puddles.  I’m doing some research with my new yard guy about what type of grass will work in my yard.  I would really like to get this fixed once and for all.  My yard is a good example of what happens when you don’t do your homework.  I’m learning about my options so I can take care of this once and for all.  Not only is it a cosmetic eyesore right now, but continued soil loss can lead to foundation problems.  I’ll keep you posted.  :)


Feb 24 2011

3/4 year through the no retail shopping challenge [day 274]

This is an exciting point, reaching 3/4 of a year in my no retail shopping challenge.  It’s exciting because of the lifestyle change, not because I’m closer to being able to shop.  I’ve been asked many times if I will go shopping on the day the challenge ends.  Honestly, that would feel really weird.  I will still apply the shopping principles that I’ve been using and also, using much more of a minimalist approach.  If I do shop after this is over, it will be for necessities and things that have been well thought out.  As a matter of fact, as a follow up to the challenge, I’ll probably blog everything I buy after it’s over.  That way I can track the changes and we can all see the results.

Since I’m nearing the end of the challenge, I’m also thinking about what to do with my blog and all the information contained in it.  That’s the real excitement!  There’s some cool things coming out of all this.  Stay tuned…


Nov 25 2010

half way! [day 183]

Today maks the half way point for the no retail shopping challenge!  It’s hard to believe it’s been one half of a year already, but it also feels like I have a long way to go.  Today is Thanksgiving, and no, I did not plan for this day to fall on a holiday.  If I had, I would have made it fall on black friday, as that makes more sense.  I was going to do a daily recap, however the search features on the trashsociety.com blog are a much easier way to find past posts.

I get a lot of questions about this challenge, once people process it and quit giving me the crazy look.  Here’s some questions I’ve heard.

What will you do when the challenge is done? Once I’m done with the challenge, I will organize the site into an resource blog, categorized by topics.  I’m sure I will also find another related challenge to do.  I also plan to make this into a book.

Will you go shopping the day it’s done? No, that would feel weird.  This is really changing my shopping habits, and although I will shop again, I will do it very differently.

Have you bought anything? Yes, I had to buy one thing.  Tires for my car.  They were bad and it was a safety issue.  If I wrecked my car or hurt my kids because of a challenge, that would be horrible and I could not live with myself.  No, I didn’t start the one year over, and I did learn a lesson about planning for tire purchases.  Even though I had to buy tires, the challenge purpose was accomplished, I had to learn and think differently.

So, you’re really going to finish this? Yes.  Why not?  Half way there…

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned? I’ve learned much, but the biggest is that I made a lot of impulse purchases.  I can live with much less stuff.  I don’t need that colorful stuff to sit on a shelf or another gadget.  Some of them might be nice, but most will probably end up at the thrift store.

Are you saving money? The quick answer to this is yes, but that was not my motivation at all when I started, although it’s a nice benefit.

What are the benefits of doing it? There are many, but the best one is not one I expected.  Less stuff = less mess.  It’s so much easier to keep my house picked up.  Not only are we not shopping, but we give things we don’t need or use to the thrift stores or to people we know that will use these things.  Our closets are not full, there’s extra space in all of our drawers and my garage, well, it’s made progress, but we still have a little way to go out there.  Need some motivation to clean out an area of your house?  Watch an episode of Hoarders.

Later today, I will be adding a new artistic twist to the challenge.  Stay tuned…


Nov 21 2010

no what??!! yes, that's what I said, know what! [day 178]

Thanksgiving day will be day 183 of no retail shopping, marking the one-half  year point in my challenge.  Along with a recap of what I’ve learned so far, I’ll have a 1/2 year celebration surprise challenge, adding it on to the no retail shopping.  Clues?

    • it’s an art thing
    • it will utilize trash
    • it will help repurpose stuff
    • it’s fun

May 27 2010

the challenge [day 1]

Day one of any long time period challenge is more of a normal time than a reality check of the radical decision you just committed to.  I decided to do this challenge very early in the morning, which is the time my monkeys are the most active.  Yeah, I should probably explain that.  My boyfriend Steve says my thoughts are like a bunch of monkeys next to a banana tree, so we frequently refer to the monkeys in my head.  Monkeys are fun and cute, so we’ll go with it.

So I had breakfast with my kids and decided to tell them the news!  We will not be shopping retail for a year.  No new toys, no new video games, no new clothes.  After the silence, then denial, they reluctantly agreed that it was a good plan, although they thought a year was a bit excessive.  Well, with all the excess in our society, why not add a little more excess?  LOL

The ironic thing here is that I still have to shop sometimes for work, and this being the first day of the challenge, I had to go to Ikea for stage set stuff.  I had an Ikea gift card for $50 in my wallet, just to complicate things.  So off I went to shop, placing the stage items in the cart, along with a few things that I could buy with the gift card.  Well, as we all justify the stuff we absolutely need, my justification here was that I should use up the gift card since it probably will get lost or decrease in value over a year.  As I was about to check out, I put the stuff back.  I don’t NEED it and I’m not even sure I WANT it.  I was there, I had ‘Ikea’ money and everyone needs more stuff, right?  I still have the gift card and plan to give it to someone I know that is getting his first apartment and actually has a few basic needs.

I told a few people about my plans, or my challenge.  A few people thought it was a good idea and were not surprised.  (They obviously know me well and there’s not many things I can do to surprise anyone)  Others said it was cool, but they could never do it.  Let me just say here that I like to shop, but not like most people.  I hate malls and I hate spending money.  I like material things though.  There.  I said it.  I have an internal struggle with wanting simple and less fighting with a desire for more.  I was raised in a very materialistic house.  I have to call it a house, not a home, because a much higher value was placed on the material things in the house, not the people living in it.

I suppose I’m doing this to prove to myself that I don’t need a lot of stuff.  I’m also doing this for my kids to teach them about another world, a crazy different world that exists outside this wealthy, affluent bubble we live in.  A world where poverty and hunger exist because 20% of the world has 80% of the stuff, including food and water.  As Gandhi said, “There’s enough for everyone’s need, but there is not enough for everyone’s greed.”

This challenge is a very small step.  I know I have a long way to go here, but if everyone just made some really small sacrifice, our world would change in a radically wonderful way.  The monkeys are still processing all of this, along with my kids.  Off to day 2…