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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ten Years to Retirement?

Ten years--give or take. My dream is to go till almost 70 and I'm hoping that I still love going to work then.

My 10 year number is a wake-up call, not so much to saving, though that's part of it, but to decluttering and NOT buying stuff.

What if we move in ten years? Having witnessed (from afar) my in-laws' sudden, emergency-instigated decision to move from a house they had lived in for more than 40 years, I just don't want to go through the agony.

With this logic, I should unload 10% of my stuff every year. That would include books. I really will not be needing my academic books at that point; some, indeed, are worth a pretty penny since they are out of print.

And, no, I should not buy any furniture, no matter how scraggly some things are getting. Same goes for kitchen items, especially heavy ones like dishes and pots and pans. Here's hoping that my children will want some of kitchenware, not to mention some of my zillion cookbooks. See above.

Luckily, I don't need to dress for success. Most conferences don't require suits anymore, except for the most snobbish. Besides, if the whirling rumors (firing! across-the-board pay cuts!) come to pass, I won't want to be looking at the pricey clothes in my closet instead of cash in my emergency fund.

I am, then, between the Scylla of moving in ten years and the Charybdis of economic uncertainty. The first calls for decluttering; the second calls for not-buying-and-banking-savings. It's a win-win situation. Talk about making lemonade from lemons!

What helps you declutter? What helps you save?


hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Retirement is a huge step. I recently ent tot a workshop put on by my employer and there is a lot to think about...extras like medical and dental which may or may not be subsidized and are not actually guaranteed. The planning involves determining one's life style after work and what you are wanting to, etc. I am able to take early retirement with what they call a bridge payment until my Canadian Pension starts...but I am not ready, emotionally to stop 3 days a week I feel that I am semi retired....
I am decluttering, pruning, simplifying, and prioritizing...and amassing a "to read" shelf of second hand books! I am also working on recipes and meal planning that makes use of less expensive cuts of meat and maximizing the whole free range chicken for a roaster, leftovers, sandwiches and soup...and having fun too! Where I save it allows me to spend on not so frugal purchases!

metscan said...

I love decluttering. In fact I do it all the time. I´m not in love with material stuff, although I love it. Does this make sense? Lately I have thought about moving to the city. I would like to move to a new apartment house. We have had our share of renovation, so clearly even thinking about it, makes me ill. It would be perfect to just pick a few pieces of furniture along, and leave the rest behind. I like moderately modern style. Luckily we have very little storage place in our house, but then there is a huge barn full of just about everything I would be willing to give away for free.

Shelley said...

We are planning a move back to the US in a few years and there is much in this house that I'm not willing to pay to move! My job moved me from the US to here, else I probably would have brought a lot less stuff. I don't let go of stuff easily, but as we've just had some work done on the kitchen that required everything to come out, we've done a very easy un-clutter process. Bill put some stuff away, excluding anything he could live without. I went through his box of discards, rescued a couple of items and we let the rest go into the trash or the charity bag. Painless.

We did, however, replace a couple of items that were worn out and we used a lot.

Shelley said...

Oh yes, about clothes and saving. I don't wear everything I already own. My aim is to whittle it down until I do, even if it means only one business suit and one party dress for those odd occasions. I see expensive clothes blogged about here and there and yes, they are pretty, but I'd rather have a holiday in Italy than an expensive pair of trousers. I do pretty good with my thrift shop clothes; however, I am thinking in terms of dress agencies (consignment shops) to raise the game a bit. The first step, however, is to make some room!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Hostess--You are a good role model. Keep us posted on your choices.

@metscan--You always make me wonder if cluttering/overbuying is an American issue. If so, why???

@Shelley--Why are you planning a move back? I'd be interested in your journey/thoughts. Second comment--I totally agree.

Funny about Money said...

My father, having gone to sea all his life, led a chronically decluttered life. When you live in a ship's cabin, all you can have with you will fit inside a single small suitcase. Even when he lived ashore, he would have continued like that if he hadn't been burdened with my mother and me, who could not live without clothes and toys.

And as a matter of fact, after my mother died that's how he did live. He got rid of everything and moved into a one-bedroom apartment at a lifecare community. I used to think of it as "divesting himself of his life," because he really did, quite literally, get rid of almost all his possessions. Truth is, he had come to prefer the decluttered life, and it bothered him to have a lot of junk around.

As it turned out, this was one of several great favors he did for me late in his life. Fifteen years later, when he passed, I didn't have to do much. All the clean-up was done for me.

Hope you get your wish to work until age 70. That was what I'd planned, too, until layoff time brought an end to any such schemes. Now I'm very glad I'm not working and wonder why I didn't quit sooner.

About the clothing collection: Every now and then I clean out the closets. If I haven't worn something in a year, it goes out. After a while the only things that are in the closet are things you wear, and so you tend to stop getting rid of stuff. Then you just wear things until they fall apart. Which, I suppose, is the nature of the frugalist's wardrobe.

Revanche said...

Morbid as it sounds, I included decluttering as a part of my will and trust process. I own very little that's of much monetary value, so it was much easier to step back and say: how could I make this easier on whoever has to clean up after me should I drop in my traces tomorrow?

If items were purely sentimental to me, I usually found parting wasn't too difficult viewing it from that standpoint.

Books (and comic books) are my friends and loves, but even they can be prioritized to only those that give me the most brain comfort.

Living for a week without most of my belongings gives me a stronger sense of what I can and don't want to live without. It's freeing in one sense, and enlightening in another.

I *really* hate being without books and my scanner. Clothes are nice, too. :)

Duchesse said...

It's not that you should live with shabby furniture, cookware or clothes, it's that you should prune out, isn't it?

My mother bought herself a new bed at 96 and we thought that was great.

Getting rid of stuff is work, so it gets postponed.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Funny--As for working till almost 70. Not counting on it, of course. But remember, I have a teacher's schedule, so I have lots of time to de-stress. In fact, I'm heading to my spring break right now.

@Revanche--Whenever I travel, I realize how little I need to be owning.

@Duchesse-You are so right. When you get rid of the shabby stuff, everything that's left looks much better.

FB @ said...

Same as your reasons above.

1. We are going to move pretty soon

2. We are not going to stay in
North America when we retire, so we WILL move again

3. We travel a lot and switch cities like there is no tomorrow

4. We don't need extra stuff to lug around

5. I don't need to wear suits or fancy things to work -- what I have is enough

6. We just don't need the stuff.