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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Question to Be Asked: Gifts and Thrifts

Oh, I have been a slacker of late, at least in the blogworld. In real life, I have gotten started with the semester. Today, though, I found myself in a thrift store. Why?

As Sir John Falstaff, a much-loved Shakespearean slacker, says to Prince Hal, a faux-slacker who will become King Henry V; "A question to be asked." Why, if I am in need of decluttering, am I subjecting myself to temptation, in the name of relaxation and saving money?

This has been a constant question to be asked. Such questions become more urgent around New Year's Day, not to mention my birthday of a few days ago. On my birthday, I received a beautiful gift; it lifts my heart every time I look at it.

Since this object is so beautiful, I decided to share some of my overabundance with others and so brought a big bag of very nice excess stuff to the thrift. That was good, but then, of course, I had to take a tiny peek. If I buy one item per week (which would be easy enough), I would amass 50 items per year. My beautiful gift would be buried in clutter!

So my last (for the moment) rude question: about how many new clothing items enter your space each year? I need a sense of what normal people do.

A question to be asked.


Duchesse said...

Answer: One in, one (or more) out.
Question: What is your beautiful gift?
And... belated happy birthday!

Do you look in thrifts for the possible pleasure of finding something pleasing that is also a bargain? Does it relax you, give you a break? But these are guesses. Why do you think you do it?

Anonymous said...

You know I kept track of my expenses last year, but did not count individual items. But, I do make contributions back EVERY I'm not sure I could ever accurately quantify it.

I haven't been in a thrift store in two weeks and I'm going through withdrawals. I like to go just for relaxation, the thrill of the hunt.

SewingLibrarian said...

I have no idea, having never kept track. I DO know that I've cut way back on fabric buying. I realized I was buying fabric to make up for having less time to sew. And that makes absolutely no sense at all. So I'm staying away from fabric websites.

the Frugal Ecologist said...

I also use the one in - one out rule. My shopping is more sporadic - I usually purchase several things at the beginning of a season but if I added it up, I bet it is close to 50 per year. (which is a bit shocking to me)

Blue Jeans Girl said...

I get rid of things a few times a year, but I don't keep track of total number of items in and out. My wardrobe stays about the same size space-wise in the closet and drawers so I think there's some kind of unconsious accounting going on.

Diane said...

Please more details on your gift! How wonderful! Thank you for a big (and good) shock to my thrifting consciousness. I thought it would be easy to answer your question -- one in, one out, be picky, picky.
I like your idea of quantifying, so I ran to my field notes (I'm in the social sciences) to verify what I thought was judicious, careful thrifting, only to find that I have bought 11 items so far this year. That's almost three a week, which could become more than 150 a year. Awful! I'll spare you the details, but I do live in an area in which people cast off wonderful stuff. And in my defense, these donors seem to dump lots in January, so there won't be so much to find later, I say, weakly.
Total: about $60. Over a year, I end up consigning about a third of what I find and usually break even, but still. Thanks to you, I'm thinking about all this.
(Btw, the Margiela coat was too small and is back in the online store.)

Duchesse said...

Oh right, you asked how many. About three items a month, but some months more (gifts) and some months zero (yay). The outs are not necessarily the same items as the ins.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--Thanks for the wishes. I am not quite ready to talk about my beautiful gift. Thrifting--if you have a good store, as I do here--is very zen, but sometimes over-exciting. Depends.

@Terri--An addiction, to be sure. I lived in a small town where the Goodwill was depressing and I REALLY missed the fun.

@Sewing--Interesting that no one really keeps track...

@FrugalEcologist--When you start thinking about it--50 items take up a lot of space.

@BlueJean--Lucky you to be able to maintain a reasonable quantity without thinking about it. I need to start thinking about it more!

@Diane--Later on the gift.OOH--where do you live? Can I come ?

@Duchesse--thanks for the number. 36 seems something to aim for...

Shelley said...

I can tell you that I bought a long-sleeved white t-shirt and a pair of black flat boots in January of last year (both new). In May I bought a pair of white trousers in a thrift shop, another pair (better)in a consignment shop (I planned to cut off the other trousers into cropped pants, but haven't yet); also a white long skirt and a pair of jeans in the consignment shop. These last items were bought in anticipation of our trip to California/ Oklahoma/ Minnesota in June. In November I bought two more white long-sleeved t-shirts, new, for winter. That would be eight items, none of them from thrift shops mainly because one rarely finds good white items in thrifts. I haven't counted what went into charity bags that they took away, but I'd guess at least three or four times as much as I brought in. That's progress for me! BTW, a belated happy birthday and I hope one day you'll tell us about your beautiful birthday gift!