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Monday, July 21, 2014

My Six-Week "Shopping Fast"

Because Mr FS and I limit ourselves to a single bag, we buy very little when we travel. This last trip, we bought NOTHING. Part of our mission was to arrive in Serbia with our single bag (which could be a carry-on) and each leave with a big suitcase full of Miss Em's stuff, mostly books and sketchbooks. Mission Accomplished.

Even though I only took a small carry-on, I STILL brought too much. Since we were on the road a lot, I looked at my single bag with horror. That made it easy not to shop: I wasn't even tempted.

Here's the thing though. I thought I would get home full of pent-up desire. 'Tis the season of sales and fall previews and catalogs. I also thought that Miss Em, in her early 20s and heretofore something of an over-accumulator of clothing, would be raring at the bit to shop. She went 9 months with almost no shopping (except for a few Eileen-Fisheresque linen tops she had made for her by a Muslim seamstress who usually only sews for women who wear the veil).  Oh yeah--she bought a few things at a thrift store in Novi Pazar, which is stocked with items sent from Germany and Switzerland and ordered a couple of items from American stores which were in her room when she got back.

When we got home last week, we were horrified by what was in our (smallish) closets. Miss Em promptly took charge, filling a big suitcase with donations, snapping a few pics and listing items on Tradesy, making a huge bag of goodies for the Buffalo Exchange, and giving me much of the stuff she had worn in Serbia, since she was totally sick of it.

We even took a trip to Goodwill (when we donated). After a few hugs for me from the employees, we looked around in a rather diffident fashion--and fled.

I don't know how long this lack of shopping desire will last, but I'm really enjoying it. In my younger days, whenever I tried to "diet," I thought of nothing but food and probably ate more. I thought that the same would result from my "shopping fast." We shall see.

Has this ever happened to anyone else?


Janice Riggs said...

Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean! I think it's very healthy - to see our lives through the eyes of the rest of the world - and realize how very little we actually need to be happy. Welcome home!

Gam Kau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gam Kau said...

Hope you had a wonderful trip - must be really nice to have your daughter back home.
I can certainly appreciate the lack of interest in shopping. I used to love spending an afternoon leisure shopping, but find it a chore these days. The only time I shop is when I actually need something.
Interesting how so many parts of the world don't even have their basic needs met, yet we, in wealthy societies struggle with accumulating so much.

Atlantic said...

Would love to hear an update on Tradesy--I too need to de-acquistion a lot more stuff (after quite a number of donation trips and a lot of bags of things given to friends). Have used ebay so quite familiar with that (bit of a hassle). Is Tradesy really that much simpler? any hints on what to sell there and what not to sell? and pricing advice?

Many thanks for talking up the Buff. I had never attempted that before but they took well over half of what I brought in although it did not net so much it served its purpose and Goodwill is right next door so it was easy to donate the rest immediately.

But then I survey my closet and it is not entirely apparent that I have made a dent....

Shelley said...

Bill and I try to travel with only carry on luggage when we have to fly. After being content with my limited choices for several weeks it does seem silly to have so many more choices available the rest of the time.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Janice--Well, I STILL have a shocking amount of stuff.
@GK--I have not reached your level, I'm afraid. Working on it.
@Atlantic--I did a post on Tradesy a while back. will do an update soon. I know wahat you mean about the lack of dent.
@Shelley--Words of wisdom as always!

Atlantic said...

This will demonstrate my shallowness but travel always leads to very conflicted feelings about possessions. While travelling in Africa or parts of Asia makes me very aware of just how much/too much I have, travelling in the western world is more complicated. I feel mildly smug that I have (after much agonizing) selected a small collection of clothes to wear...and then I am annoyed that now that I am at a cafe in Paris (fill in any chic location) I am wearing the same few sensible items and making do while I would much rather be wearing my far more stylish clothes/coats/boots/etc. Ironically, when I finally have somewhere to wear my most elegant or eclectic clothes, they are thousands of miles away, whereas at home I have the clothes and lack the occasions.

Once I return home I am generally heartily bored with that little capsule wardrobe and delighted that I have so many more choices. So I am impressed that others feel inspired by the minimalism of travel.

No dent. Yes. Well I have rather colonized all the spare closets in the house (and there are quite a number) so bags of things can be removed and I am still left with full closets. I do realize that part of the issue is that I continue to bring things home--I enjoy the hunt and I also remember how unpleasant it was when I had very few clothes and was limited to endless repetition and the pressure to stay on top of laundry. Having more, especially since it generally came from thrift stores, allows me the greater creativity and range--I don't have to limit myself to one sartorial personality. So although I fantasize about minimalism (or at least moderatism) I enjoy the variety.

Tradesy--yes--I read that post but now that you have more experience it would be valuable to get an update.