Earlier I wrote here about my Acquisition Suspension, a decision to buy no non-consumable items this year. One month in and I am loving it! I honestly feel like I have just quit a part-time job or finished a big volunteer project. A load has been lifted that I did not even realize I was carrying.
The dominant feeling I have of is of freedom.
The first glimmer of freedom appeared as I did a few Christmas returns. I had four places to go and expected that it would take half the day. I was actually finished in 45 minutes. In the past I would be not only returning items, but also shopping for replacements items, checking out the after-Christmas sales, and taking a peek at new merchandise.
While there is a sense in which it would have been fun to shop, it would have taken a lot of time, required me to make multiple decisions, and exposed me to the stores’ clever merchandising encouraging me to buy even more. Instead, I was free to leave without entering into the fray. I just took the money and walked out.
Freedom to Let Things Go
I expected that this year’s self-imposed buying limitation would cause me, regarding the things I already own, to value things more, but instead I think it has caused me to value things more accurately. Now that I know I will not be buying more this year, I am very thankful for serviceable items of clothing that I wear regularly. But, counter-intuitively, it has also made it easier to part with some things. I look at a sweater, for example, and realize that even if I am not going to be able to get another sweater all year I still don’t want to wear that one! Into the give-away pile it goes. In the past I might have thought “I should save this for a rainy day” but now that it is a self-imposed “rainy day” and I would rather do without than wear it, the choice is easy. I am free to let things go that I really don’t need.
Freedom to Miss Out on the Deals
One of the best benefits is that I am free to miss out, for a year, on any “great deals” that are out there. While I don’t normally mind spending money for quality items at a good price, few purchases are made hastily without research. I typically look for deals. Now that I am not buying, there is no need to check the newspaper sales flyers, the new catalogs, coupon books in the mail, or discounts offered via email, just in case they offer a great price on something they are certain to remind me I “need.” By making one big decision — I am not buying anything non-consumable this year — I am relieved of the burden of evaluating offers and making little buy or don’t buy decisions all day.
Freedom from Keeping Up with Trends
I have many friends who dress well and have beautifully appointed homes, evidencing good taste and personal style. They see fashion as a bit of a hobby, a means of creative expression much like painting or perhaps even writing. For them, an Acquisition Suspension might be a repressive struggle, dampening their spirits.
But for me, it is a great relief. For a time, I am free from keeping up with trends in fashion or what’s big this year in home décor. It is not that I don’t care about these things. I don’t want to be a frumpy mom or have a home that looks tired, but I am happy to just jump off the ever-moving fashion train for a time. I can always jump right back on the train again next year and get the latest clothes, the throw pillows in the Pantone approved color of the season, and the jewelry that says I am cool too. Or, I might just be too busy doing something else.
Regardless, I think I will be in a position to make deliberate choices and will not be as vulnerable to the influences of vendors, magazines, and fashion divas whose goal is to sell products by making me dissatisfied with how I look and what I have. I will simply not listen to them for a year.
I must admit though, one little diversion. I was reading the Wall Street Journal – sounds safe enough doesn’t it? – and a headline caught my eye “Step up your Style for West Palm Beach.” Having visited family there as a child I was interested. An older woman planning a trip wrote in asking what to wear. As a child of the South, I was amused by the presumably New York based columnist suggesting “seasonless cashmere and wool.”
I can hardly imagine anything more horrifying for me to wear, in West Palm Beach or anywhere.
If that is what I am missing this year, I picked a good year to sit it out.
Now if I could only get the side of my computer screen to stop showing me all the truly lovely handbags and shoes I searched for on Zappos in December. Maybe I can fix that by searching for “purple skinny jeans with allover print.”
I’ll keep you posted!
This essay is written by Molly Lindsey Powell for the blog In-House Counsel. To Follow this blog via email, please visit https://ihcounsel.wordpress.com and sign up. You can also visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/InHouseCounsel. Facebook has instituted changes and not all friends or fans receive status updates via Facebook, so please sign up for emails if you want every post. Or just drop by when you can. Thanks for reading.