Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stuff Fast 2011 Update

It has been just over a year since I started Stuff Fast and it is time to see what has happened and make some new goals and rules.

When I started Stuff Fast my goal was to have less stuff. Stuff was (and is) cluttering my mind and my environment. To achieve my goal I developed the following “rules”:

2010 Rules:

  1. 1. No new stuff - I am barring myself from purchasing any new clothes, handbags, jewelry, make-up, books, and art supplies for one year. Because I am a realist (and an inveterate shopper) I'm scheduling some breaks from the ban, although maybe I won't need them.
  2. 32 flavors - I buy a lot of shoes and handbags. We're talking hundreds. My goal is to whittle my collections down to 32 pairs of shoes and 32 bags. Watch this space for my selection process.
  3. Wear it! -I have a lot of clothing. Again we're talking crazy hoarder type shit. With no new clothing coming in (see rule 1) I will need to wear what I have. Every item I wear will be "analyzed" and if it doesn't fit or look good or feel good - it goes to charity or gets altered or tossed. Because I am have a tendency to procrastinate - I will purge weekly.

2010 Recap

If you have read this blog you know that that I’ve strayed from the rules – and not just in my heart. But I’ve also made some positive changes which I want to capitalize on this year.

The good:

In the last year I have gotten rid of almost everything in my closet. Now, of course, this was not due to any strength of character on my part but the result of losing some weight but hey they stuff is gone. And it was a lot. A cringe worthy amount.

I’ve also gotten my shoe collection down considerably. I’m not down to my 32 pair goal yet, but I am getting close. It helps that my shoe size has gone down ½ a size.

I’ve also made a small degree of progress on getting my purse collection under control. I have listed a LOT of bags for sale and hope to add more this year. I’ve become a lot more selective about purchasing new bags and have not bought any since December.

Other stuff. Although I don’t talk about it much, I have whittled down my physical book collection significantly (thanks in large part to my Kindle). I also had two successful garage clean outs and plan to do a few more this spring. Our garage looks almost organized.

The not so good:

When you give away 99.9% of your clothing, you need to buy more or walk around naked. I chose to buy more. While I tried to be judicious in my buying, I made some mistakes. I bought more than I needed in certain sizes, only to change sizes more quickly than I expected.

The unexpected:

Budget: Like many people I have always wanted to have and follow a budget, but have failed miserably in the process. Recently, however, one of my lovely internet friends shared her secrets to budgeting and something clicked. The secret is to work backwards. Instead of budgeting based on my past expenditures, I needed to set simple targets based on % of my take home pay and goals.

For example, I decided that I wanted to save at least 25% of my income for retirement and long term savings. So I set up my bank account to put 10% of my paycheck into savings and 15% into my retirement account (I do not have a 401K at work so I am responsible for my own retirement account – scary). I then decided to allot 10% towards “fun” and the rest goes towards my necessary expenses (food/mortgage/car etc) and my short term savings goals (vacations, holiday presents, etc). Any month where there is leftover – it goes to savings.

Then I geeked out completely and created a spreadsheet to track my “fun” expenses. Every month I put the monthly budget dollar amount and track my expenses. If I go over a month, it gets deducted from the following month’s allowance. If I am under the extra goes to savings.

Thrift shopping and remixing: Until recently, I never really did a lot of thrift store shopping. Although I have donated thousands of items to the Goodwill – it never occurred to me to go shopping there. It also never occurred to me to look at the consignment store that has been in walking distance of my house for 14 years! Happily I recently rectified these mistakes and have discovered the joys of thrift store shopping. Yes it takes work to find things and there is a slight ick factor but the joy of finding a brand new Banana Republic blazer for $10.50 or a Jil Sander pencil skirt for $7 – makes it worth it to me. I’ve also been making a concerted effort to wear what I have and remix items to make it look like I have more things than I do. I’ve also been documenting things a lot more (hence the “wear it” posts) which helps me “see” my wardrobe from another perspective.

2011 Rules

  1. 32 Flavors: Keep whittling shoes and bags down to a manageable number.
  2. Stick with budget.
  3. Be more creative with clothing and remixing.
So there you have it. Another year of purging and de-stuffing and making more out of less. Pretty exciting... right?


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