Posted by Tim Stobbs on October 27, 2011
When I started this project of not buying stuff I knew that I was forgetting something, so I left myself with a ‘get out of jail free card’ on one item of stuff. Apparently my subconscious is better at keeping track of things than I am because as I started to pull out my winter gear and realized I had a serious problem. I had no winter boots, just running shoes. How? My old boots were used until they basically fell apart so I threw them out last spring and I now NEEDED some replacements.
When I say NEED I mean it. I live in Regina, SK which can see several feet of snow and daily forecast highs below -30C for a week or more during the worst of it. So you might think I would actually enjoy shopping for my one exception of stuff…nope, I hated it.
You see I have wide feet, so by that fact 80% of a stores inventory won’t fit me. Toss in a few basic preferences like black or brown boots and I end usually end up with one or two options. This time I only had one pair to choose from and I still had to order those in to get my size. So I spent $144 for one pair of winter boots, ironically they went on sale the week afterwards, but I managed to talk the clerk into giving me the sale price after the fact so my price dropped down to $122. Apparently if I’m going to use an exception, I’m going to not worry about how much it was.
What this experience has taught me so far is that when you can’t buy stuff, you have to find alternative solutions. For example, a zipper broke on a pair of dress pants and since I can’t buy a replacement pair I am forced to either make due without them or try and get them fixed. Not that this is a bad thing, but it does make you think about more about stuff you do use daily and making sure you buy things that will last (and hence the investment in some good boots).
On the purge side of my challenge I’m pleased to report I sold every single DVD that I pulled out of my collection. Total profit $60. Ya! On the book side of the purge I manged to get my wife and kids involved as well.
To give you scope of the problem we have about 613 books in the house. This doesn’t include the daycare books ~100 or ebooks for another ~150 above that 613 total. We managed to talk about our reading habits and agreed to only keep books we are likely to read again or use as a reference. So in the end the purge pile is 127 books which is just over 20% of the collection. Overall not a bad job given we are all book addicts who will often take out a book or two per week each from the library. Yep that includes the kids so that is about 4 to 8 books every week.
Also given the lack of a volume of an ebook we will try in the future to buy more of those for novels in order to keep our collection on the smaller size. Yet I have to admit I’m wondering if buying ebooks is just transferring the problem from pile of books to piles of files. So what do you think about using ebooks? Is it an area for just keeping more stuff that you don’t need or a useful means to keep what you really love?